21 Days

Eli Snyder
January 9, 2020

There is something about mountains that take my breath away every time I lay my eyes on them. Perhaps its their sheer enormity; their grandeur reminds me that their formation has required millions of years. Or, it’s their vastness; As the opposite slopes designating the beginning of the Peak rise miles away from each other; and then, precipitously and relentlessly, the grade increases until the two slopes meet in dramatic fashion, forming a ridge line that kisses the clouds and puts any Manhattan skyscraper to shame. Assuredly, it’s the ubiquity of the mountains, and all the fruits they provide to a plethora of species, both flora and fauna. The industries and activities they bestow to us have shaped the realities of our Earth since the dawn of time. Perhaps, it is the coalescence of all of these revelations, amid many, many more. 

This is the ineffable awe that fills my mind and spirit every time I have the pleasure of seeing them. As I write this, I’m on the balcony of my cousins’ condo in Telluride, Colorado, with the San Juan Mountain Range peering at me above the top of my laptop screen. It is the indescribable awe of this landscape that first stimulated my curiosity of Argentina and Chile, and shortly thereafter confirmed that a voyage to the southern edge of the world was a latent dream of mine. 

After coming to this realization in January of my sophomore year of college, I eagerly scoured the internet for a study abroad program that could satisfy my visceral yearning in the slightest; And when I finally found my program, of which would allow me to immerse myself in both Argentine and Chilean cultures, I felt as if my wildest dreams were beginning to come true, and a newfound purpose of mine was materializing. 

It has been 11 months and 8 days since I made that decision, and not a day has gone by that this excursion hasn’t occupied my every wandering thought. And here I am, twenty-one days from my departure, gazing upon the very landscape that initially catalyzed my call to journey south. 

What has felt like an unattainable dream now feels more like reality. I’m elated to finally be able to do more than just grow wanderlust as I tune out my college professors; rather, my time is now spent compiling a list of restaurants, museums, and cultural amenities in both capital cities, booking flights and accommodations for weekend trips around the continent, and familiarizing myself with Argentine and Chilean cultural norms. 

This voyage had long been the future, but now it’s the present. And for that I am thankful. 


...with more to come 

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Eli Snyder

<p>I'm currently a junior at the University of Michigan from Kansas, studying International Studies. Ever since I was little, I have been obsessed and driven by travel. Nothing imbues me with greater tranquility, joy, and peace of mind that when I'm traveling, visiting some place foreign to me and everything I know. I knew since I saw the dancing lights of Paris romantically displayed in the 2007 Pixar film "Ratatouille" that I wanted to be moving as much as possible in my life. Since then, I've made it my priority to chase this passion. I've currently traveled to 3 continents outside of North America on 7 different trips, with many of them being self-funded. I plan on chasing this passion for the rest of my life, at any means necessary.</p>

Home University:
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Leawood, KS
International Political Econ
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