After a day of working from bus stations and coffee shops, I finally arrived in Concepcion, Chile at 11:30 pm. All I wanted to do was shower and sleep, but the thrill of the adventures abroad continued to drive me forward seeking the next boundary. I knew Concepcion wasn’t a common destination, but that didn’t stop me from connecting with people, experiencing local culture and taking a few unforeseen risks.
I came to Concepcion to meet climbers, with hopes of finding a local partner and getting a few days at a crag, but since the climbing gym was closed for the weekend and the climbing group was fairly inactive I decided biking to the regional coastal park was a great alternative. So off I went – 44km on a heavy white-walled city cruiser. I had limited expectations, biking along the highway and onto dirt roads to the park. I was aiming for a small cluster of buildings on the coast where apparently amazing local seafood could be found, but after several wrong turns I ended up on a rocky windswept beach.
Fishing rods 20ft tall lined the beach as fisherman cast out into the open Pacific. After wondering the shoreline watching these fishermen execute their craft, I was approached by a local group of young fishermen. It was apparent I wasn’t local, so they insisted a joined them to enjoy their daily catch. They wanted me to experience their local culture fully. As many people know, I refrain from eating animal protein is nearly all circumstances, but the one exception I’ll always make is in cultural experiences where I meet the person who caught the animal. In this circumstance, the fishermen were preparing fresh vegetables, making fresh empanada flour, and filleting the fish right on the beach. Passing on this opportunity would be daft, so I happily shared the fresh fish empanadas with the locals.
Part 2 of my adventures in Concepcion happened only hours later. Another 12kms down the dirt roads on the heavy cruiser bike and another missed turn I found myself at a Naval base. Do Not Enter – read very clearly on the signs, but a small goat trail hugged the barbed wire fence. So my curious self ventured down where few international travelers had probably ever been. Eventually, the fence broke open and the goat trail crossed under the power lines that followed a dirt road out to the Naval base.
I was in unknown territory, I didn’t know what to expect. If I got caught… what would I say, where would I go. My mind was racing until I caught a glimpse of the rugged coastline. My jaw dropped, and I knew I had to see more. With my heart pounding and my eyes desperately looking for an opportunity to gain a better vantage point of the spectacular cliffside coastline I continued to walk along the steep and dense cliffside. That’s when I saw a tree protruding off the cliff that broke into a small opening. After a quick scramble down the cliffside, I found myself balancing on this tree. At this point anything could have happened, so I pulled out my camera and recorded the video embedded below. The adventures were in full motion.
Lessons I learnt:
- Be Flexible: Don’t reject life experiences because of this or that. Change is something that comes with life, the sooner we learn to embrace change together, the faster our global community will thrive forward together.
- Paths are guidelines: When you see a path in life, don’t just blindly follow it, experience the boundaries of the path and be aware of where that oath may take you. Everyone’s path is unique, yet we all share so much. Let those path’s guide you not define you.