Where in the world are you?
I’m sitting in a yurt at the Patagonia Camp in Torres del Paine Chile. I just arrived last night, and it was quite a trip getting here! After 4 flights spanning nearly 24 hours, a night in uber-windy Punta Arenas (the “Southernmost City in the World”) and a 5 hour drive across the Patagonian Steppe, the sign to the camp and the friendly staff were a welcome sight!
What are you doing there?
I’m here to film a “Torres del Paine- Top 5” video for Travel Channel’s short-form group, and to blog, blog, blog along the way. I’ve always wanted to come to Chile, and this trip I’ll be focusing on the Southern region. To put where I am in perspective, I’m right above Antarctica.
Beginning today I am the only person at Patagonia Camp… it’s a little bit early in the season for tourists, I suppose. This means that I’ll have 2 guides to the park to show me around and help me pick the best places to visit while I’m here. Hopefully this also means good things for my video.
What do you see around you?
It’s 7 am, and I’m sitting at the natural wood desk inside my yurt, number 18. Last night it was very warm and cozy, despite the strong Patagonian winds blowing outside. Right in front of me is a huge window showcasing the fantastic view of Lake Toro and the Paine Massif… It’s very inspiring, actually. They’ve done a great job making this camp feel both natural and luxe at the same time.
Got a pic?
What did you have last night for dinner, and where?
Last night I ate dinner with the camp’s manager, Marcia, and owner, Francisco in the camp’s main dining room. It’s beautiful and comfortable with huge windows overlooking the lake. We started with a glass of wine from their sister vineyard, Matetic (which I believe Samantha Brown visited once in Passport to Latin America) before feasting on beef tenderloin with wine-soaked pears and roasted potatoes. That was followed by a brownie with local rhubarb ice-cream and mousse. Yum!
What are you listening to these days?
I am traveling solo this trip, therefore I’m trying to embrace the isolation as much as possible. In my yurt, there’s no TV or radio, and my blackberry doesn’t work, so while I’m here I’m going to “unplug” as much as I can. (Other than the requisite blogging and filming, of course.) So, I will be listening to the wind, the birds and the water lapping on the shores of Lake Toro. It’s perfect.
What are you reading?
I’m currently trying to get inspiration from the 2008 Best American Travel Writing compilation, with the forward by none other than Anthony Bourdain. There are some amazing experiences documented there, including a few which were originally published on WorldHum.com.
What did you experience in the last 24 hours that you’d recommend?
Travel kind of makes you push through awkward challenges… Yesterday, I made the 5 hour drive across the Patagonian Steppe with my driver Luin. I speak very little Spanish, and Luin spoke even less English, so driving such a long way with him was an adventure, to say the least. We formed a unique friendship, based around gestures and the few words we knew we both understood (aka viento = wind.) By the end of the journey, I realized I remembered more Spanish than I thought, and I met a new friend along the way.
Where in the world are you headed next?
After spending 5 days in Torres del Paine, hiking and exploring the lakes, glaciers and mountains here, I’ll be heading to Ushuaia, Argentina to explore Tierra del Fuego and the Beagle Channel. Coincidentally, Ushuaia also considers themselves to be the “Southernmost City in the World”… and I thought there could only be one. Well, lucky me, I get to see two of them!