After three months of non-stop travel through Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, I finally find myself unpacking my bags and settling in somewhere for more than 3 or 4 days. It’s a strange feeling, but something I’ve been (admittedly) longing for.
For the next four weeks, I’ll be spending my days as a Workawayer in Chile. Similar to WOOFing, Workaway connects hosts with individuals or couples looking to exchange around 5 hours of work per day, usually 5 days a week, for food and accommodations. The work varies—from teaching English and childcare to hostel reception and physical labour.
For Tim and I, this means a month on an organic vineyard, in a very rural part of Chile’s Central Valley.
Now, I know I’ve been neglecting this space. The truth is that it’s been hard for me to find a writing routine while on the road. Every day has been packed with activities, sightseeing, planning, bus travel, and squeezing in some freelance editing along the way.
Aside from that, I’ve also grown a lot in the past few months, and found myself questioning why I write what I do, why I spend time on certain topics, and what issues are really important to me. These are things I haven’t quite figured out, but I’ve been too scattered and confused to really put them into words.
Why does all of this matter? I suppose it doesn’t really, but it’s all a precursor to this, my plan for the next month.
Instead of sorting through the confusion head on, I’ll dial it back and spend some time just enjoying the process of recording memories again. And, if you took the time to read the title of this post, you already know what this means: open and casual diary-style entries that simply tell the story of my time here.
Perhaps it’s not exciting, perhaps it’s not interesting to anyone aside from future me who might look back on this in a couple of years. But, doesn’t that make it worth it anyway?
Let’s just get on with it.
I’ll admit, I was getting pretty down on this whole thing yesterday.
We were trying and failing to get a SIM card for my phone. How would we reach our host once we arrived? We ended up purchasing the wrong bus tickets, just worsening the issue. It was all starting to feel like more trouble than its worth. I’ll admit, part of me wanted to call it off. I might have, if the commitment had not yet been made.
We headed to the bus station around 11 this morning, realizing soon after that our chosen bus would be headed in the wrong direction—we would completely bypass our destination. Luckily, the bus company handled it all smoothly. A helpful worker accompanied us in getting our refund, and directed the driver to drop us off at a nearby terminal. There, he found us a worker from a different company to get us on the right track.
After a four-hour ride, we were told that our stop was approaching. We got off the bus, grabbed our luggage, and found our hosts waiting for us at the stop. Within 10 minutes, we were in our home for the next month—the guesthouse (caretaker’s house?) of a small vineyard, in a middle-of-nowhere pueblo in central Chile.
That brings me to now. I’ve swept the floors, made my bed, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and unrolled my yoga mat. Things are already starting to feel a bit more homey. The sun is setting and outside my window are green vines, grassy fields with horses, swooping swallows, and playful dogs that follow me around the grounds. The wifi is out and work starts tomorrow morning, but I feel completely at ease. I could definitely get used to this.