Patagonia, Chile: Getting ready

Female urination device, headlamp, foldable silicone bowls and cups… The list of things that I never thought would end up in my Amazon shopping cart goes on.

For someone who has never been camping or trekking, I still wonder what drew me to sign up for a 10-day long backcountry expedition in Patagonia, Chile. I generally consider myself a risk-averse person, where most decisions I make are based on careful assessments of logistics, details and plan Bs. But this time it was different; Had I actually given much thought about the details of this trip (10 days with no shower, the physical burden of carrying a 50 lbs bag, being without a phone the whole time, dealing with the aftermath of your period, etc) I don’t think I would’ve had the courage to sign up. However, I’ve learned to become more comfortable with taking risks and playing with the unknown since I came to CBS. So instead of focusing on the details, I simply thought of a famous quote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” As someone who has always lived within a certain boundary of comfort, I figured this was a great opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and find out which version of me will show up at the end.

The current version of me takes a slew of vitamins each morning, is heavily dependent on freshly brewed coffee, applies multiple layers of skincare, and puts on a dental retainer at night. Geez, I never realized how high-maintenance I was until I started packing for this trip and decided none of these were worth the extra weight I need to carry on my back. Deciding which items are essential enough to make the cut is an interesting process of recognizing how much time and effort we allocate each day on trivial matters. I wonder if everyone else on this trip had similar thoughts while packing.

It is the day before the big expedition, and as I write this post in my nicely heated hotel room I’m still not sure what to expect for the next 10 days. Whether I’ll come out at the end as a disordered mess, a changed person with new life perspectives, or somewhere in between, I really have no clue. But one thing I know for sure is that it will be nothing close to my expectations, for better or worse.


Written by Christina (Tina) Kong, Class of 2020.

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