…So, this post is from 5 months ago when I lived in Chile… I finally decided to share it because it’s from the day I decided to take a spontaneous trip from my “hometown (Quillota)” to the town of Los Angeles.
So, it all started March 9, 2018 at 8pm when I decided to start exploring more of this beautiful country. So, I got up and headed to the bus station in Quillota, where I would take the 2 hour bus ride to Santiago.
I arrived in Santiago at 10pm, and waited to take the 11pm bus to Los Angeles.
That means I arrived in Los Angeles around 5am, and up to this time I had not thought of what I’d do when I arrived that early (I thought I wouldn’t arrive until at least mid-day), but I was still on a high from spontaneously deciding to take this trip, so I didn’t think much about it.
. . .
So, I arrived at the Los Angeles bus terminal at 5am, and nothing around was open.
So, I decided to copy the people around me (the 5 other people in the bus station – a family of 3, a women with a lot of bags and suitcases, and a business man).
So, I found a bench in the terminal, put my headphones on, and laid down to take a nap.
But, I wasn’t really tired, so I just listened to my music, and tried to keep myself warm – because at 5am in Chile, the temperature drops down below 10 degrees…It goes from 35 to below 10; which is a pretty drastic difference, and makes one feel the cold (so, I couldn’t fall asleep because I couldn’t stop shivering).
When I saw other buses and people arriving in the terminal, I realized I had been laying on the bench for at least 2 hours, and let me tell you, it wasn’t very comfortable.
As soon as I saw a small glimpse of sunlight through the bus terminal window, I got up and ventured out into town, and searched for breakfast. But, since it was barely 8am, (in Chile grocery stores don’t open until at least 10am), I couldn’t get breakfast for another 2 hours.
So, there I was, in an unknown town with nothing to do but explore, and watch the sun rise(which turned out to be pretty amazing).
And, that’s exactly what I did – I walked from one end of town to the other (it wasn’t a very big town), enjoying this exciting, and spontaneous adventure to Los Angeles, Chile.
. . .
Although, the walk was great, and the sunrise was beautiful, I was still a little cold (I was used to the 35 degree heat), and my feet were starting to hurt (really bad), I continued to explore this town at dawn (the beauty of a new town, this early, helped me forget the cold, and the pain).
So, with nothing open, and being a small town, the streets were very quiet, which felt weird (even in Quillota there’s noise at night), but it was kinda nice and peaceful to experience a small town in another country, this early in the morning.
. . .
After ~2 hours of exploring, just aimlessly walking around, and watching the sunrise (and getting kicked out of a hotel – …see below…), I found the first grocery store to open, and immediately went inside.
But, before even looking for breakfast, I just stood inside realizing how cold I’d actually gotten – being outside in below 10 degree weather since 4am I’d started to adjust.
I eventually started walking down the isles of the grocery store thinking of what I wanted for breakfast… (I had no idea, so, I ended up just buying some staple foods like: bread, manjar, bananas, water, and some Chilean treats…).
But, as I was walking to the elevator to leave, the front desk agents saw me and thought I was being suspicious. So, after they questioned me, I told them I was leaving, and that I just wanted to see the view. But, they still called their manager, which is when I realized I could’ve just asked before I went up (but from what other people said, it seemed like it was ok). After they called their manager, I patiently waited, as to not cause any more trouble, and then they escorted me out (I felt weird in the moment, but at least I got a story out of it from my trip to Los Angeles, Chile when I felt like a little rebel :D).
. . .
With breakfast purchased, I headed back outside.
It was now past 10:30am, so it was warming up with the sun, and people were waking up and going about their day.
As I was standing outside of the grocery store enjoying the warmth of the sun, my feet still screaming in pain, I set out to find a park (or plaza, as they call it in Chile) to sit down and eat my breakfast. And, although I had passed many during my walk this morning, it took me a while to find it again.
I eventually found a beautiful plaza where I finally sat down.
While warming up under the sun and eating breakfast, I just watched people go about their day. It was interesting to just sit there and watch people in this new, small town because for a moment, I forgot I was in Chile. It all just seemed and felt normal.
After I had warmed up and ate breakfast, I connected to the internet (in Chile every town has a plaza with free wifi). I took some pictures of the sunrise and posted them on Instagram, texted my host family to let them know I made it, and texted my family back home to show them where I was.
After finishing breakfast, and checking social media, I ventured out again.
This time I went to find the mall, and coffee.
. . .
