Dalcahue & Chiloe National Park, Chile

September 21st, 2015: So as things sometimes go down here I got to my hostel too late to do anything, which was o.k. because in the port town of Dalcahue you can go get a dinner plate of oysters, clams, sausage, pork, chicken & “other stuff?” for $5,000 pesos… or about $7 U.S. dollars.

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Yea, the “other stuff” is the thing right above the sausage in the picture. Wasn’t bad… Still don’t know what it was. It was in this small little port town where I finally started to get good & comfortable with my Spanish. I’ll never forget because I bought my niece Josie an alpaca sweater at the local clothes shop. It wasn’t perfect but I remember walking in and saying, “Donde esta la alpaca ropa para mi sabrina? Mi sabrina es seis anos.” Like I said, it wasn’t perfect but the lady knew enough to get me just what I needed. I only bought a couple items in south america, and that included 2 alpaca sweaters for my niece and another special someone. I stuffed them in the bottom of my pack and for the rest of the trip as I walked I’d feel that bump pushing into me as a reminder of special people that I love that I’d be coming back to as well.

September 22nd: I found a hostel cabin to rent in Chiloe National Park all to myself and hiked around. The forests were dense and beautiful. The leaves were sometimes as big as a chair. This place and its diversity reminded me a bit of Olympic National Park up in Washington minus the waterfalls & mountains. Still, it was a site to behold. The hiking through the forests were beautiful.

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The beach was equally as impressive. In all my life I’ve never seen a beach where it was so undisturbed that the sandy shores where filled with thousands if not millions of perfect seashells. It’s such an amazing site to behold.

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It’s also an important reminder about the impact we have on our ecosystem. How much beauty is missing in the world around us because of our involvement with the planet. It brings to mind a painting I once saw of New York City by one of the very first settlers. You wouldn’t think of New York City as a grass filled area surrounded by blue water but that’s how it used to be. Chiloe’s forests & beaches serve as a type of time capsule of how beautiful the nature in our world can be when people leave places how they found it.

Personal Reflection

Now to the personal part of my blogs because I can’t leave you without it. It’s just not my style because I believe that traveling without the impact it leaves on us would be meaningless. Even though it was a rainy day as you can see in the cloudy pictures above, I had such a great time. As people we can let little things get in the way from the positive to be had in the experiences around us. I like to believe that there is always beauty to be found in almost every moment that exists. You just have to look for it. I bring this up because it was around this part of the trip where my depression was hitting me hard. When that feeling of depression & loneliness came while I was on the vacation of a lifetime I would fight with myself on how could I feel so low while having so much fun. Sometimes that’s just the way our mind works and as I continue to work at focusing on the positive, getting out in nature and amping up my self-careĀ  because I know that one day, hopefully soon, those low feelings will soon pass. It’s here I realized that trying to find peace is at best a momentary & even a mindful sort of thing. Lifelong peace means having a life with joy and balance. Balance requires purpose & energy. Joy needs love & happiness. Purpose comes from our strengths & goals. Energy comes from ourselves. Love needs to come from within before we can properly share it and be happy. All this is why I feel so many people will never find peace. They keep looking for the next big thing, the next better friends, the next best job, the next best partner, the next best achievement and so on. This makes success, happiness, love, balance, peace always just a bit out of reach. One of the hardest things for me to do in life was to find a way to be content with myself and my life. No amount of love from anyone, no matter how great (and trust me I’ve dated and been surrounded by some wonderful people) would ever be enough because of that mindset. It wasn’t until I learned to be more mindful that I could finally learn to love myself. Then I could truly see the wonderful & beautiful things around me and treat others who were close to me how I’ve always wanted to treat them. Respect is treating others the way you want to be treated. Well if you don’t even know enough about how to love & respect yourself then you’ll never treat others in a way that you’ll ultimately be happy with.

All of these thoughts and revelations is exactly why I needed to travel, do tai chi, and focus on counseling. I look back on my teens and twenties and feel so much personal regret & disappointment in how I treated others, especially those closest to me. I didn’t grow up in a safe setting devoid of abuse & bullies so putting up a front and pushing away others has been second nature for me. I remember walking around constantly feeling anger for most of my life like I was always hyper vigilant to the next dangers that could possibly go wrong right around the corner. It’s pretty much the definition of self-destructive. Still, I always had a passion to help others, especially kids so they wouldn’t have to turn out like I did. Whenever I’d get a compliment as a coach from a parent or a kid who looked up to me, I always felt like it was nice but never enough. I gave and gave to others as a way to feel good about what I do but I never did the right things for myself to keep those closest to me around for a long enough time.

So if you’re reading this and you find yourself personally struggling to find happiness just know that it can be done. It’s not easy. It takes hard work to be committed to a healthier internal lifestyle. I’m here to tell you that you can do it and those constant feelings of anger can go away. Now of course everything isn’t completely perfect and I haven’t stopped completely doing all the negative behaviors that I dislike so much. However, I’ve gotten insanely better at doing the right things and if you commit to mindfulness, counseling, traveling & helping others then I believe you too will end up finding more moments of peace & happiness than ever before.

Thanks for taking the time to read. Please feel free to leave a comment below & have a great day.

Tony

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