The sudden sterility of a room before a move. That space which was once a home, a refuge...vacant and scrubbed of all the marks of its former owner. I've moved ten times in the last four years, and so this moment of cleaning and removing and erasing one's presence is not unfamiliar to me. It even feels kind of good. A definitive closure. A ritual of passage.
The journey that I am about to undertake will be the biggest distance covered in a month that I have ever attempted. The tentative (and extremely flexible) itinerary looks like this:
- Santiago de Chile (July 27)
- San Pedro de Atacama
- Machu Pichu
- Lake Titicaca
- La Paz
- Buenos Aires (August 21)
When I arrive in Denver after a red-eye flight and twelve-hour layover in Miami, I will have traveled over 10,000 miles in 25 days. About 400 miles a day, if it were actually divided equally (some days will be disproportionately long...48-hour bus rides tend to do that). 4,000 of those miles will be overland in busses. Four countries to cross- Chile (literally tip to tip), Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.
Yeah. It's gonna get crazy.
This trip is taking me from the minor leagues of world travel to the major league. Even my friend who recently traveled solo through Eastern Europe for three months and went through several countries that until very recently were war zones said, "Holy shit" when I told him about the plan.
I'm ready. Travel is adventure and struggle and fulfilment...the sum of all I want life to be. I am happiest when I am constantly moving and adapting at a cheetah's pace. Everything that I learned in this semester of teaching will come into play. I will need every ounce of change and growth and experience that I've gained.
The journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single step: Get to Punta Arenas in the snow. It's time for Puerto Natales to fade into the Patagonian snow until I can return.