As we approach the end of the first third of our journey, we find ourselves processing the answer to the question "What do we like?" We have been to urban cities of millions and towns of dozens. We have perused museums, churches, and historical sites treading in the footsteps of prehistoric and historic figures. We have experienced Ejectivo buses with pillows, blankets and reclining seats that convert to beds and chicken buses where sheep share our seats. We have slept on thin bedding over hard, unyielding salt blocks, in hostels without electricity or water and in resorts where our backpacks marked us as intruders.
We have hiked in "tourist" groups following guides up and down seaside trails and have explored hidden remnants of ancient forests with local biologists. We have meandered by ourselves along old animal trails and long abandoned roads losing ourselves to the quiet voice of nature. We have toured by canoe, jeep, ferry, bus, and on foot. We have gazed at incredible and diverse panoramic landscapes covered by sea, ice, salt, lava, and forests of every shape and kind.
We have been cold, hot, wet and dry... sometimes in the same hour.
While each experience has its values, its impacts and its lessons, we find we consistently gravitate toward certain types. We prefer the countryside to the cities. It is not the quality of the place we love at bedtime, rather, the feeling of being welcome. While occasional experts are valued for their knowledge, the joy of self-discovery is generally much more satisfying. We would rather fish by ourselves along an undiscovered stream than be "directed and assisted" on a charter. We like the lonely hikes where the wildlife are our companions. Sally does not like it too cold nor Jess too hot. We both prefer home cooked to restaurant meals.
With reflection, we prefer the types of experiences we have long loved in the Gunnison Valley (or at least those in spring, summer, and fall!). While the novelties of culture, cuisine, people and place are of enormous value to us currently, we reflect on the wisdom of Dorothy Gale when she stated "There's no place like home."
Glacier in Bernardo O´Higgins National Park, Chile; cooking lamb and other meat at an asado or BBQ at an Estancia in Chile; floating toward the Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego NP, Argentina.
Posted from Punta Arenas, Chile