Patagonia by Pickup Truck
A father and son travel 10,000km from Santiago to Tierra Del Fuego and back north through Argentina
Kodak Gold 400, Fujicolor 200
*words and images by Sam Brown
Patagonia doesn’t care. It doesn’t care how many spare tires you brought or what temperature your sleeping bag is rated to. Unapologetic winds will keep you up all night as your teeth chatter, tearing at the fabric of your sanity, your nylon tent, and your relationship with whomever you find yourself with. You will get another flat on your way to the mechanics shop.
Fortunately, it’s hard to hold a grudge in Patagonia. Tempers settle quickly and trivial concerns dissolve in a landscape where they have plenty of room to roam.
Like many travelers before us, my dad and I were attracted to the idea of Patagonia—the indisputable sense of freedom to roam, explore, and indulge. From north to south, Chile is a diverse and botanically exuberant country. Patagonia, specifically, ebbs and flows between a variety of microclimates and geography that exhausts my vocabulary.
We found ourselves in the middle of this landscape, struggling to comprehend just how we might try to translate the beauty to our friends once home. On the road in such a place mundane rituals morph into special ceremonies—cooking breakfast, deflating your air mattress, going to the bathroom—as being in the presence of such beauty makes it all seem unfamiliar, magical even.
10,000km later, we arrived in Santiago, where we had left from four weeks earlier. Only one question remained: Where to next?