Friday, January 23, 2009

The Road Ahead

Alas, my day to return to the United States has come. It is bitter sweet. This trip has no doubt been one of the best experiences of my life. I've seen things, and been to places that I had only dreamed of. I just don't want to stop. I feel like I've just got my feet wet, and now I have to get out of the pool altogether. I do know that this is not the end of my travels, just a temporary lull between trips.

But really, I should be looking back fondly of the marvelous things I was able to experience. If I had to write a short list of the my trips highlights, it would go something like this.

- Climbing Volcan Villirrica
- Befriending and socializing with Fredrico, our Maupuche Indian friend.
- Camping by different lake sides, and sleeping without tent underneath the Patagonian star plastered sky.
- Watching Chicago Bears trounce the Green Bay Packers, in Calafate at 3 in the morning.
- The epic 5 days of beauty, weather, and rock at Torres Del Paine.
- Penguins at Punto Tumbo
- The entire city of Buenos Aires
- The Tango Show
- The Art museums of Buenos Aires
- Iguazu Falls

However, its sometimes the little things in the journey, between the sights and big events that really mold your experience and make your time great. I'll remember my first conversation in Spanish, and how my control of the language began to improve over time. I'll remember meeting all the fascinating travelers who are traversing the globe. I'll remember the stifling heat and humidity of the jungle. I'll remember the endless games of Rummy, and completely owning Ryan in ping-pong. I'll remember the countless hours of bus rides that lead to some good thinking time.

It should be interesting re-entering "normal life" in the U.S. I can't tell you how absolutely astonishing it feels to leave your continent for another, and with it you leave your responsibilities, daily concerns, and pettiness. When you step off the plane, you enter a world that is there purely for the experience. It feels so good, that you say to yourself, "this is the way life is supposed to be lived". And its true. Life should be lived for the experience. Which isn't to say one can't live for the experience unless he or she travels thousands of miles away. It means that in you're day to day life, try not and concern yourself with things that you can not change, and instead take heart of the beauty around you. Be it a tree, a loved one, or the way the wind blows through the grass. Make decisions that make you happy, not more prosperous.

I'm going to try and adopt this mantra when I return. I have no idea where life is about to take me, but I think that's part of the process. I believe I will be taken care of, and I'm going to enjoy the ride along the way.

Just for fun, I thought I'd break down my trip by the numbers:

- Days in South America - 54
- Long distnace buses taken - 13
- Total number of hours on a bus - 144
- Cities visited - 15
- Days camping - 11
- Lakes visited - 9
- Glaciers seen - 2
- Guided Mapuche Indian tours -1
- Countries Visited - 3
- Days Trekking at Torres de Paine - 5
- Miles hiked 41
- Most miles hiked in one day -17
- Penguins chased by - 2
- Steaks eaten - 11
- Volcanoes Climbed - 1
- Days of beard growth - 24
- Days wielding a mustache - 3
- Swollen knees - 2
- Ladies that had to be turned away- countless.

So that's it for now. For photos of the trip, please check out my website here:


KatieB said...

Hey Kip! Great blog...don´t forget that even though your adventure here may have come to an end, you´ve got this amazing one ahead of you. I have a feeling things are going to go much better than you ever other words, you´re gonna need to change the name of your blog. :o)

Cuidate mucho y buena suerte amigo!

Shelley (Webb) Szymonik said...

Thanks for posting Kip! I loved reading about your trip and can't wait to check out your pics!! I hope to one day be brave enough to go on an adventure like that!!