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Hiking to Inacayal

Sombrio Beach. Vancouver Island, Canada.

A year ago I was on a beach on Vancouver Island camping and surfing with friends. Today I’m in a hostel in Argentina, lying in a bed, listening to the rain. It’s been raining basically since I got here. I love it. It hasn’t stopped me from going outside. In fact, it’s made ventures outside more fulfilling, because you feel like you’ve got a one up on people. When most people are inside next to a fire or drinking hot chocolate, lamenting how the rain has made it impossible to go outside, you’re somewhere trekking through the mountains. And then you come home and have your hot chocolate.

The trail up to the Inacayal waterfall.

I don’t see myself staying in South America much longer. At the same time, I could stay longer. I could stay a month longer. I could stay two months longer. I could stay a year longer. But I’ll be surprised, frankly, if I stay more than a couple weeks longer. My plan is stay in Villa La Angostura until Friday, then hitchhike or take a bus to Chile, then stay a few days to a week on the Grand Island of Chiloe with my friends Marcela and Pablo at their beautiful farm, eating fresh-baked bread and drinking mate and writing in my cabin, and then head north. Why would I be in the Southern Hemisphere for the solstice if I don’t have to? If I can get a relatively cheap flight up north?

Bus station. San Martin de los Andes, Argentina.

At the hostel I’m staying at there’s no one else in my room. This is probably the reason I’m entertaining the idea of staying here till Friday. If someone came and I didn’t like them I’d probably leave. An Argentinian girl came the day after me. She’s upstairs eating breakfast right now and I can hear her phone freaking out when she gets messages. It’s driving me insane. It’s what woke me up this morning. First her messages and then she got in the shower with the radio on full blast. I went back and forth on whether or not to say something, but opted against it. So I lost an hour of sleep? I can always take a nap later today. She leaves in less than hour. No sense souring an otherwise good relationship over something so trivial, even though right now, I must admit, it would give me immense pleasure to walk upstairs, pluck her phone off the table, and stomp it to smithereens under my boot.

Mate. Waterfall. Happiness.

Yesterday I bought book one of My Struggle in Spanish. I’ve read book two in Spanish, and book five three times in English, but never book one in Spanish. I wouldn’t have bought it if the woman working at the bookstore hadn’t told me she’d read all his books. And that her family had. I basically bought it out of solidarity, and because I like the cover. The cover shows him smoking a cigarette next to a lake, probably in Norway or Sweden. It looks like it could’ve been taken here, or in Washington State. I also like it because he looks younger than he does now, even though he still has gray hair. There’s an innocence about him the photo, probably taken before the hype of My Struggle had completely hit. I wonder if he asks himself everyday if this, this fame, is what he really wanted.

Is it time to go upstairs and have the first mate of the day? Go for a walk? I teach English at 12pm and there’s basically nothing I’d less rather do. But it’ll give me a sense of satisfaction. And that’s why we work. To feel productive. To feel that sense of satisfaction. You’re not allowed to experience it otherwise.


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