With the countdown to Chile officially started, as has happened so often before, there is the sensation of running downhill without thought to slowing – capable of focusing only on the trip nearly at hand. Despite my best efforts to appear calm, it is apparent to everyone in my family that I will be departing soon, not because I have started to pack (who needs basic amenities anyway?), but because of my sporadic behavior and steadily ascending energy level. Such unbounded excitement leaves me exhausted each night, only to be renewed by periodic dreams of Valparaiso and its beautiful rocky seafront and vividly colored houses and shops. The adventures that await in Santiago, Valparaiso, and Easter Island are innumerable, but that does not keep me from speculating and raising the topic with whoever can bare to listen to my excited and disjointed speech. The myriad of possibilities that arise in regards to local culture and customs, food (food!), as well as the history and atmosphere surrounding the people and locations portend an unceasing level of amazement. Easter Island especially will be a dream that I had never conceived of realizing, if only because of the enigmatic pull it extended, juxtaposed with a seeming inaccessibility, from the pages of a National Geographic magazine years ago. Not to mention that Santiago, a diverse and worldly city in itself, is hosting the Copa América, promising a host of nationals from a wide range of regions will descend upon the city for the primary purpose of soccer (an agoraphobe’s nightmare and a soccer fanatic’s dream). The Chile trip promises to coalesce a myriad of my passions while offering a bounty of unknown and unimaginable opportunities. If only the regular chores and activities of daily life would let me be distracted.
The extent of my packing thus far: