I'm looking forward to getting back to New Zealand. Even though I like Chile very much, this heat here is relentless. I don't like it one bit and it makes my stay here in Santiago all the more difficult. However, I don't think I could've picked better Couchsurfing hosts than Leo and Andrea to stay with for my last four days (in Santiago) of my 46 day long holiday.
I will definitely be back to Patagonia and Chile at some point, but next time I will take much more time to do my trip. I'm thinking about doing another road trip in Patagonia and seeing the rest of South America, but I'll be shipping over my own 4x4 expedition camper van from New Zealand and doing it from autumn to winter where I start out in the south (Punta Arenas) and head north as the autumn begins to fade into the depths of winter. I can forecast out that my next trip Will be anywhere from 9-12 months in length. Now that will be amazing beyond words!
This trip to Patagonia was life-changing for me in so many ways; I can't even begin to tell anybody how changing it was for me. The only I can say is that I experienced life in a part in the world where a time truly does standstill. For example...
a) I drove through places where I was the only vehicle for an hour a hour at a time out on the road.
b) I experienced driving on rugged very dry corrugated mountain roads while behind the wheel of an ill-equipped rear-wheel drive van using all of my already very experienced mountain my driving experience. I pushed the vehicle beyond its limits and myself beyond. Only lady luck saved my a$$ during these hair-raising moments. In fact, driving on some of these sections, took more concentration than piloting a landing aeroplane. Yes I am also a pilot as well.
c) I met countless wonderful and true globally adventurous people who have become my friends and will continue to be in contact with via e-mail, Skype, etc. One day I hope to see some of these people in New Zealand so I can show them around my wonderful country.
d) I experienced beautiful weather and of course very shitty weather along with the relentless Patagonian westerly gale winds....
e) I saw the most amazing mountain landscapes I will ever see in my life.
e) I drove the straightest, longest, and probably what will be the hottest roads I will ever drive in my life. Imagine driving a 115km straight stretch of high plateau desert highway road with the Andes far to the west and nothing, yes I mean NOTHING, to the east or ahead to the north. And you only see one vehicle for the entire time!! Its hard to grasp; it really is!
f) For 22 of my 24 days on this solo roadtrip, it was very pleasant to feel time actually standing still.
For all the above reasons, I am so very grateful to have been able to experience this solo Patagonia trip. As a bonus, I got to experience Patagonia just after completing another lifelong dream of mine; this was my 11-day Antarctic adventure cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula.
For anybody reading this blog, my advice to you is to "dream big and dare to fail" (Norman Vaughn is my lifelong hero!) Don't put off the fulfilling your dreams only to say things like "Yeah I'll do it sometime in the future.." (someday.. someday.. someday.. sort of talk). As human beings, we don't know how long we will each be around. You might be live for 100 years, but then again your time maybe up 2 years from now... We really do not know - nobody does - so live life to the fullest and try not to accumulate cash wealth, but rather accumulate memories/life experiences, and not physical stuff.
I'm very proud to say that after completing my Antarctica trip as well as this Patagonia solo road trip, that my top 10 bucket list in life is actually complete. For those who don't know me well, I am in my early to mid 40s, but feel more like 25 years old. Moving forward to my future, I'm really looking forward to writing up a new top 10 bucket list to complete during the second half of my life...
Safe travels to everybody!