End of today’s shoot with this trouble maker. #ig_newengland #igersnewengland #bostondotcom #beantown #theamericancollective #pulseofboston #exploreeverything #upperrightusa #needeverystuff #northeastisbeast #streetdreamsmag #scenesofnewengland #showmetheworld #slowshutter #boston #theamericancollective #scenesofma #thatphotokid #portraits #SuperHubs_portrait #SuperHubs_BW #bns_usa#WLYG #hollywoodglam #blackandwhite #style #great_captures_bnw #ScoutMeAMW

The Cave

After we finished the Torres del Paine circuit, our group was ready to go our separate ways. We all had different agendas and were ready to follow them. I wasn’t quite ready to leave Puerto Natales and needed a day to head back to the Duty Free in Punta Arenas to buy a replacement camera while the others were ready to continue the journey north. I felt so fortunate to have shared so many amazing experiences - Summer Solstice in Ushuaia, a meat eating extravaganza, the holidays in Puerto Williams, and the circuit in Torres del Paine along with random day to day fun with these people, but I was ready and excited to be traveling on my own. 

My first day alone, I found a spot along the water to journal, like a good backpacker, and I wrote about how much I was looking forward to this next stage of my journey. Being back in charge of my plans and trusting that although I had no idea what the future would hold, I knew that it would work out, just as everything had worked out thus far. On that high, I floated into town and went into a jewelry store that had caught my eye earlier. I started talking with the jeweler about the area and he recommended that I explore Laguna Sofia. He described it as a magical, almost spiritual place that had a cave to camp out in. A cave? I was intrigued to say the least.

I told Stefan about it, and he was equally intrigued. We decided to go for it. He would stay with me the first night or two, and then I would have an evening for myself, alone in the cave! 

Stefan biked and Rodrigo drove me out to the lake in this classic ride. 

The boys swam while I lay down on the “beach” channeling my inner San Diego. Afterwards, Rodrigo showed us the way up the steep hill to the cave. I knew we wouldn’t have to hike too far, so I had loaded my bag with some heavier than normal backpacking fare, ex wine. Although short, the hike was not easy, especially given my, ahem, relaxed state. The hard work was worth it though, as it always seems to be. 

The next three days were a blissful mix of relaxation, swimming, hiking, and mainly taking in the exquisite views while we were blessed with one of the most beautiful weekends of weather I’ve experienced since I’ve been here. 

As an added bonus, there were condor nests all along the cliff, so we had a perfect private viewing of the condors in flight. 

The excursion ended with as much ease as it started, and increased my confidence in the rest of my trip. My plan was to leave and head out to the main road to hitchhike home. I left the cave and ran into 2 climbers about 20 feet from the mouth of the cave who offered to take me home. Could not have been easier. And coincidentally, the girlfriend and son of one of the hikers live in Encinitas - my San Diego home for the past 2 years.

I left euphoric and determined to come back to Puerto Natales. 


northern Europe by Bike by showmetheworld

I haven’t watched this yet, but it was described as “If Werner Herzog went cycle touring” by Jack Thurston, two people who I would put my chips behind.

"Family" in El Bolson

After getting back from Cochamó, I knew I wanted to move on quickly from Puerto Montt, so I woke up early and headed down to the bus station to catch the first bus to Argentina. I wanted to head to Bariloche and then take a bus to El Bolson to meet up with Ivo. (He had been smart and was traveling with a light load, so he was going to make the journey to El Bolson on foot.) My plan didn’t go quite as expected, which again, turned out for the better, eventually. Of course I didn’t see it that way when I was in the bus station being refused a ticket because I didn’t have the print out proof of my visa (reciprocity fee) to get into Argentina. I didn’t have this because I had already paid my visa when I arrived at the airport in Buenos Aires and had sticker proof in my passport. They had recently changed the law on this, so yes, you do need to pay your reciprocity fee before traveling into Argentina, by any mode now.  But I already had. And I had proof in my passport. The idiot man working at the counter did not understand this and refused to sell me a ticket. I was less than pleased. Fortunately there were others in Puerto Montt that could actually use their brains and were willing to sell me a ticket (even if it was for the early afternoon). I still get heated thinking about that jerk, clearly.  I need to let it go… 

I eventually made it on to the bus, crossed the border without incident, and managed to catch the last bus out of Bariloche to El Bolson. It was on that bus ride that I met Gail. She had also had a “fun” encounter with an equally competent bus employee, so we commiserated over our experiences. Gail is not shy about expressing her opinions and it was honestly refreshing, and amusing, to have someone to vent with. After we moved past our anger, I learned that she is an Oregon expat living in El Bolson with her husband, Eddie. She offered to help set me up at her friend’s hostel, but since it was so late, she invited me to just stay the night at her house. We made it to her house and she yelled (Gail doesn’t really use indoor voices) to Eddie that she’d brought the girl from the bus home. It was only then that I introduced myself. We all had a nightcap and then I snuggled in to bed with one of their very affectionate kitties. It was such a warm end to a rough starting day. 

The following day a deal was made: for a couple hours of work each day, I could continue to stay at the house. I agreed immediately. That first day I did some house work, but then we realized that I could be more helpful organizing the expenses for the cabaña that they were in the process of building. It was honestly fun to break out excel again and set up some spreadsheets. With our arrangement settled, I relaxed into the El Bolson lifestyle, which is rather relaxed… to say the least. 

Although I had a great birthday weekend, I was still missing home a little bit and Gail and Eddie were the perfect solution. I swear that they would fit right into my parents group of friends. They were an odd mixture of all of them… and it was so fun, and comforting, to be surrounded by that kind of love. We drank wine and good polish vodka (thanks for sharing Eddie!) We ate homemade food with fresh greens from the garden, including… wait for it… KALE!  We shopped the hardware stores for supplies for the cabaña. We went to a gong bath, aka adult nap time. We went for walks and shared philosophies about life. It was the exact nurturing that I was needing.  

I already was feeling at home, and then we had Sunday breakfast. Sunday mornings at the Dixon house are quite the affair. My dad usually makes pancakes or waffles and then we have a leisurely morning reading outside on the patio. It’s one of my favorite times to stop by for a visit (usually after yoga), so it was quite the treat when Sunday morning rolled around and Eddie made us a pancake breakfast.  I was giddy.

Not only did I have a wonderful time with Gail and Eddie, but I also met up with Ivo for some craft beer tastings. Sadly none of them were very good… 

I also had the pleasure of meeting up with Stefan! I had just made it back down from a lovely waterfall hike (with a hand drawn map from Eddie with fair warning about this “somewhat sketchy” bridge) when I pulled out my phone and saw that Stefan had arrived earlier that day to the campsite across the road from where I was staying. I popped in and had the pleasure of seeing him for the first time in months. It was a lot of fun to share notes on the journeys that we’d each taken since we’d last parted at the Cave

With Lollapalooza and Caitlin’s arrival in Santiago at the beginning of April, I sadly couldn’t stay too long. With a heavy, but full heart, I headed to the road to attempt to hitch to Bariloche. I ended up getting ride in this: 

At least I left home in style. 

#lviv #lvov #lemberg_onelove #lemberg #ualviv #leopolis #night #nightlviv #nofilter #nocorrection #lookingup #operahouse #theatre #street #oldtown #architecture #architectureporn #architecturelovers #showmetheworld #photooftheday #goprouniverse #worldbestshot #vscocam #vsco #vscolviv by lia_evgenieva


End of the World video courtesy of Stefan. Posts to follow detailing some of these activities.