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Barely Packed, but Very Prepared

May 15, 2018

It's a week before I leave for Chile and I couldn't be more excited. My name is Madalyn Wiefering and although this is my first trip out of the United States, I consider myself a pro packer. This past week has been filled with last minute preparations and tasks that needed to be done before my lengthy trip to Santiago. Although I haven't officially started packing, I am preparing.

So here it goes, my number one tip for packing is to prepare to pack. You can look up as many packing lists on Pinterest and Google, but they will never get everything that you need. Pick a typical school or work day and jot down every single thing you do from the moment you open your eyes, to the second your head hits the pillow. Because I always have my phone on hand, I jot down the list in my notes and use the list setting so that when I do pack, I can check off the things I packed. Whenever I think of something "Chile specific" that I will need, I make a note of that too. Although it will be winter in Chile, the weather will still be beautiful compared to the frigid winters above the equator in Kentucky. I’m packing lots of jeans and layers for the slightly chilly weather in Chile.

With as much research as I have done, you'd think I would have a lengthy Chile bucket list. To be completely honest, however, I plan to take every day day-by-day and let the locals tell me the best places to visit. I don't want to be just a tourist; I hope to completely engulf myself in the beautiful South American culture that is Chile. Being the longest country in the world, Chile has so much to offer. Whether it's climbing the great Andes mountains or exploring the rich neighborhoods and cities like Bellavista, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, and of course Santiago, this country is a traveler’s ultimate destination. I do have a few ideas of activities and places I hope to visit. I'd love to go horseback riding and visit one of the top 50 best restaurants in Latin America, Ambrosía.

Don't even get me started on the delicious South American cuisine! From the pastel de choclo to the infamous, huge, deep-fried Chilean Empanadas, I will eat all Chile has to offer. I am also a huge seafood fanatic, and with miles of coastline, glacial rivers, and lakes, I get access to all of the fried fish and seafood I could ever want.

I am profoundly grateful to have received this incredible opportunity to travel and study in Chile. We all know life begins the moment you leave your comfort zone! I can only imagine the experiences and adventures I am going to take, so stay tuned and I’d love to hear about some of the leaps of faith you are taking in the comments section below!

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