I consider myself a happy person and I am always smiling, but that is not all life is about. I recently traveled to South America and visited Chile and Argentina. I viewed some of the most spectacular wonders and engaged with many spirited individuals. My recent trip was short, but filled with exhilarating experiences. Both of these countries are well suited for people who love history, culture, art, food and wine!
As I began my descent to land in Santiago Chile my eyes were filled with beauty from the view outside of my airplane window of the Andes Mountains. I looked at these tremendous formations in awe as I prayed I would not get motion sick looking backwards. Once I landed I began my adventure by walking around Santiago that is a city full of life with a mix of the old and new worlds all in one place. It has breathtaking buildings and scenic views throughout the city. The best panoramic view over the city can be viewed at Cerro San Cristobal. This was a place that I could have sat for hours just peacefully enjoying my gaze of the city along with the Andes Mountains. I do not know what it is about these mountains, but they have a hypnotic way about them. Sitting in Portillo Chile at a ski lodge I could not have been happier. I took deep breaths of fresh air and stared into the universe thinking about how grateful I am to witness such incredible things in life. Travel is like nothing else in the world. It helps you to live your life and to live it well.
The Andes Mountains are huge and look different in various countries. The way they look in Chile differs from how they appear in Argentina and I remember losing my gaze on them on previous trips to Peru. There is something about natural beauty on a large scale that awakens all of your senses. After a long and interesting adventure crossing the Chile- Argentina border I felt even happier on my trip. I now entered Argentina and spent time in their wine country in Mendoza. Mendoza is home to the Malbec and the local people are so knowledgeable about their region and their local products. It just shows their sense of pride in their people and country. This is another destination filled with so much warmth and I do not just mean the temperature.
I rang in the New Year in Mendoza and I was happy, but it was not until the following day that my heart felt complete. I was fortunate enough to drive along a mountain road for a few hours and arrive at one of the most impressive places to experience a day in the life of a “gaucho.” The first accomplishment that amazed me was that I did not get motion sick in the car on the windy roads. I often suffer from a million issues while traveling including motion sickness, but it never keeps me from an experience or opportunity to see something new. I meet people all of the time and when we talk about various situations I always see that look they give me like I am crazy or something for the things I do or for the ailments I endure to do them. I do not care what other people think. I often substitute the word “crazy” for “genius” and take what these people say to me as a compliment and not an insult. Most of the time I believe it is not with negative intentions, but rather a way for them to justify why they do not do what I do. Everyone in the world is programmed in a different way and luckily for me I am programmed to see the world while adapting to different surroundings. I do things for myself and I always learn about myself by doing these various tasks.
Being on a ranch in Argentina was no different. The drive into La Quebrada del Condor was like nothing I have ever seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and filled with the sounds of the natural world. As we got closer I was able to see some animals including horses, cows and birds. When we arrived we were greeted by some of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. I knew from the feeling in my heart that I was going to have an amazing day here. Every detail of this ranch was perfect. The people, the food, the views and the company I was with. Later that day I was able to ride a horse through the mountains and get some of the most stunning views of nature I have ever seen. I like to be close to nature, but I do not feel the same way about being close to a horse. I have been fortunate to do trail rides in a variety of places including Peru, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and Swaziland, but most of the time these activities end with me more frightened than when I began. This specific day I was nervous about going on the horse, but I never voiced my concern. I got on my horse, felt worried and just went with it. I had a strange feeling, but put my faith in the man above and began my trek on horseback. I am unsure what my horse was thinking while I was on it, but at one point it decided to choose it’s own path and run off from my group. Here is where my tough adventurous self began to panic and ultimately cry like a small child who was lost in a department store. I look back at this activity and I am grateful I took part in it, but if I do a trail ride in another country and my horse acts like a psycho I may never ride another horse again!
January 1, 2016 was unbelievable. I do not believe in resolutions. I am more of an advocate of living a positive life that involves being good to yourself and others. You hear people say and you see posts on various social media sites that say, "it is the first day of a 364 page book so make it a good one, " and I feel confident that I made it a great one! I look forward to more experiences that I can learn from and be inspired by. This trip was memorable in so many ways, but mostly I was invigorated by the spirit and hospitality I received in both countries and I look forward to what this year will bring.