On the way back home from Antarctica I took advantage of the fantastic opportunity to travel a bit through South America. I began my travels with Bamma Mellot- a newfound friend- who also, traveling home from Palmer Station, took a pit stop in South America. We spent time in Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales with our main activity being a backpacking trip through Torres del Paine- a beautiful national park in Patagonia. I then said my goodbyes to Bamma and headed solo onward to Bahia Blanca- a small city and short flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina. There, I met with a team of scientists from the local university whose principle area of study is carnivore physiology and ecology. I met with this team with the hopes of future collaboration for graduate research on puma/human conflict (will blog about the project soon).
I found that traveling in a new country- particularly one that speaks a foreign language, was like being a child all over again. Unable to articulate precisely what I needed, consequently at the mercy of stranger’s honesty and kindness, I trusted them with my expenses, travel, how to get to the bus station, with the identity of the meat I ordered and ate. Wide-eyed and both frustrated and humbled in my silence, I shuffled down the streets constructing a huge Venn diagram comparing and contrasting these new places with other places I’ve visited. Just when I thought I was growing up, I am beginning to see how infantile to the world I really am, how much more there is to learn and grow - it makes me both, want to throw a temper tantrum and thenget to work.