SOUTH AMERICA 2009: In a word . . .

Well, the physical journey, and now the writing about it, has come to an end. But, I feel like I want to cap the story in some way, as much as a closure for me as anything. And so I leave you with a word that sums up the trip for me: alucinante. It means incredible, but in a magical, brilliant, almost hallucinatory way - extraordinary.

Magical, like the series of overwhelmingly fortuitous circumstances and occurrences that led me to the summit of Aconcagua to ski it in the most perfect snow imaginable with two truly wonderful Aspen boys, sweetened even more by truly wonderful people met all over the mountain.
Brilliant, like the warm smile of Marcos at the Refugio San Bernardo and Raquel & Paola in the Buenos Aires boutique. My Argentine father whose confidence and kind words inspired me, filled my heart, made me laugh, and moved me forward with a super positive outlook . . . and my Argentine mothers who replaced my groundlessness with love and connection and sent me on my way with the good luck charm that I carried to the summit :-)

Hallucinatory in that the whole 7 weeks is amost like a dream . . . the time in Chile feels like forever ago, and yet it was less than 3 months. I feel like this trip has been remarkable in that it felt like a true journey. It was a voyage of self discovery, an exploration of new corners in the Andes, a chance to strengthen old friendships with the feeling that not a day has past despite the fact that years have past, and a plethora of new friends both in the mountain and in the city who have forever changed my life and made it a much richer place to be.

There were challenges that have given me plenty to think about and grow from, solo time to let it sink in and to dream, serious suspension of disbelief and amazing rewards for doing so, risk taking and risk management, incredibly fulfilling human interactions, great practice speaking spanish, laughs, and tears.
It was wonderful, challenging, insightful, rewarding, exhausting, hilarious, and overall a truly extraordinary adventure . . . un camino alucinante.