Uncle K had just turned up at the flat in Santiago with the same small dog with wild, straggly hair that had followed us around the streets the night before. I was silently sceptical. You see a lot of dogs on the street in Chile, often lying incapacitated in the shade of cars trying to escape the heat. Where had this dog come from?
So I walked through the arrivals gate, into the chaos of Santiago airport. I felt that feeling that I assume everyone feels when arriving at a foreign airport: a sense of joy that you’ve reached your destination in one piece, coupled with the slight confusion about where you’re supposed to go next. I had accidentally turned left when I should have gone right, and consequently had to steer my uncooperative luggage trolley through a crowd of people to find my relatives. As it turns out, there are about three or four different flights which arrive in Santiago every morning in the space of about half an hour, and mine was one of them; the place was heaving.
‘I’m coming to Santiago on Tuesday, and then a few days later heading south to Patagonia. We should meet up.’ Such was the communication from X, a friend from London who was living in Buenos Aires. ‘Sounds good,’ I replied. ‘I’ll be around. In fact I’d love to see the South too. Fancy adding one more to your travelling party?’
It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. I didn’t know what to expect from the South apart from slightly colder weather, but I was more than ready for a new adventure into unknown terrain.
‘Sure,’ replied X. ‘My friend K is coming too, so it’ll be three of us.’
Here’s the idea: graduate from University, find a job or just see if anything grabs your attention in the world of employment, and if nothing happens, there's one good option: move to South America. Sounds fair enough. After graduating I still had no idea what I wanted to do for a living, and coupled with the economic downturn - which made it difficult to find a proper job - I decided to throw myself into the thick of it and move to Chile for six months. I wanted to gain some real world experience, do some interesting, mind-expanding travelling - see new things, taste new cultures - instead of just banging my head against the impenetrable wall of employment back home.