January 13, 2015
Punta Arenas, Chile
I consider myself very fortunate to be able to travel as much as I do. In 36 years so far I’ve been able to visit 116 countries.
There are so many incredible places on this planet that it’s hard to say which one is my favorite.
Thailand is easily one of them. Everything about the place, from the beautiful temples, the deferential treatment given by Thais and their easygoing nature, to the beaches and the food is wonderful.
Europe is a great place to spend time as well. Not particularly attractive for business, and their ongoing troubles are a big sap on the region’s appeal to stay there long-term, but the culture, food, history, and scenery are unbeatable.
Italy is among my favorites. I spend every summer there at a centuries-old villa in the heart of wine country, enjoying non-stop homemade Italian food, wine and the company of my energetic Italian hosts and my close friends.
Of course it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Chile too.
I’ve been spending a lot of time here over the last few years and the more I get to know the place the more I’m stunned by its incredible diversity.
It stretches from the driest place on the planet, the Atacama Desert, all the way down to Antarctica where I just came from.
(Chile, Argentina and Britain all share a claim to the same part of Antarctica that is currently overwritten by the Antarctic Treaty System—even though officially Antarctica doesn’t belong to anyone, it’s no man’s land.).
This incredible climatic diversity means that it’s like having Arizona, Nevada, California, Italy, Germany, British Columbia, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and Alaska—all within the same country.
The curious thing about my trip to Antarctica is that this was a domestic trip. During the whole travel there, and now back to Punta Arenas, nobody ever asked to see my ID. No TSA agent ran his plastic gloves over me, and no border agent stamped my passport.
Somehow the world didn’t come to an end despite us doing all of this transcontinental activity without any government bureaucrats.
Here in Punta Arenas, the deep south of the world, some 50% of the population traces their roots back to Croatia, believe it or not.
The town itself is very European, just like many of Chile’s southern cities. It’s clean, quaint, and well-maintained.
It’s also a great jumping point to Chile’s world famous Torres del Paine national park with some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the world, as well as to Antarctica.
It’s inexpensive too, made even more so by the fact that it’s a tax-free zone.
Chile, with its incredible diversity, really does satisfy a lot of appetites.