A few minutes later, I walked into the mall (it was bigger than you’d expect for a small town), and immediately headed to the food court to find coffee (I was tired from only 3 hours of sleep on the bus).
I got a great cup of coffee and did some more people watching in the mall to see if the plaza was only a similar feeling because I was tired, but this also felt very normal (maybe even more).
By this time it was ~11am, so there were more people around, and more places open, and everything just seemed normal (I barely felt like I was in Chile – until I heard people speaking Spanish…).
Once I finished my coffee, I headed back to the bus terminal because my goal when coming to Los Angeles was to go to Saltos del Laja (the Niagara falls of Chile – that’s how my hostfamily explained it to me), which is 30mins from Los Angeles.
At 13:00, I finally got on the bus to Saltos del Laja (my bucket list item was about to be checked off!).
. . .
30 minutes later, I arrived in Saltos del Laja.
The falls were visible from the highway, but to get to the base of them, I had to climb down a hill. And, I made it to the falls (bucket list item: check).
The falls were incredible, and I couldn’t believe I actually made it! (the long journey, and little bit of pain & cold were SOOOOO worth it)! If you’re ever in Chile, I really recommend going to Saltos del Laja!
When I got to the base of the falls, I just sat down staring at the falls eating my last banana from breakfast.
I think I must’ve sat there staring at the falls for a good hour because when I left the falls I was a little damp from the mist coming off them, and a big group of tourists were making their descent to the falls.
After saying “Hi!” to the English speaking tourists (it was nice to hear English :D), I decided it was time to get up, and check out the vendor shops I passed on my way down the hill. (I ended just buying a sticker of the falls, and a Chilean bracelet).
. . .
It was a few minutes past 16:00 when I arrived back in Los Angeles, and since the next bus back to Santiago wasn’t until 18:00, I decided to go explore a little more and buy a / some snacks for the bus ride back.
. . .
That night/morning, I arrived in Santiago SO LATE/EARLY (1am), and the next bus to Quillota didn’t leave until 7am (this is when the spontaneous high started wearing-off…I just wanted to get back now that I checked the falls off my bucket list…I was tired…to say the least).
So, what could I do for ~6 hours, this early in the morning in Santiago?
Yup, you guessed it, I walk around and explored Santiago at night/early morning.
My feet were still in a little pain from Los Angeles walking, but I couldn’t stay at the bus terminal because they were closed, and taxi drivers were insisting on driving me to a hotel (and I think they were raising the price). So, because I didn’t want to pay for a hotel room for less than 6 hours, I told them I would just walk to a hotel (that was my “little white lie” for the day…my bad – But, I just wanted them to stop asking me where I was going…so I left). Spoiler alert: I didn’t walk to a hotel!
Luckily for me, Santiago is still pretty alive at night, so I wasn’t the only person in the streets (let alone the only traveler / backpacker in the streets). While walking around for a couple of hours enjoying the Santiago nightlife, I only found one corner store open (where I just bought a bottle of water for my night exploring in Santiago), not much else was open. So, guess what I did next… You’ll literally never guess…
. . .
While exploring, and discovering a lot of landmarks in Santiago, I found a Starbucks!
…It wasn’t open, but…
I sat down outside of it, and used the internet for a few hours (at least it’s not as cold in Santiago, so I didn’t freeze sitting there).
And, I was only an hour away from the bus terminal I had to go to, to take the bus to Quillota in a few hours.
So, I sat there (at this Starbucks on a random street in Santiago) for a couple of hours (from ~3am to ~5am) using the internet (checking social media), thinking about the past 24 hour adventure. And, I started writing this story because this was a very crazy, spontaneous, and memorable experience.
If I had planned this trip, Iprobably would’ve stayed at a hotel somewhere, and had a better itinerary with more stops.
But, it was so last minute that I literally just put some stuff in a backpack because I wanted to check the waterfalls off my bucket list once and for all.
Sometimes the best trips are the ones that happen spontaneously. (And, this is what that was because I will truly never forget this trip!)
Happy ending to this crazy trip:
After using the internet at Starbucks, the sun was starting (just barely) to rise, so I made my way to the bus terminal, and took a bus back to Quillota, and I made it back to my host family’s home at 11am (just in time for a nice, delicious breakfast – which was cereal…but it was the best cereal ever :D).
And, after breakfast, I immediately went to sleep (I was super exhausted from only 3 hours of sleep in the past 24 hours, and sore from all the walking). I slept that entire day, until 20:00 (but it was so worth it!).
