a blog launched to laugh at my own expense

Patagonia Travel Tips

On Preparation and Packing:

  1. Before you leave, buy the type of energy bars that have intimidating packaging. You know, the ones that are intended for people who know what cross fit is? Get those. If you are hiking, you get an automatic free pass to eat those 3,000 calorie, protein-packed, overpriced sticks of cardboard without feeling judged.
  2. Check expiration dates on medicine labels before you pack. Your life, or in my case, my cramped up calf muscle, may depended on it. Especially because rubbing a pain reliever that expired 7 years earlier serves no purpose except to metaphorically rub salt in the wound.  
  3. You need to pack upwards of 50 ZipLock bags. To be honest, I had absolutely no system or explanation of my excessive ZipLock bag use. I just know that during my trip... I used ALL of them.  
  4. Know your iceberg history before you lose cell phone reception. My cousin thought it would be funny to convince me that the Titanic hit a Patagonian iceberg which lead to its eventual sinking. Without internet, I was none the wiser.
  5. Pack less athletic friends. Our trek was a private tour for our family and much to my family's chagrin, you can’t pick your family or in this specific case....swap one of them out for a more athletic model. Their disappointment was evident.
  6. Even though Hello Kitty is my favorite animal and glitter is my favorite color, I love to read about international economic policies and journalistic accounts of military history. Hiking is hard enough without trying to read at the same time so, for this reason, I recommend downloading audio books. I also recommend remembering to bring your headphones.

On Chilean Culture:

  1. Befriend the locals. Locals love taking selfies with Americans, especially these kittens, these llamas and this snail I met.

  2. I am not as good at Spanish as I thought, which was evident when my mother and brother (who are both fluent) doubled over laughing any time I tried to order my own meal from a menu. My advice is learn how to say three phrases in the native language of any country you are visiting. They are:
    1. Do you speak English?
    2. What is the wifi password?
    3. Does this bar accept American Express?

On Fashion:

  1. Backpacking gear, which I now refer to as the nano-puff fat suit, does not make you look thin. If anyone has ever fallen in love on Patagonia’s W Trek, it is because both people had really good personalities. Not because they had super hot backpacking bodies. I don’t think Victoria Secret Swimsuit Edition will feature a backpacker on its cover anytime soon.
  2. Patagonia has four seasons. A day. Literally Patagonia’s weather fluctuates between the extremes of sheeting freezing rain, 60 degree sunshine, and howling winds within a daily time frame. I find dressing for one season a day challenging enough so this proved almost impossible.
  3. When hiking in the remote and windy regions of Patagonia, good hair days are as few and far between as a strong wifi signal.

  4. Knee braces may prevent further injury but they do not prevent awkward tan lines.
  5. Wear a whistle. That way it is harder for your group to try and lose you. I did accidentally forget to make sure the whistle was still attached to my whistle lanyard, but my group never successfully lost me so I assume that my theory was still successful. If you don't have a whistle, you can also wear neon colors as a substitute.
  6. A pair of leggings serves multiple purposes. You can wear them long how the Spandex Gods intended them, or you can hack them into capris, or you can further hack them into shorts and take outfit repeating to a whole new level above sea level.

On Camping:

  1. Before we set out on the trek, we spent time exploring different regions of Chile. If you do this, make sure to Google Earth image search the address of where you are staying. Because you may find yourself checking into a dilapidated hostel that no one else booked for a reason. (And that reason could have easily been deduced from Google Earth). Below are actual photos of our actual "hotel"

  2. When camping, your tent will not have room service. I learned this after I was required to re-stuff my sleeping bag each morning. Who wants to go on vacation and make their bed? Not me.
  3. Constantly be on the lookout for elements of nature that can be turned into La-Z-Boy like furniture. Didn’t someone famous once say, “Nature is meant to be enjoyed?”


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