The lessons of Patagonia. W Trek.
Why do people choose to climb the mountains when there are all inclusive beach holidays widely available as a holiday destination?
I had a dream.
A year ago I planned my dream three week trip to south America. The destination: Chile, Patagonia. The icing on the cake, of the three weeks travel, was the 5 day Patagonia trek. The dream of many hikers and trekkers. Stunning views of the 8th natural wonder of the world. Torres del Paine.
I had a Dream. I planned the journey. I booked the ticket. Very easy. I had been planning my journey for almost a year. Making my bookings, reading the travel blogs, admiring stunning pictures of Patagonia. It was all planned. Before I made my way, I knew the journey plan and I knew the distances. The whole trek was prepared to the letter.
I was on the trip with my sister. On the first day of the trek we got up at 6am to make our way to the trek staring point.
On our first day, ahead of us was an approximately 6 hour hike . The trek started easy, on flat terrain. After around 20 minutes of the power-excitement walk I started feeling the heavy backpack, I felt every stone under my feet, and I saw the grey rain clouds coming our way. My back started hurting badly, my excitement was gone, and it started pouring.
My dream trek did not seem like the perfect trip once I had imagined. On the amazing google pictures and ALL THE travel blogs it SEEMED that:
the weather is always perfect,
that the wind doesn’t exist and
the backpacks needed for 5 days trek are as light as a feather.
I took my backpack off. I sat down on the wet ground and I said “I am not sure if I can do it”. I don’t have the energy, I am not fit enough for this trek, and it’s too cold and I have no thermos with a hot coffee. And! there was no starbucks on my way.
I slowly got up off the wet ground- as I saw my sister walking ahead of me, and started dragging myself heavily through the path. I started complaining, talking out loud “I had no idea that it would be so difficult”.. and so on.
My sister was not going to have it at all. It was also her dream, and she was not giving it up. She simply said:
If you don’t want to walk, you can still turn back. It’s still early on the path, but once we get to the 1st camp- there is no way back. It’s just 80km of mountains ahead of us.
I knew it was not London… and there was no tube to jump on if the walk was too tiring.
She asked me the question:
DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK?
If you are going to complain like this for the next 5 days… maybe you better go back….
She knew me well.
Hearing this, the voice in my head said: this is your dream… no one said it would be easy… it was just your imagination making you dream that it would be an easy path. In reality, it is one heavy step at a time…
I made my decision that I was not giving it up.
I corrected the backpack shoulder straps, drank half a litre of water to make the backpack lighter and I put on the rain proof hat.
Instead of paying attention to the rain on my face, I started admiring the lakes the stunning nature which had brought me from the city of London to stunning Patagonia.
I was not giving it all up.
With that decision, I started enjoying the journey.
It did not get any easier. On the contrary the path started getting more rocky, the wind continued, and the flat path became a rocky hill. With the decision made, my brain admired the nature and forgot about all the effort my legs were making. The rain continued. So did I.
On the last day, the rain woke me up- the tent was all wet, all my clothes were smelling like hell. We got up and made the last part of the trek. The trek to the famous Torres Towers. Through the rain. We made it. On our way back, we were smelly and tired BUT had the biggest happy smiles possible.
My lessons of Patagonia are as follows:
Have a dream. But don’t expect this an easy path.
It’s only easy once it’s done.
The most challenging paths are those we treasure the most.
So keep dreaming, keep walking, the smiles will come!