Puerto Montt, Chile

This leg of the journey started with an overpriced night bus because local scalpers had bought all the tickets for the Chilean holiday that shoulders Halloween. It was one of those moments you inevitably face when you’re traveling with little to no structure. But once I arrived in Puerto Montt I was home for the week… so I thought. Turns out Google pulled the wrong bed and breakfast address from my emails and lead me astray. Yup, that’s possible… see the photo below. So after blindly following Google for a night and staying at the wrong accommodation I finally arrived at my proper home, 2 days late.

But life goes on, I spent that evening speaking broken Spanish with my Air BnB host, using the translator when necessary which failed occasionally trying to translate Chilean Spanish. To say the least, Google wasn’t doing me much good in Patagonia. So after sparking the pilot light on the hot water tank to enjoy a warm morning shower, I took off and spent the first day hiking in Petrohue. It was cloudy, and pretty much nothing was visible. No Bueno.

It was shoulder season, so timing the hikes in parks was important. The next day I set off for an unmarked adventure out to Lagos Cabo. 2 hours in a small public bus on dirt roads lead me to the lake. As the bus pulled up to the lake, I was the only one on the bus. I got up, eager to check out the area as the bus driver asked: “Are you lost?”. I said, “Maybe, but who cares!” I knew the bus driver would be returning later that afternoon so I decided to explore the lake. At first sight, there wasn’t much, just some open fields, cattle, and beautiful private estates. So I ventured down the shoreline admiring the scenery and tranquility of the space. As the weather started to turn, my mind began to race. I could see the downpour coming and still had hours before the bus returned. I had two options; go back or go forward.

I went forwards, hoping I’d find an area to hide from the weather. About an hour later, soaking wet and completely demoralized I saw a cabin on the shoreline. From a distance, it looked abandoned and unprotected. So I ventured over towards the structure, removed the barricades blocking the door and enter this old fisherman’s cabin. To my delight, there was a wood burning stove, some old matches, a candle, and some wood. After several attempts to spark a match, I finally succeed to light the candle. From there I built a fire in the stove, enjoyed a warm lunch, and waiting for the storm to pass. The rain halted and I slowly made my way back to the bus stop. My thoughts continuously drifted, wondering what I would have done without the cabin, wondering how lucky I am, pondering the entire experience. That night I arrived back in Puerto Montt, enjoy a simple dinner and went to sleep.

A few days later, after many long days of work and rest, the weather improved. The blue sky broke for the first time and the doors to Patagonia opened. I woke up at 5 am and headed back towards Petrohue. This time it was sunny, and pretty much everything was visible. Buenisimo. The beauty of Patagonia had my head spinning. Vast, silent, and majestic. Halfway through the hike I stopped, took off my shoes, and glasses. The present moment was vibrating my soul, it felt like a rainbow of joy was pouring over every breathe. I sat there trying to engrain the memory into my mind. Blissfully smiling, the experience still baffles me. 22km later I arrived back in Puerto Montt at 3 pm ready to work late into the evening, inspired to adventure further than ever before.

Lessons Learnt:

  • You don’t always travel to see the cities… especially in Chile.
  • Shared room Air Bnb’s let you learn about local culture, speak the local language and connect with people.
  • Life is an adventure.

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