It might have been a crazy / unplanned / painful / exhausting / spontaneous trip in the moment, but, I will never forget this trip because it was one of the best, and most eye-opening trips I’ve ever taken (alone).
If you read this until the end; Thank you for reading this long post about my adventure to Los Angeles / Saltos del Laja, Chile!
I hope it inspired you to take a spontaneous trip somewhere new (I recommend doing at least a little bit of planning).
What was one of your craziest adventures? (comment your story below)
-LiveForAdventure! 🙂 (I definitely lived for adventure on this trip!)
The sky… The clouds… The sun… Everything up there…
Just take a second, Go outside, And look up!
Looking up, At the sky, Always makes me feel happy, And rejuvenated.
Seeing planes, birds, jets… It all gives me hope!
That there’s so much more out there –
And, I want to explore it all!
I love the sky! I love to just look at it! I love just BEING up there, And looking down at everything, With a different perspective!
From up there, I can see everything! But, From down here, I only see as far as my eyes let me.
From up there, I can see things I never notice down here.
From up there, My problems seem to fade away – For a while. And I forget my life – Down here…
From up there, Everything seems in its’ perfect place. My mind is at ease – Thinking of my next destination! Looking down at my last destination! Knowing that great adventures are ahead!
From up there, I eagerly wait – To land again – In a new exciting country – Ready to explore a new culture!
From down here, I am constantly looking up, Thinking about when I will be up there again, Because I know – and hope, that it’s soon. So, I continue to look up!
Day after day! Keeping the hope! That something great is in store – To land in a new country! And, look up at the sky with a new perspective!
This “poem” was inspired by the fact that the world is under the same sky!
It’s crazy to think that wherever you are in the world, you are always looking at the same sky.
You can cross the entire world (from North America all the way down to New Zealand) & still be looking up at the same galaxy (same moon, stars, sun, clouds; same everything)! CRAZY!
The countries are vastly different, but one thing always stays consistent; the sky!
That’s one more reason why traveling is so exciting and interesting because you get to experience so many different cultures around the world while staying under the same sky! The world is small because we’re all under the same sky; but, it’s also huge because every country has it’s own culture.
Thanks for reading!
Now, get out there and explore the world; look at the sky from a different country and you’ll have a completely different perspective in life!
Things used to be a little more black & White Life seemed so much simpler It never mattered what the weather was Cuz jumping in all the puddles used to be normal And running around under the sun with no set purpose was simply exciting
Those were the good ol’ days…
When worries used to be so low that nothing even mattered, And happiness was always high
Those were the good ol’ days…
When no mistake was a big deal And decisions didn’t impact so much No mistake or decisions mattered so much
Those were the good ol’ days…
Everything used to be better And easier And funner And chiller And just all around, straight-forward Black or white, that was it No confusion
Those were the good ol’ days…
But now, things are no longer black & white There seems to be more gray now Nothing will ever be the same Everything about those days has gone But one thing remains from those days The good ol’ lessons
Those were the good ol’ days…
I will always remember them And their lessons Good and bad Cuz they’ve taught me so much
These are the good ol’ days…
Thanks for reading!
Have a good day! And, cherish every moment because one day, today will be “the good ol’ days”!
Coming back home after living abroad for a time is not easy!
. . .
Yup, Reverse Culture Shock! It’s a real thing!
. . .
So, I’ve only been back from Chile for about a week now and the only way I can describe coming home after living abroad for a time is: “weird” & “confused”. In Chile, everything felt so normal. Living there just felt like normal living, but now everything I do here seems weird and different. For example: It’s dark outside right now (@8pm which is 2hours earlier than I’m used to, but that’s not the point). So, it’s dark and I just turned on the lights in my room and it actually made the room somuch brighter, like almost unbearably bright. It’s like I wasn’t even used to light anymore (except for natural sunlight, I saw that everyday☺). But, why did this light just give me a headache?-“confusing” Or, another example: I went to the grocery store the other day (to get one thing) and I could barely find it (it took me a good 10minutes of wandering around before I found it). Everything seemed to be in a different place then what I became used to in Chile. And, that’s not all. I think one other thing that makes coming home even “weirder” and more “confusing” is that now I’m comparing things from Chile to here, but I didn’t compare things from here in Chile. So, why am I doing it now?-“weird”
. . .
