“I am formally turning in my resignation. — Kindly, Dylan.” * Click.* Message sent. One-way flight to Chile? Check.

It’s that easy. Sort of.

I did it. I had just quit my job and booked that golden ticket to Chile, just as I had dreamed for years. I was off to South America on what many people would accurately call the trip of a lifetime.

I always thought our adventure was going to be found deep in a remote canyon in Patagonia… