When preparing for my South American backpacking trip I knew I was going to be hiking the Torres del Paine W Trek within the first month. It was booked, paid for, and happening for sure. I did not really know what to expect except that it was going to be gorgeous, and thought that 5 days of camping sounded simple enough. I packed a pair of running shoes and a couple pairs of what I considered “hiking clothes” and was on my way. I had no idea what I was in for.
A rude awakening
Over the next couple of days it didn’t get any easier, but I learned to love the challenge and accomplishment. Each night coming to camp I felt proud of myself for making it and that sense of accomplishment kept me going. At the end of the 5 days, my knees were very sore and I was extremely tired but I was so proud of myself and I had seen some amazing sights. Sightseeing is so much more rewarding when you must hike to get there.
A surprising development
Hiking didn’t stop when I left Patagonia either, I accomplished many hikes in Brazil, Bolivia, and even the 8-day Huayhuash hike in Peru.
I discovered a new hobby! I know, I know, it doesn’t quite compare to those who “found themselves”, but I discovered my love for hiking. Seems simple, but it has been a great discovery for myself over these last couple of months.
I never knew when I left for South America that I would be spending so much time hiking, but I never knew I liked it until I got there either. Now, being from Canada and all, I feel a bit silly that I never gave hiking a fair shot back at home. Now, I will never again plan a trip that doesn’t include some spectacular hikes. I think that it is pretty special that a backpacking trip helped me discover this new passion - something I may never have realised had I not started traveling.
Author - Bailey Busslinger
Bailey is a full-time traveler and blogger currently exploring Latin America. She is on a never-ending (hopefully) journey around the world sharing what she’s learned and loved on her blog www.DestinationlessTravel.com.