Santiago de Chile
My second trip to Santiago in two years proved to be one where I reconnected with old friends, shared various laughs, ate good food, drank excellent wine and explored the city at length.
During my first night, I was reacquainted with my old friends who I hadn’t seen since my last trip to a hostel, the ever-friendly bed bugs. Like a college girlfriend, they wanted to spoon all night and that they did in Hostel Forrestal. But in an ungentlemanly like fashion, I felt their burrowing tactic coming and met it at the pass and climbed to the top of the covers along with the blanket that I was borrowing from LAN airlines.
From there it was smooth sailing as I got to hike up and see Cerro San Cristobal and its amazing view, the home of famous poet Pablo Neruda, Santa Lucia, as well as various museums and monuments. Unlike my last trip to Chile where I was hiking in the Patagonia and exploring the port towns near Cape Horn, I spent the most part of three days walking around the city, listening to its sounds, and meeting random people.
What is evident about Santiago is that it is a city full of love as the local parks are filled with couples, both young and old, holding hands, lying together, and sharing ice crème (which is the best I’ve ever tasted).
Santiago reminded me of New York City in the spring as it was buzzing with energy and enthusiasm, but it also reminded me why I was traveling.
It hit me when I was sitting at a café with a slice of cheesecake that was covered with strawberry topping. While I was enjoying, quite possibly the best piece of cheesecake I’ve ever tasted (sorry Mom), and people watching I thought back to some of the very interesting individuals I’ve come across on the road.
Young and old, stunning and awkward, most of the people I have met traveling are generally happy in life and to be happy and at their very best; they trust their instincts and intuition.
Thus, a certain confidence comes over them, a knowing that everything will work out on their adventure. What follows that concept is incredible as they think anything is possible and everything that they want to happen in life is not only attracted to them, it screams at them from all circles of existence without an ounce of fear.
That approach is strikingly similar to the one Pete Carroll uses on his players at USC. It is his goal to get his players to reach a level where they are so confident in their ability that they begin to develop a sense of knowing that they will succeed. That they reach a level of comfort and confidence that they play without hesitation, without inhibition, without fear. When they reach that level, all their dreams have a great chance to become actualized.
Therefore, when a traveler or a 5-star athlete reaches that mental state they not only earn the right to live or play in the absence of fear, but it is also when they Win Forever.
So on a bench in a café in Santiago I realized that I was traveling because I too, was living with a knowing that this was where I was supposed to be and learning about the language of the world was where I would live freely.
Off to Easter Island!