These two entries come after a long period of travel in an attempt to reach the west coast of Chile. Laura first:
Dusty clothes, sandpaper throat, gritty eyes. Thirsty. Sun-induced headache, hurts to move. Thirsty. Listless torpor punctuated only by brief spells of action as we drag ourselves up to flag down the infrequent vehicles. Heavy heart as another car speeds by, scattering us with stones and leaving billowing clouds of dust behind for us to inhale.
Suddenly, heart stops. Car slows. Window rolls down. Stilted exchange in broken Spanish, we nod excitedly, jump into action, grab our bags, jump in, door slams and away. The hours of waiting may never have happened and as we speed to our next destination, we quickly forget the oppressive ennui of the last hours.
Time on the Carretera Austral is fluid – hours of waiting drag by, whereas time on a vehicle is compressed to an instant.
My entry from earlier that day:
The trip is underway but it is yet to begin.
We have waited for what feels like a long time for this – the need for an escape building inside – and in some ways we are waiting still.
We left home almost four days ago. We have taken three planes, two buses, a car, a hike and a hitch-hike through three different countries to get this far but we are yet to reach the start line.
We are poised to begin. We have been ready for weeks and we have been set since the moment we first packed our bags. We just wait for someone to shout go.
We stayed last night at a local guy’s cabin. He let us pitch in his garden, use his bathroom and stove, even picked fresh lettuce for us. This is the kind of experience you crave back home and the opportunity you dream of halfway through a trip.
In part because we were anxious to keep moving, it was hard to fully embrace. It felt as though this were a superfluous aside, almost a distraction. “Sorry, we can’t enjoy this experience because we’re waiting to start a trip where we can get new experiences”.
It’s not unlike that saying: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.