Oh The Mountains, Oh The Gratitude a.k.a. The Andes Effect

“Earth, well done!” – I thought, with lots of pride as a human being, as I was mercilessly depleting the battery of my phone, taking hundreds of pictures through the plane window. I very rarely book a window seat (being able to go to the bathroom without bothering anyone is always a practical priority), but this time I had thought about this, I had been rather strategic with my thinking.

You see, I was crossing the Andes on my way to Santiago.

I must say, I do travel (or, as I like to say, “I move from place to place”) quite often, but mountains are still a wonder to me. It’s something I see very rarely in life, and it’s something I’m easily mesmerized by. There are pretty impressive hills in the state of São Paulo, really not that far away from the city, but the Andes… These are REAL mountains (meaning: with snow), not some slightly uneven terrain.

A slightly uneven terrain: that was what I started photographing as soon as I saw it through my plane window. Two minutes and an embarrassing amount of photos later, I turned my head to the side and…started deleting the photos I had just taken. A seemingly endless mountain range, way more impressive, was still coming. I rested my camera just to use it, non-stop, some minutes later again.


And then, all my nonsensical comments aside, a huge wave of gratitude hit me.

Seeing something as iconic as the Andes suddenly brought me back to fifteen years ago. I’m at school (a good student with social skills still in development, of course…) , I’m in my geography class, reading about all those fascinating places I could only secretly hope I could visit one day. Ah, the Mekong, Petra, the Taj Mahal, of course, the skyscrapers of North America, the beaches of Rio, some breathtaking waterfalls, the Andes…

I wouldn’t have ever dared to imagine.

And it’s still very difficult to believe.


But so fifteen years later, I was on that Buenos Aires – Santiago flight, about to meet my lovely CS hosts and have one beautiful long weekend with them. Ah, I’ve been staying in hostels and travelling for work for so long that a trip just for myself, exactly as I would plan it, was very much needed. My super sweet (no adjective is strong enough to describe them!) hosts made me feel as if I was visiting old friends, which is another thing you can only secretly hope for when you’re travelling.

The wave of gratitude that hit me on that plane continued throughout my trip. Ideally, I wouldn’t need to fly over some magnificent mountain range to feel it, but it definitely helped.

Also, Chile was just too beautiful! I’ve noticed my blog, for several years now, has been more “this is what I’ve been thinking recently” and less “my trip to X place and some stories that I naively hope might be interesting to share”, but, who knows, maybe I’ll write one entry on Santiago and Valparaíso. Writing does bring that gratitude back, that’s for sure.

(“Awww, is that why you’re blogging?” “Well, that and to show off a bit, of course…”)



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