So way back when I started this adventure, I was supposed to be back in the good old U.S. of A. today.
I think you all know by now that I have extended my trip by a month and will probably extend it even more and am now planning to return mid-December, but I'm not entirely sure yet.
I am now in Chile, in the Araucania or Lakes region, and heading southwards. It is getting colder and more beautiful every time I head south. I have fallen into the backpacker culture without even noticing it happen. The Chileans are wonderful, and while not as aggressive as in some other countries, they are very happy to open their homes up to people like me whom they don't even know, which has been really nice. I'm getting out into nature a bit as well, trekking
and camping, though the snow is making that kind of a challenge at times, especially for a California girl. But also just the scenery within the towns here, where there are almost always either volcanoes, lakes, or other mountains to look at, is just breathtaking. And it really makes me appreciate the differences between my real life and the kind of life many people here
lead, where they have this amazing countryside right out their windows and life is slow and quiet.
And I'm very frequently amused, like when I was woken up by a loudly gobbling turkey outside my window the other day. And on the bus between cities the other day, there was a bus-company-sponsored bingo game. Then yesterday I found out giant barnacles taste just as disgusting as they look. So I'm still being exposed to new stuff every day, even after four
months of travel.
But mostly I am just reminded every day that there are so many great people in this world, which is nice to remember in light of the news I hear from the U.S. But mostly what I'm learning is that it's important to take time to appreciate what's around you, both scenery and people, and so that's why I'm staying here so long and not getting tired of it. Instead of running from town to town, I stay an extra day or so if I meet somebody nice.
Anyway, this is starting to sound like one of those Christmas card update letters that everyone sends and nobody wants to read. And I know I owe some or all of you more personal letters, but I will try soon, I promise. For now, I just wanted to say hello and let you know I'm safe and happy and enjoying Chile. Please write, as I would love to get updates from you, and if
you write me I promise a personal response. :)