Adventuring into Latin America


Until the age of 26, I lived in Minnesota. Travel for me was driving 5 hours south to Chicago where instead of eating a thin crusted pizza, I would eat a deep dish pizza. Oh the possibilities. But at 26, the only way to continue my career as a poker player was to move, not only outside of Minnesota, but outside the country. My adventure began.

Travel to Mexico

I hired a company called Poker Refugees to make sure my relocation went smooth. They booked my housing, handled currency exchanges, picked me up from the airport, and on and on, even introduced me to friends. I stood up from my computer chair in Minnesota, walked onto a plane, sat down in a computer chair in Mexico. The internet was slower.

Mexico exposed me to a foreign language, authentic tacos, and diseased tap water. Oh god, don’t drink it, no matter how thirsty you are, get up, walk outside to the nearest Oxxo and buy a jug of water. Please. Yet although my surroundings were exotic, all of my friends were english speaking poker players. There was another level to this adventure.

Travel to Argentina

Argentina was completely unknown to me. All I knew was I didn’t know anyone who lived there and I wouldn’t be able to survive by speaking English. That’s scary.

I planned everything and double checked everything before travel, knowing the exact details of transportation and airbnbs and the speed of the internet. Then it was one foot in front of the other. Step by step, I figured out this foreign land until ti too was familiar.

Travel to Chile

One day, bored in Argentina, a friend and I wanted to get out of the city.

We opened the map on airbnb of Santiago Chile. In the city we see thousands of options to stay. Forty miles east of the city, we see one lonely airbnb. Clicking on it, a deck overlooks a desert mountain range, the clouds hovering just above the roof of the house.

Without any idea how to get there, we booked it.

We rode on an airplane, a taxi, and two different buses, which were jammed packed with locals, to arrive at the foothills. Standing at the bottom of the climb, we were already sweating under the sun.

The host warned us about wild dogs, she said make sure you’re always carrying a stick. About a mile into the climb, a pack of eight dogs rushed up from the house to a driveway entrance. They stood drooling saliva and barking at us. Gripping our sticks tighter we walked up the hill backwards. Soon we heard someone clapping. Finally the owner calling his dogs back. The dogs barked louder. Oh, no, he was cheering them on. We’re not welcomed here.

Finally drenched in sweat, we arrived. Our stay hot and surrounded by prickly cacti and mosquitos that won’t let you sleep. But it was all worth it.

Shuffling our feet back down that mountain, knowing we have an hour of hiking and two hours of bus rides just to get back to Santiago, was uncomfortable. But trailing behind that discomfort was meaning. And we knew we were on the right path.