Off to Patagonia

So after a short, eventful night, we are on our way to Punta Arenas. Patagonia here we come!!

Esto, our six year old, took a rather serious tumble from his bunk bed around midnight. It took a while to determine the damage, as he held his right eye, blood dripping onto everything. A nasty tear starting in the right hand corner of his right eye and out towards his cheek clearly needed stitches. Fortunately we came well equipped with steri-strips, so Dr Dad did a fabulous job of “stitching” him up. An hour later we were all back in bed, Esto safely on the floor next to me.

All too soon the alarm went off. Time to pack the last now dry laundry bits in our bags and give our little apartment a quick clean. Boiled eggs and buttered bread in hand, we descended the sixteen floors to where Mr Uber loaded us into his little car and safely drove us to the airport. Much more relaxing than our taxi ride in.

By now I think we realise that every airport will entail standing in long lines for a very long time. It amazes me how accepting people seem to be of this. Such incredible patience. I was not gifted with this grace, so I have to exert all my willpower to stay calm and friendly.

Window seats for flying out of Santiago is a must! The city is surrounded by mountains. Add to that a glorious sunrise and you’re set for picture perfection. Left hand side window seats provide one with a breathtakingly beautiful view of snow capped mountains and glacier lakes.

– Mariza –


Santiago – Day 3

The six of us went for our first run in Chile this morning. Back home our neighbours have grown used to seeing us huffing and puffing up and down those torturous hills every morning. Here in Santiago, however, we were an unusual sight, running through the city streets in single file. We must be the only blue eyed, blonde haired people in the entire city. Locals stared at us, as we stampeded past them with an “Hola!” x6.

It is incredible how many times a day we are confronted with the choice between shaking our heads and giggling or a complete and utter meltdown. So many emotions as we experience the contradiction and reality of life in a third world country. Breakfast this morning just about resulted in the latter for our thirteen year old, as she discovered the best she was going to get with a badly damaged, very dirty pan without a handle or lid, was scrambled eggs. They weren’t going down sunny side up, anyway! Jarik and I chuckle as we constantly realise how spoilt our kids are and how much of an education the next eight months will be for them. Bring on the challenges!!

On a sunny day in an interesting city, exploring is key. If, however, you’ll be landing in freezing conditions the very next day, finding thermals might be of greater importance. So the six of us hopped on a local bus to the biggest and grandest shopping centre in the city. Two busses and a significant walk later, we find ourselves in the centre of the modern first world.

A bit disappointing, I have to admit. It looks like any modern, grandiose shopping centre in any first world country anywhere in the world. It dawned on me that one can actually travel around the globe and only ever find yourself in similar circumstances to your own. There are glamorous hotels and flashy shops in every country. But what a deception! The real heartbeat of a nation can only be felt and heard in and among the “normal” people, in a very real, often not so glamorous environment, where everyday life is celebrated and suffered by the majority of the population.

Santiago has its super modern and affluent areas and its slums. I prefer the latter where catching the eye of a complete stranger results in a precious exchange. May we have eyes to see and hearts to embrace and appreciate the great beauty in the people all around us.

Tomorrow morning, before the crack of dawn, we shall move on to Punta Arenas, down in the southern most tip of Chile. I cannot wait!!

– Mariza –

Santiago de Chile

Day 1 – Santiago Central

We landed in Santiago before dawn and spent a long two hours in the immigration line. It was just after daybreak by the time we haggled a taxi driver down to the price of the bus fare for the six of us, to drive us into the city (sunrise is only at 7:45am) – we were determined to keep within our shoestring budget from the get go!

Not knowing where to go (we really did not have any time to research or plan our time in Santiago), we asked the taxi driver to drop us in the city centre. He suggested the Central Market, and that is where we started our day of exploring the sights of the city.

The old city centre is a bustling place, even early in the morning. Street vendors sell freshly squeezed fruit juices (we saw a few quickly pack up when the authorities arrived), stall owners pack out their wares and commuters fill the walkways. The city is dotted with stand-up coffee bars where tightly clad ladies serve the morning stimulant to their customers. Ours were served with glass of sparkling water on the side.

A marching band was cause of great excitement as we seemed to be just at the right place at the right time for a parade and ceremonial military drill. We explored the tree lined pedestrian malls and ended up having fresh “marguetta’s” for lunch in the Plaza del Armas – a beautiful city square.

After carrying our backpacks through the streets lined with ornate historical buildings for seven hours, we could finally check in at our airbnb apartment. By this time we have started to seriously reconsider the content of our backpacks! We were ready to crash and sleep for a week.  Although the apartment was not the best that we’ve been in, it was on the 16th floor of 26 – and from that position we could hear the whole building echo with the cheer of passionate fans living the Chile vs. Argentina football match! What an experience. Sadly Chile was not the victor.

Day 2 – Barrio Yungay


We decided to venture off the beaten tourist circuit and explored Santiago’s Barrio Yungay. We were the only visible tourists in the area during the five hours that we explored the borough. The area is an eclectic mix of dilapidated buildings, street art and surprisingly artistic cafes and eateries. We stumbled across a lively local street market packed with oversized fruit and vegetables. The colour and contrasts make this a charming area. Behind some of the tattered façades are unexpectedly beautiful interiors. People are very friendly and welcoming. We also had our first taste of Chilean empenadas – the local version of a good pie.

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Being used to travel with a number of large, bulky bags (think up to 12 large suitcases between the six of us), getting what we thought we needed into 30l backpacks was going to be a challenge. Add in the electronics for schooling and the all-weather clothes we require for Patagonia, and the 30l packs became a very tight squeeze.

Each of us is carrying the following items:

  • water bottle
  • microfiber travel towel
  • eating utensils and plastic containers
  • headlamp
  • insect repellent
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • 1 x long hiking pants
  • 2 x shorts
  • 3 x t-shirts
  • socks and underwear for a week
  • running shoes
  • thongs
  • lightweight jumper
  • weatherproof jacket
  • general toiletries
  • medication
  • earphones
  • swimmers
  • hat / cap
  • sarong

And between us we are also carrying:

  • 18 passports!
  • other travel documents and copies of documents
  • 2 x ipads
  • laptop
  • 2 x kobo/kidles
  • 2 x mobile phones
  • chargers, adaptor plugs and cables
  • 2 x poncho’s
  • padlock and cable
  • inflatable pillow
  • inflatable foot rest
  • mutlitool
  • first aid kit
  • speaker

Total weight = 48kg (not evenly distributed!)

Let’s see what we have in our packs when we get back….


On our way!

It is finally time for us to take the first step in our crazy adventure to travel around the world over the next eight months.

After weeks of hard work and preparation to finish the extensions to our house and setting it up as an airbnb, we finally got everything packed into our backpacks for the big trip. We would have loved to give what we packed more thought, but as we ran out of time, we basically just stuffed what we thought we’d need into the small packs in the early hours of the morning before we left!

We were exhausted from the hard work and lack of sleep in the days leading up to our departure. We made it to the airport with hours to spare – a lesson we learnt from our recent trip to South Africa. Then however, the wait began…our first flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles was delayed with more than 5 hours! We were forced to just slow down…….and wait. Having access to one of the airline lounges was fantastic and made relaxing easy. Stop – breathe in – exhale.

We are really on our way!






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