After three days in Valparaíso, I packed again to travel back to Santiago.
On the last night, after picking up the best pollo-queso empanada ever from the corner store (they baked one just for me after I praised the food I had grabbed the day before!), after a long and interesting chat with the artist whom I was renting the room from, and after wondering how the hell I was going to find a taxi on top of a quiet cerro on a Sunday morning, I briefly considered coming back to Valparaíso the following week.
Valpo isn’t a place where I’d spend a lot of time—too chilly, too grungy, too inconvenient and too expensive overall. Yet there were still barrios and cerros I wanted to explore as a traveller with a camera.
Then I sighed, slightly annoyed with myself.
It’s almost the end of the trip, yet I can’t stay put, not even in my beloved Santiago. I can’t explain it. I just like taking buses, trains, planes, I like packing and starting over every few days, I like discovering new cities, new apartments, new neighbourhoods and maybe, just maybe, experience interesting, puzzling, funny moments along the way.
Every time I go from one place to another, I feel like I’m hurling myself out into thin air. Taking a leap of faith out of whatever comfort zone you created into the unknown is scary but terribly addictive.
Imagine having no idea where you will sleep, what you will eat, where you will go and what you will see.
Of course, everything could go terribly wrong.
I guess I’m an optimist at heart, because I tend to hope for the best.
That said, the logistics of travelling can get overwhelming. Finding accommodation, getting up early to catch a bus, packing, withdrawing money, wasting time going from one city to another, taking risks and getting lost, wondering why on earth you’ve just left the last perfectly fine place you ended up in, sleeping too little and walking too much and for fuck’s sake, how does the shower work in this apartment and why doesn’t the microwave just heat food as it’s supposed to…
Backpacking isn’t a holiday, it’s a full-time job.
But it’s exciting.
Tiring, yet exciting.
I couldn’t find an affordable place in Valpo for that trip that may or may not happen whenever the following week, so I went to bed and focused on going back to Santiago.
Turned out that I wasn’t the only one travelling back to the capital—summer holidays were officially over, a new school year was starting and everyone was coming back from holidays.
On Sunday, supermarkets were packed with parents desperately buying notebooks, pens and other supplies.
On Monday, the city was full of neatly dressed students hanging out in front of schools and grungy looking teens smoking in front of Santiago’s many universities. Do any of them actually spend time inside a centre of learning? Just wondering, because no matter what time it is, I keep on seeing students in uniform chilling out in parks and fast food all over the city…
Meanwhile, I resumed exploring Santiago. I discovered Barrio Italia and its many independent shops, the giant Persa Bío Bío market covering several blocks and I climbed Cerro Santa Lucía just for fun a bunch of times.