Patagonia has one of the most surreal landscapes I’ve ever seen. It’s easy to slip into a solemn state, in complete awe and reverence of nature. I had an incredibly calm feeling the entire time I was there, and I was often left speechless in the midst of such colossal mountain ranges. As any traveler who has ventured to the region knows, Patagonia will change the way you see your city (and every city) forever.
1. I want every traffic jam to look this cute.
El Calafate is a small town at the bottom tip of Argentina, serving as the gateway for many Patagonian adventures. There are cattle ranches, known as estancias, outside of town where gauchos herd sheep through their land. I opted to take a dirt road on my way to Perito Moreno Glacier, and to my delight, I had the thrill of getting held up by a gaucho guiding his sheep across the road. This stands as my most pleasant (and adorable) traffic jam to date.
2. I want every New York forecast of slightly cloudy to look like this.
To see the mountain, Fitz Roy, on a clear day is a rarity. Many travelers never get to see the peak during their trek, as it’s usually shrouded by a mass of clouds. So when the forecast calls for clear skies, that means you immediately pack and begin ascending up the Laguna de Los Tres trail to soak in this view.
3. Craft beers at my local brewery now have a lot to live up to.
I live within walking distance of the Brooklyn Brewery, and it’s definitely hard to beat. But the home-brewed pilsners and bocks served at La Cerveceria in El Chalten are exceptional, especially when Fitz Roy is the backdrop.
4. Can all my neighbors’ pets be this interesting?
If you live in an apartment, you know the perils of hearing everything your neighbors do. This includes listening to their adorable dog bark—all day long. At the estancias outside of El Calafate in Patagonia, you’ll most likely find that the family pet us a guanaco. I’d much rather dodge the guanaco’s occasional spit shot than listen to a Chihuahua bark at a shadow. Also, they’re pretty photogenic, right?
5. Moments to myself will never feel the same.
I consider every morning on the subway as time to reflect and zone out while listening to music or reading my book. But in Patagonia, time to myself meant so much more. Hiking in Torres del Paine National Park is an out-of-body experience and requires no novels or albums to facilitate the peace. It is grueling and physically demanding. It will give you some of the greatest views of your life, and leave you forever changed and inspired by the worlds’ beauty.
Top photo by Miguel Vieira; bottom five by Michaela Trimble