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Dreaming & Discovering

Bridget Connelly

“You don’t choose the day you enter the world and you don’t choose the day you leave. It’s what you do in between that makes all the difference.” – Anita Septimus

The next few days were spent leisurely strolling around the historic town of Punta Arneas. Not knowing what the time was, eating and drinking whenever we felt like it or saw a spot that we had to take another siesta at. Or find some wifi. People there move slower, live more presently and truly engage with one another. Not that I always knew what they were talking about, but I could see from their hand motions, interactions, and body language that people were really living with one another. Something that is increasingly rare in a media-obsessed environment. We took in every ounce of the city we could absorb, never had a bad meal, and never met a wine we didn't like. 

The third day was a delight. We picked up the legendary, graceful, and ever inspiring Barb Jenkins. Then began our road trip North first stopping to play with mini penguins and then picked up the final member of the trip, our friend Sophia. The team was now complete. From there we made our way up to the town of Puerto Natales. A place that I will never be able to describe, in words, of it’s full beauty.

The best part of this village, was our cute little house we stayed in for the week— Borie's House. It was settled on the tip of the water, among pastures, surrounded by Torres Del Paine, Ice Blue glaciers, and statuesque horses in every direction we looked. True peace lies in that part of Chile. People are raised from the land, protect and nurture their natural surrounding and our damn proud to be Chilean.

After pulling into our adorable little house, we dropped off our belongings and immediately started running around the land mentally trying to capture as much as possible. In the living room, the fire was roaring, the horses were galloping past the windows, and outside the water was thrashing between the land and mountains. A place like this was something we had only dreamed of. After we settled down a bit, the owner informed us that we needed to eat at The Singular-  a place we quickly became regulars at.

We left Borie’s House walked through old abandoned, yet beautiful barns, strolled alongside horses, and then took an elevator down the hillside to make it into the Singular Resturant. At the turn of the twentieth century, this old farm building was the biggest sheep operation in the world, sending wool all across the world. Now the old rustic brick building has been converted into a boutique, industrial, luxury hotel and restaurant. It still displays century old machines. You can feel the history there and it is powerful. The restaurant's floor to ceiling windows allowed us to eat, dream and breathe in every ounce of our impressive backdrop, which was almost constantly illuminated by the rich blue sky. Perfect for us to take in as much as possible every day. We had officially peaked— it was a sensory overload. 

The next few days in Puerto Natales, were spent getting to know each other more intimately. Having conversations until we could no longer keep our eyes open, disconnecting from the world, and really being present in the untouched, natural, perfection surrounding us. We spent a full day out boating — observing penguins, condors, hundreds of waterfalls, hiking to Ice Blue Glaciers, drinking glacier-ice whiskey, dreaming of big life plans and finishing it off with a delicious meal. What a glorious day it was.  

Estancia Laguna Sofia was the next stop on on our unforgettable journey. Honestly, the view alone of the Lagoon, encircled by mountains peaks and plateaus, would have fulfilled all of my expectations. But we still had horseback riding to do. A skill I do not posses — ha! I pictured us riding in circles for 30 minutes maybe an hour and calling it a day. Not so our gaucho man pointed to the highest peak in the distance and informed us, we would be riding our horses there. Well damn. He gave me the "lame” horse —in hopes this would ease my fears. But my horse simply had a mind of his own. There were two speeds for him, sprinting at 60 mph or not moving one inch, while all the horses would fly on past me. Me and Jacinto, my good ole horse, had many the conversations, many fights and many, what felt like, near death experiences! I was so caught up in my fear of being thrown from the cliff, I didn't even realize God’s creations blowing everyone's mind around me.

As we reached the top, I could not catch my breath. Not only was I completely awe struck, but there were also 100mph winds that were actually, insane. It made for quite the hilarious, spectacular and terrifying experience. Sophia, Jed and I stood at the top of the cliff in pure amazement of this beautiful world. As we were pinching ourselves in utter disbelief of our surroundings, 14 condors came flying by. They put on quite the show for everyone. They dove in close to us, letting us view them in all their glory. I felt such intense joy from this moment, but simulatenously could feel the hurting in my heart, missing my cousin Pat. He would have enjoyed this story, these moments and the pictures to come so much, but I knew he was completely with me. Life is such a wild journey — full of heart bursting highs and heart wrenching lows. But it's in all those moments, I try to be thankful for every single part of it, especially now.

I think back at this time and Hellen Keller's quote, “ What we have once enjoyed, we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” No matter where I go in life, what I experience, I will remember that which I once enjoyed, loved and I no longer have  I will know that I actually in fact, have not lost it. Because I have loved and felt pain, it makes up who I am now and I am stronger because of it. I was then and am now exactly where I am supposed to be. I will never forget that moment.

In the few days we had been there we had been pushed outside our comfort zones, saw things from different perspectives and formed even deeper connections with one another. That's the thing about travel it pushes and molds you in all the right ways. Everything had exceeded our wildest imaginations, but we still had the other-worldy Torres Del Paine to explore and hike, and boy were we in for a REAL treat…