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Friday, January 9, 2015

Santiago bound

Sitting here on the flight to Santiago, I find myself wondering what I've gotten myself into. What possesses me to leave the comforts of home to pursue the unknown, the unknowable?  This time a broken heart perhaps, but maybe a mild chest cold would have been sufficient to propel me out of a routine into which i had not yet reconciled myself. I suspect an inverse correlation exists between the strength of the foundation and the length of time it takes a life to settle. Small wonder, then.. 

Adventure is in me, it percolates. As I face the next 8 weeks without a plan more solidified than, "get to Puerto Montt and start biking south", I am emboldened and reluctant in equal measure, I am reminded of Spelele, a tiny little spit of a girl we went to visit in Africa, to see if we could provide some assistance following the loss of her parents to AIDS (see my Africa journal for more info). As we arrived at her grandmother's home (I went with some of the older girls from the orphanage where I was living), Spelele ran out to greet us. Equally terrified, she moved as though to run away. So, for a period of time, she did this odd little dance in the middle of her yard, one step toward us, one away.  It's like that.
Spelele as we found her

I sit here reading these words, staring at the screen, shaking my head, still trying to make sense of it all. I can't. Disbelief immobilizes me. And so it comes down to the list of things I'm not enough- pretty, young, smart, hip, clever, talented. It's endlessly self-depricating.  And pointless. To paraphrase my friend Susana, if something is taking up a lot of space in your life, unpack it in a larger room. Chilean Patagonia is that larger room. Perhaps it's just a matter of scale.
I am now only hours outside of Santiago. The next two nights are booked in a small dorm room at the Princesa Insolente- the insolent princess. Perfect. I'm feeling a bit insolent of late. Beyond that, nothing is known.  I will find a bus to Puerto Montt, put my bike friday together somewhere there, fill my one remaining empty pannier with food- the others being fully booked with camping gear, electronics, and biking essentials- and start pedaling. I have been assured by the man in the seat next to mine, a Chilean native, that I will be challenged, that the road, the wind, the rain, will conspire against me some days, and that the lack of a good cup of coffee may be the mechanism of my undoing. Little does he know, I'm already undone.

1 comment:

  1. Another stunning post, Alyson. I am in awe of your seemingly effortless ability to assign words to deep, squishy emotions and incomplete understanding. Muy bien hecho, Chica Valiente!