5 Reasons Why I Freaking Love Argentina and Chile
LOVE – EL AMOR! After reading ‘5 Reasons Why I Freaking Love Japan,’ I was not only frothing from the mouth about the bottomless snow I was missing out on, but I was also inspired. Inspired to jump on a plane and fly to Japan ASAP, yes. But, also inspired to share those feelings of ‘love’ you get from discovering a place. That is why I would like to share the defying moments I had when I left to head south with little money and a big heart. A little more than a year ago I set off to explore Argentina and Chile, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. So here it is…my version of “Why I freaking love … Argentina and Chile”
Or in other words, cozy little cabins scattered in the mountains to supply a warm place to sleep after a long and many times grueling trek. I discovered my first refugio after an 11 hour hike down in Patagonia. After crossing treacherous bridges (like the ones you see in movies, above a raging river with missing panels and sketchy wire holding it together) and climbing 13,000 feet, my legs were jelly and I was ready for some mate. Refugios range in all different styles and shapes, but the refugio we had stumbled across at the peak was a gem. It had a plethora of books, cooking tools, warm blankets, and the best shower. No seriously, the world’s best shower! Outside the refugio was a quaint room made out of logs with a furnace that allowed us to burn wood and heat our own water. Water would then pour from the ceiling and I was suddenly standing in a steamy log room, 13,000 feet on top of a mountain in the middle of the woods. Pure bliss. I highly recommend seeking these incredible havens if you find yourself trekking in Patagonia.
2. THE SURF
Ah surfing, how humbling of a sport you are. After 48 hours of hitch hiking from the south of Chile, I found myself in a small beach town, Pichilemu. Piche has a special place in my soul as I was not only moved by the town’s lovely structure and it timeless manner, but I had also made a family. The locals in Piche are some of the most genuine and bright individuals I have ever come across. I was fortunate enough to spend three weeks with a native to Piche, who was not only an awesome surfer, but a reggae rock star. The water was freezing and waves gnarly. But we surfed our hearts out anyways, swallowing mouthfuls of sea and getting tossed wildly. I love you Picheeee!
3. BEFRIENDING A K9
If you have traveled in and around Argentina and Chile, you know there are a lot of stray dogs. And if you are an animal-lover and total pushover to furry cuteness, you give into the ‘Don’t Feed The Strays’ and befriend every K9 you come across. Often these stray pups were a point of contention with crowds, annoying tourists and hassling business owners. But I was grateful for them. In fact, when I found myself completely lost and emotionally exhausted, these kind K9s comforted me and became a temporarily friend. They act as guides and never judge you based on your appearance…which in many cases was a struggle.
Growing up we are often told to never talk to strangers. Hearing it reiterated in the schools, I inherently knew that would lead to isolation and closed doors. I also was fortunate to witness my dad talk to anything that moved, from strangers on a chairlift to the trees and plants surrounding us. Upon my journey down south, I found hostels to be distant and repetitive. I had little patience for the ‘tours’, and constant reckless partying. I also ran out of money. I had hosted a few couch-surfers back in the states and thought I would try surfing as a new way to dive into the culture. If you are a close friend, then you know that I preach couch-surfing as a way to ‘save’ this planet. It is the most rewarding and sincere thing you can do, all it requires is being ‘open’. I was fortunate to travel several months by couch-surfing. I stayed with a variety of hosts including a gaucho, a physics professor, a biologist as well as many local surfers and students. All of them had the most life-altering stories and biggest hearts. Even if it was for a night, they became close friends and I truly thank them for their hospitality. Please, couchsurf! It will open doors and give you a whole other perspective on what it means to live life to the fullest.
That’s right, don’t think for a second I was going to leave out these little, doughy, cheesy, flaky pockets of divine goo. You can find them on every street corner and they are cheap! I loved them so much I legit wrote a business plan to open an empanada truck when I would return to the states… a girl can dream.
There is nothing I love more than looking out as far as I can and just seeing nature. It’s magnetism and energy fuels my curiosity and undeniable passion to protect it in all ways possible. I explored several places that allowed my eyes to dance around the landscape and allow my mind to relax as I would just sit and soak in natures peacefulness.
There ya go, get inspired and go to South America! I hope to return in the snowy season and shred the Andes next.
What are YOUR 5 reasons why you love a particular area, whether that be your home or place you have visited. Share and motivate people to book their plane ticket NOW.