Words and photography by Sera Barbieri
When you find yourself in a region where January is summertime and eighteen hour days are the norm, the possibilities of exploration are endless. 7,397 miles, twenty-two hours, three planes, and one shuttle bus later, Torres Del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile was the destination—one hemisphere and a flip-flopped season away from home. In the everyday hustle and bustle of life, hopping between two different big-city lives, with busy days constantly knocking—or banging—on my door, an occasional escape from the ordinary is more than necessary. Placed directly in the midst of sprawling mountain ranges, lakes, rivers, and the second largest glacier in the world, how could five days ever be enough time to see it all? Short answer: it wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t capitalize on every possible second.
Six a.m. wakeup calls were worth the bleary-eyed struggle when I knew what awaited me: horseback riding, hiking, walking, journeying through rugged landscapes. Climbing up, up, up to a summit with a weather system all its own. Getting so close to the Grey Glacier that I could feel the temperature drop ten, twenty degrees. Crossing prairies and rivers on horseback, encompassed by three hundred sixty degree views of the 2,400 square kilometer expanse… Exhaustion was persistent, but adrenaline morphed it into an afterthought.
Bombarded by the myriad of blues and greens, and the occasional wildflower peeking through, the Patagonian winds strong enough to blow you away like a piece of paper only enhanced the beauty of the rustling grasses and whitecap-filled waters. It was difficult to take a step back from the shutter and lens and actually take in the views with my own two eyes. Creating lasting images beyond the collection of photographs attained, being at peace without the constant pull and nag of technology, is somewhat of a novel concept. Lets face it, it’s not too hard when these scenes were my backyard for the time being.
I have discovered that the greatest solace is found in the most unexpected of places—the destinations most remote and removed, without Wifi or cell service, that cause us to fully live without the distractions of our established lives that continue marching on however many miles away. Take a break, take a drive, maybe even fly to another hemisphere—it will be fully worth your time.