At 9 p.m. that very night I flew to Santiago, Chile.
Praying this position, my “dream job” in travel marketing, would come through, I planned a last-minute trip in the two week window I’d thought I’d have before starting. I used this sliver of time (and the last of savings I could spare before relocating to California) to visit Chile and Argentina. I chose these two locations because I’d never been to South America before and was certain it would be a while before I’d have a chance to go back. And also I found a good deal on airfare.
When you go to Chile everyone tells you that you must, above all else, try a pisco sour, a cocktail made with local liquor, lemon juice and egg whites. In truth it tastes quite similar to Mexico’s margaritas and Brazil’s caipirihas.
During my first visit to Chile I packed my days in touring historical attractions, kissing llamas, hiking the Andes, soaking in the sight of the sea from Viña del Mar and checking out the street art in Valparaíso.
As I headed away from Santiago on a bus bound for the border of Argentina I realized that one major thing I hadn’t done was try a pisco sour. I barreled on toward the vineyards of Mendoza and forgot all about it.
I had four days in between returning from South America and moving some possessions from my parent’s house in Maryland to Los Angeles to begin work. On my first day of my new job a miracle happened – I learned I’d soon be going on a business trip to, of all places, back to Chile, along with Argentina and Brazil, a new country for me.
I returned from this business trip two weeks ago. The experience was an exhilarating blend of professional successes and personal highs. I traveled with an amazing group of people from Buenos Aires to São Paulo to Santiago, using the Spanish skills I acquired in Madrid and Costa Rica to share information with travel agents about Australia, the place that first turned me into a traveler several years ago. I managed to do a little exploring and the trip bumped my country count up to 45. It was a beautiful fusion of everything I love in life coming together all at once.
Our trip ended in Santiago. I spend two days in the city with my new colleagues and friends from around the world. We enjoyed more than a few pisco sours accompanied by deep, moving conversations that transformed the way I see myself and the world, filling me with a sense of potential and the warm glowing light of peace.
I look back on these final days in Santiago and my pisco sour journey and am delighted by the great irony of the universe – I thought I had missed out on trying the drink and yet I returned just a few months later to have an experience that extended far beyond the beverage, thanks to my companions. In memory pisco sours are now far richer in meaning than they ever would have been three months ago while visiting as a solo backpacker.
The world most certainly has magic in it. I feel this so acutely when I travel – lit up inside, happy, more confident, in tune with the universe, in tune with me.
Which leads me to my next point – coming home is a bummer.
Wherever home has been, returning home has always been a bit of a let down. This is something I’m trying to change, especially now that I live in Los Angeles which is a place I’ve longed to live in for quite some time.
But how do you hold onto those feelings of the road when you’re stopped? How do you infuse that same energy you feel while someplace new into the mundane tasks that make up a life? Why is it that I can so easily meet people in a foreign country when I’m not even fluent in their language but now I am alone in a café?
I don’t have the answers to these questions.
And I don’t have a next trip planned. It could be a while before I visit somewhere new again and, for a girl who loves the road, that is the ultimate bummer.
But what if I chose to honor travel not by chasing the next trip, but instead by letting that light I felt shine bright and bold for as long as I can? What if instead of chasing a new destination to feel more I just held onto the feeling South America gave me and that was enough?
So for now I’ll be here in Los Angeles, trying to move forward and hold onto how I felt on the road. And since there’s no better way to relive memories than through writing, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite memories from South America with you. I have a few stories outlined to share with you in the coming weeks so stay tuned and thanks as always for reading Something In Her Ramblings.