Having the Courage to Look Overseas

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by Simon Black: On
the Weekend's Shooting

 

 
 

Vina del Mar
is a posh beach community that’s a bit like Punta del Este,
Monaco, or the Hamptons… it’s where the wealthy and beautiful
Chileans go to be seen during the summer holiday period. Even on
a cloudy day, you’ll still see hundreds of thong-clad beach
goers pretending to not notice the lack of sunshine.

I generally
shun hotels when possible – I prefer to stay in serviced apartments,
small boutiques, or B&Bs… and the bed & breakfast that
I found was a beautiful, quaint mansion perched at the top of a
hill overlooking the city and the bay.

Standing there
admiring the view last Friday, a voice called out to me – “Why
don’t you let me help you with your reservation.” It sounded
like Iowa, or one of those non-accent areas of the US… a bit
out of place here in coastal Chile.

“Uh, yeah,
please,” I said. He must have read the expression on my face
because he answered almost as if I had asked the question –
“I’m from Ohio…” he said, “I run the house.
Welcome.”

We got to talking
– “Chris” is a young, university-aged worker who
had been recently laid off from his job in the US and got tired
of filing for unemployment benefits. As he told me later:

“Basically,
I was sitting around my house, sending out a bunch of applications,
and checking in with the unemployment office from time to time.
It got old… real quick. I could feel the life being sucked
out of me – my energy, my motivation. I was pretty depressed,
I hated it… so I decided to start looking overseas.”

Chris told
me how his search opened up literally a world of possibilities,
from Switzerland to Mongolia, Singapore to Tanzania, China to Chile.
He ended up in Chile because he felt like staying in the western
hemisphere, and he really wanted to learn Spanish.

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