Gracias a la vida

He who does not travel,
who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself,
dies slowly.

                                                                                        Pablo Neruda

I am not questioning the great Neruda,  his words were meant to incite change in a country that badly needed it, but now, from my perspective while considering my travels, I think of a more positive way to put it:   Follow your curiosity, reach out, read, listen, travel if you can, and both challenge and accept yourself, and if you have paid attention, you will have lived life to its fullest and ignited a spark in someone else.

Likewise, when Violeta Parra wrote the most powerful song, Thanks to Life! (Gracias a la vida), it was a dirge written a year before her suicide.  It motivated people to action when they were paralyzed.  Mercedes Sosa revived the anthem, having had her share of political trials, but here is how she reinterpreted it much later in life, having come out the other side, and this is what I leave South America with.

Signing off, until next time, many thanks to our wonderful U. Vic. academics and tour guides, Chrissie Forster and Rosa Stewart.

A few blog out-takes courtesy of awesome travel-bud and dear friend, Margaret:


As the Argentines say, Ciao,


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