The Magic of Travel: Chilean Journeys
I find myself, once again, in South America – Amongst the smell of burning wood stoves, delicious wines, rich Mapuche culture and an opportunity to remember what it is to open the heart to new experiences.
I have no illusions about my luck in this world, that I am presented with the opportunity to live this life wholly and I am not about to waste it.
I have spent the last 2 weeks in the mountain town of Pucon taking in experiences like Puesco Fest – A celebration of whitewater paddling, indigenous culture and in support of Patagonia Sin Represas (Patagonia, Without Dams). I have rediscovered the joy and wonder associated with marrying the physical challenge offered through paddling tough new rivers and the awe/wonder found in enjoying the forests and river banks in between rapid sets.
My struggle as a traveller has been in wanting to feel like I am more than just an onlooker – to find meaning and relevance within a lifestyle of moving from place to place. I feel a deep longing to contribute more, to DO more, and this feels challenging when I find myself in transition so often.
What I am learning – or perhaps relearning – is that the feeling that I need to be constantly DOING might be a bit of a trick. What I mean by this, is that the push I feel to be constantly doing something “important” does not necessarily leave room for the magic and mystery that comes from being open, receptive and in embracing the gifts offered through living in a place of not knowing what might happen next.
There is magic in the places of not knowing and the frustration I feel bubbling up from not being able to settle into a “meaningful” routine gives me pause to reflect on what is meaningful in routine anyway.
Sometimes, I find, that to abandon this push/pull of our culture to contribute something earth shattering and groundbreaking obscures my ability to be open to new things and to expand my way of being in the world – in essence the desire to be always ACTING limits my perspective, where perhaps being patient and receptive makes space for new and inspiring ideas.
I am now getting ready to head to Chaihuin on the Chilean coast for el Simposio de Kayak Pacifico Sur and again I am reminded that paddling itself might offer the same lessons I have described above – which is what draws me to it in the first place. Setting out to sea in its often unpredictable waters, perhaps one of the greatest mysteries to us as terrestrial beings, highlights the need to be open, receptive and to embrace change as it is happening. Both the sea and the act of travelling teaches me to be flexible, to be open to the reality of changing plans. It carries me to places of both immense challenge and surreal beauty – not to mention the beautiful people I get to share this time with.
So I shall continue this method of exploration on the water and through the world in a manner of living this life “sin prisa y sin pausa” (without haste and without pause). The balance I seek does not feel like a struggle between action and inaction, instead it feels like learning to operate as a creative, active being while also being open and receptive enough to let the lessons find me.