Yes, home feels familiar and looks pretty much the same, but there are a few things that are different that you can’t understand why they changed, but they just did. In the (what felt like a short amount of) time that you were away, so much has changed, yet somehow, everything is still the same. It’s pretty hard to describe this “factor” because the things that seem like they changed only seem different to you because your brain has “evolved” (it’s like it’s playing tricks on you). It’s tricking into thinking home is different because you are no longer fully consumed by every little thing that happens at home because you’ve seen things/problems much bigger.
Your new perspective is showing you not to consume yourself with little things at home because the world is so much bigger than your little problems and there are many more & bigger problems in the world!
Culture shock, or even Reverse culture shock, is not something that should stop you from traveling! I think culture shock and reverse culture shock are important things to notice and feel when traveling because they make you more aware of yourself and the world around you!
Here’s a picture that I think well-describes culture shock and reverse culture shock: #9 should make you want to travel (it does for me)!
…So…when I normally think about Fall, I think about: – Leaves falling
-Time to get ready for snow…and Christmas…
Well, that’s not the case for me this Fall because it’s Fall right now in Chile, and I can’t think about any of those things. Instead, I’m thinking about: going swimming, maybe getting ice cream, just staring at the sun and being in awe (and confused) about this weather...
. . .
Yup, that’s right. It’s fall here in Chile and the lowest temperature is 10°C (in the middle of the night). During the day, it can still reach at least 25°C and drop to 15°C.
. . .
But, temperatures aside. The other reason I’m writing this post is because it’s the end of March and stores are having sales on summer clothes, people are actually starting to wear jackets, kids are just starting school, the weather is dropping (compared to last month). In my mind, everything that normally happens in September is happening now, in march. And, in a way, it seems normal because I’ve been here all summer anyway, so I can adapt to it easily. It took me all summer to adapt to the weather in January that now it kinda just seems normal. But, when I think about the date, it seems so weird because my mind is not used to saying: “happy first day of fall” at the end of March. But, on the plus side, I can buy summer clothes here on sale for summer when I get back home.
Anyways, after living here during New Year’s and the first day of Fall, my perspective changed because the seasons being flipped made me start thinking: For one, I find it so fascinating that some people say it’s a small world out there because literally a 10 hour plane ride (that’s a pretty long plane ride) from you (below the equator) there are people starting school or work, when you are getting ready to go on vacation. That’s evidence that it’s really not such a small world after all. We all live on the same planet, but it’s a pretty big planet with different countries and cultures.
Seriously though, we all live in different places on this planet, and we all adapt to different lifestyles based on the seasons of our country during a time in the year. The people in the world aren’t so different (we are still all human), but the world is so big and different, which gives us something interesting to learn about when we travel.
Some people are shoveling snow while others are turning on all their fans.
Some people are coming home from vacation while others are packing for vacation.
Some people are preparing for Spring while others are raking leaves.
This is one of the main reasons why I love traveling so much; To get a different perspective on things in life because sometimes when you look at something familiar in a different place, you can see the importance and impact it can actually have, which will changed your perspective about that things.
Sometimes you just have to turn around and look behind you for a second.
It might change a lot more than you think!
. . .
Location of picture:
Cortina Puclaro 25 minutes from Vicuña, Chile 50 minutes from La Serena, Chile
. . .
While taking the picture above, I was drawn to the lake because the sun was shining directly on it and it seemed like the perfect picture of a lake in the middle of the mountains. I didn’t really think of taking a picture on the other side because the sun was shining directly at my camera and the view didn’t seem as good, but I took one just to see what it would look like and, it actually came out amazing. I, then, realized that the sun setting behind the mountains, the sun flair on my camera and, the river going through the mountains was a really good picture and I was glad I decided to take both pictures.
. . .
So, why am I sharing this story? Well, after taking a picture of both sides of this bridge, I realized that it was kind of a metaphor for life.
You see, sometimes we can get stuck just looking at one side of things in our life, and we are happy with it because we think it’s a great view.
But, it’s not until we turn around that we realize that we should have turned around much earlier because there was so much more amazing things waiting for us, and all we had to do was turn around and shift our perspective.
And, it’s really quite a simple concept. You just turn around to shift your focus, and watch your perspective change. And, that small shift in your perspective could change your whole world.
One simple shift in your focus
could change your entire perspective of your life!
Thanks for reading! I hope this post inspired you to change your perspective every now and then; and, if you’d like to read more about perspective, check out this post: Perspective… / A Day in Valparaiso, Chile!
