Monday, May 5, 2014

Coming Home

Two nights ago, I watched my last sunset over the ocean in South America and saw the Southern Cross in the sky for the last time while on a bus from Antofagasta in Chile’s desert North to metropolitan and mediterranean Santiago. That afternoon, following a long and bizarre metro ride where a cravat-wearing Santiago native with elite connections and fascist leanings pontificated to me about Zionist conspiracy theories, I drank my last Chilean wine in Chile at the Concha y Toro winery in the beautiful (especially at harvest time) Valle de Maipú. Later that night, I drank my last Chilean beer, the only beer in the world made with Patagonia’s Calafate berry while eating my last South American ceviche and having a crazy conversation about science and stromatolites with a stranger I had just met.

I am going to miss this place.

South America was crazy. It was beautiful. It was wild. I adored its pristine wildernesses and survived its filthy cities. I met the nicest people in the world. And creeps, assholes, and violent thugs. But mostly the nicest people in the world.

I am returning home with a significantly lighter backpack than when I arrived, but with a fuller heart, a stronger self, a richer life story, and a lot of new friends.

What an adventure!

I am sad to leave, sad to close this chapter of my life. I am going to miss this place, and miss the people, miss their warmth and vivacity and passion and kindness, going to miss the conversations with people with perspectives often so different from my own. I'm going to miss the music and the dancing. I'm going to miss the wine. I'm going to miss the mountains.

But with every closed chapter comes bright and shiny new pages in the book of life. I don’t know yet what is next for me. For the immediate future, there will be lots of science, spending time with some of my favorite people in the world, and traveling around the West Coast in my beloved Tomatomobile while living out of my car, which isn't too different from what I've been doing around Chile, Argentina, and Peru this year. But after that?

One thing is certain: the adventure doesn't end with this flight I’m taking home.

Thank you all for joining me on this trip, it's been incredible.

See you around!

I loved South America Thiiiiiiiis Much!

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