It all started when Carly called me last fall asking if I’d go on a trip with her that winter. Being that I work in an office all day, I could not be more game to get out of the Chicago city life and escape the cold for a while. Hell yes I would go!
The big question: Where would we go? We tossed around the ideas of places like Hawaii, Mexico, and other tropical destinations. Somehow we finally landed on the idea of doing a hiking/trekking trip. Neither of us had much experience planning a trip like that. Backpacking through Europe and doing hiking in the US was more up our alley so it seemed time to push past our comfort zones and go somewhere we may never get the chance to again. I did some research of the top multi-day hiking trips you must do before you die before finally landing on Patagonia. To be honest, before looking more into Patagonia, I knew of it as a store first and foremost. I definitely didn’t understand how vast and how much land Patagonia actually encompasses. I brought the idea to Carly and she couldn’t contain her excitement!
From past travel experiences with Carly, we both tend to be pretty easy going/”go with the flow” type of travelers so this trip into uncharted territory for us both was bound to be an adventure. Over the years, Carly has become more and more of an outdoorsy California girl gaining experience after experience in the outdoors. We decided unanimously that she would conquer the survival aspect of our trip (food, dangerous animals, plants, first aide, etc) and I would tackle the more logistical part of the trip (getting us from point A to point B timely and safely).
The preparation for our mid January trip was interesting. After a few months of getting what we thought were the appropriate hiking/camping essentials for a trip to the Chilean side of Patagonia that time of the year, we were ready. In my opinion, clothing was the most challenging aspect of preparation. Summer in Patagonia can go from low 30s to upper 60s, snow to sun, wind to rain, all in one day or even a few hours. How do you pack light but still cover the drastic weather changes? We did the best we could!
When the day finally came to leave, I couldn’t be more pumped. Little sleep the night due to my range of emotions (excitement, curiosity, and nervousness) left me wide eyed and running on adrenaline at 4am the morning of our trip. We both had mega early flights (Carly out of LA and me out of Chicago) in which we would get our connecting flight out of Dallas later that day. To our amazement we both caught our early flights since flying standby can sometimes prove challenging getting on a flight at all. Good luck? I’d say!
I got to Dallas and couldn’t wait for Carly to land there too. It had been a few years since I’d seen her last so I was pretty stoked. I went to her terminal to wait for her to get off the plane and after half the plane unloaded, she appeared. It was quite funny actually. Carly being the slender but strong girl that she is came off the plane carrying a bag that was half her size and had a stick that looked like it could do some serious damage if someone crossed her wrong. Once we got settled in for the 8-hour layover before our flight to Santiago it was like no time had passed. You know how it is when you haven’t seen a friend in a long time but when you finally do, it’s like you pick right back up where you left off? That’s Carly and I. We passed our time in the airport catching up, doing a terminal bar crawl (what better way to pass time?), and explaining to dozens of people what the stick was that she carried with her. One thing is for sure…this trip was going to be entertaining and full of surprises! Off we went to South America!