So, yesterday I went out for a walk around the town I live (Quillota) here in Chile. And, while walking, I started taking pictures of random things around town that might inspire a post or that I might want to post on Instagram. And, the picture above fit into both of those categories. Here’s why: I didn’t have any set goal in mind or place to be. I just stepped out the door with the thought of going out to wander because it was such a beautiful & sunny summer day in February that I had to take advantage of this weather and this beautiful country. So, that’s what I did. I, seriously just walked around town; from one end to another (I walk until I reached the highway on both ends of town). And, I after a while, I started heading back because I knew it would be supper time soon, and I didn’t want to make people worry. So, I started heading back, while still subconsciously searching for inspiration, so, I decided to walk back on the main road because I thought: “maybe the best inspiration will be hidden in plain sight”. And, I was right, because that’s when I looked in the middle of the road at the palm trees planted all along the median, while the sun was perfect, the sky was a great colour of blue, the mountains were the perfect backdrop, the road was cleared… so, I crossed to the middle and took that picture (above).
And, while taking that picture, this sentence came to my mind: “Always Growing!”
~ Every picture has a story! ~
. . .
As the quote under the picture says: “In life, you can’t keep looking behind you. Whether it’s at your past self or others, you have to keep looking forward in order to keep growing.”.
Everyone grows differently and at a different pace.
We are similar to the tree in that way because we all started from something small, but there was that one thing that happened in our life that started our growth; Either through fear, sadness or happiness, and since then, we will always be growing a little each and every day.
Thanks for reading! I hope this inspired you to: “Grow little tree, grow! You can do it! Don’t look behind you!” because you are doing a great job and you are amazing!
The following post is just one hour into my day (through 15 minute intervals), today-January 28, 2018.
. . .
I’m going to start with the hour during & after lunch.
15:30 – Lunch time (by the way, I’m currently living in Chile & that is a normal lunch time). Today for lunch, I ate: stew with potatoes triangles, grated carrots, short-grain white rice, beef chunks, and minced garlic. And, normally, I’m not a huge fan of stew, but this tasted pretty good (that could also be because I didn’t eat breakfast, but either way, it was good).
15:45 – Still just eating the stew, while listening to Spanish conversations and trying my hardest to understand them. My brain is starting to get used to hearing Spanish (it’s not as foreign anymore, like during my first week here), but now, I need to train it to pick-up on important words to understand part of the conversation, so I’m not always completely lost (I think I’m slowly getting better at this).
16:00 – Lunch is over now and everyone is just doing their own things. And, I get introduced to the world of “Samsung VR” for the first time. And, I can definitely say that it’s VERY interesting, and addicting! It’s a whole new world! And, it’s really hard to explain because it consists’ of a headset/mask that you put on and only you can see what’s happening on the screen, so the experience is different for everyone. But, I can say that it’s definitely worth experiencing, at least once in your life!
16:15 – Still stuck in the Virtual Reality world! I told myself to explore it for a few minutes before going to take advantage of the beautiful sun and heat outside.
16:30 – Left the VR world, to go take a walk outside, under the beautiful sun and in the amazing 35 degree heat in January! It’s so beautiful and peaceful; with the wind blowing, the birds chirping, the cars honking, the palm trees swaying, the kids playing, the people chatting and going places. Everything and everyone around me is enjoying their summer vacation and weather, and so am I. I love it here! P.S. That “walk” lasted 2 hours. I just explored random things and walked around and bought souvenirs.
And, that was an hour insight into my day, today; January 28, 2018.
Thanks for reading! Let me know, in the comments below, if you like these types of posts.
Yup, it’s JANUARY and, I can go outside wearing shorts, a tank-top, and flip flops. It’s JANUARY and, I don’t need to bundle-up to go outside and shovel snow. It’s JANUARY and, I can be outside without freezing / getting frostbite. It’s JANUARY and, it’s sunny & +30 degrees Celsius. I keep having to remind myself that it’s JANUARY.
. . .
My whole life, the month of January has been my least favorite month because it’s always so cold (like -20 degrees Celsius), that being here (in Chile) under the +30 degree Celsius sun is just crazy and somehow weird(in a good way). I’m definitely not used to starting the year with this weather.
I mean… Seriously though, in my brain, the month of January is connected with the cold and the snow, but right now, my body is in this beautiful tropical climate.
That confuses my brain (a lot!).
And, even though sometimes I forget what month it is, I LOVE it! What a great way to start 2018!
Thanks for reading!
Answer the following question in the comments (if you want): What does your January 2018 look like? & post a picture (if you want)!