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winter 2018


A preview of the Vale la Pena journey.

I backpacked. For the first time. Backpacked for the first time in one of the best spots in the word: Patagonia. The mountains of Patagonia are divided. Divided among Argentina and Chile. Me and my buddy, Michal, took on the Chilean half: Torres del Paine.

It was a hassle for sure. The cheapest flight tickets we could find got us in from Santiago to Punta ARENAS at 3:10 a.m. Then we slept and charged our cameras at a chapel inside the small airport. We caught the first bus out to Puerto Natales at 7:20 a.m. We got there and ate lunch.

Now, if you ever go to Puerto Natales, make sure to hit up “Patagonia Food.” No, this restaurant has nothing to with Patagonia. BUT… for 5000 pesos (approx. $7.30) we got one of the most satisfying and filling meals ever. As I struggled to finish my potato salad and mashed potato that I chose as sides, Michal told me something like this, “you better finish that, because Sheron in three days is going to be starving.” I should have listened to his advice. The third day of the five-day trip was the loooongest. We hiked over 20 kilometers with backpack and gear, and yes I was very hungry. The steep rocks and the long trails had me in pain, but the mesmerizing wonder of Mother Nature’s crystal blue water and ice-covered mountains had me in euphoria.

Vale la pena... Worth it!

by Sheron Mathew ’17

Mathew, a biology and Spanish major from Spartanburg, spent the fall semester studying politics, social justice and language in Santiago, Chile. Read more of Mathew's IES Abroad blog at