Being impulsive!!!

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I have very exciting news! I'm departing TODAY for a two week trip to Patagonia! Since returning from Bike & Build, I've spent most of my time applying to jobs, working part-time, and doing some craft projects here and there, so my unemployment period hasn't felt as adventurous and relaxing as I had hoped. After accepting a job that doesn't start until January, I decided I should really take advantage of the time, which to me, obviously meant traveling!

With the whole world to explore, I wasn't sure where to go. I knew I didn't really want to visit another city or Westernized country; I still crave the adventure, unfamiliarity, physical challenge, and feeling of relative smallness that Bike & Build gave me. Michelle, my Bike & Build friend, is doing a fellowship in Sitka, Alaska, and I would have loved to see her and explore the area. However, I was reminded that I might not want to visit the northern hemisphere in the winter, given the shorter days, so I decided to fly the other direction and head to one of the most amazing trekking destinations in the world, Patagonia!

I also had to keep in mind what places were safe for a solo female traveler. For my own confidence, this translated into a relatively touristy place with nice locals, an abundance of hostels, and a decent standard of living. My parents are pretty hesitant about my first solo trip being in a developing country whose native language I don't speak, but they both have been extremely supportive about everything, despite their own concerns. I sometimes forget how hard it would be if my parents didn't acknowledge my own independence as much as they do, so times like these definitely remind me of how grateful I should be. So thanks Mom and Dad!

Anyway, after a ton (read: 15+ hours) of online research, I nailed down an itinerary that squeezed in some of the major destinations in less than 2 weeks, including air travel. I know I'm missing out on some towns that are considered must-sees, but I just have to accept that I'll be returning to Patagonia again in this lifetime! So, for now, here's the plan:

  1. Dec 5: Depart San Francisco
  2. Dec 6-7: Buenos Aires, Argentina
  3. Dec 7-8: El Calafate, Argentina
  4. Dec 8-9: Puerto Natales, Chile
  5. Dec 9-13: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
  6. Dec 13-15: El Calafate, Argentina
  7. Dec 15-17: El Chalten, Argentina
  8. Dec 17: Return to San Francisco

I'm not sure how often I'll have access to a computer and internet, but I'll hopefully try to share as much as possible. I'm bringing a journal with me, so worst case, I'll get to relive my trip through post-mortem posts!