Let’s face it, I’m not just living in a new country, but also a new continent, which brings with it a variety of different places, people and culture, and fantastic opportunities to explore.
It’s not like I’m on the move all the time like last time I visited South America and covered 7 countries in five months. I work and have some form of daily/weekly routine that keeps me in Santiago most of the time.
But living here allows me to get out from time to time, and get to know places that would be s o f a r away if I was still in Australia.
I have managed to see a little more of Chile, flying up to San Pedro de Atacama when a friend visited, taking a road trip up the coast and into Valle de Elqui with another visiting friend, and another road trip south as far as Valle de Maule with another friend. These latter two trips obviously incorporated some wine and, indeed, my interest in that field has also led me to explore, in depth, many of the wine regions around Santiago.
I saw a lot of the rest of Chile when I was here last time, but I’m sure the opportunity will come up at some stage to revisit more of this beautiful country.
But there is, of course, also opportunity to get out to see a little more of the continent.
Last August, I took a truly-foodie trip to Lima with fellow-foodie-friend Fernando and, in addition to seeing some of the city’s sites, experienced the great range of Peruvian food, from the street, to China Town, to the city’s top two restaurants. Although I would have liked to have seen the sun sometimes (Lima is notoriously cloudy), the trip was delicious, fun, and worth the extra 5 kilos!
Over New Year, it was great to be able to take a friend up on a very kind invitation to spend some time on his country property in Uruguay. After finding some reasonably priced flights, a group of four friends enjoyed a relaxing time together, sharing home cooked meals and exploring the coastline and surrounding areas. Those of us who were visiting, albeit for a second or third time, got to know a different part of country and enjoy seeing it through the eyes of someone that had lived there for 10 years and knows it very well.
When a Buenos Aires-based friend managed to get a free apartment for a week in Mendoza, I was able to find a very reasonable flight (US$140 return – cheaper and quicker than the bus) and join her and another friend for a girly week of wineries and restaurants. With the exchange rate very much in our favour, it turned out to be an indulgent week with a relatively cheap price tag.
So, I’ve managed to get to know some places a little better and it’s great to be able to jump at these opportunities, which would be so far from reality back home, when they arise.
This year, I plan to see some places that I’ve never been before, both of Chile (e.g. Easter Island), and abroad, like Colombia.
Although flights here are not cheap compared to Europe or the US, where competition is more intense, good offers come around and I will be keeping my eye on them to see what other opportunities present themselves.
So, I don’t just love living in Chile, I love living and experiencing all that a whole new continent has to offer!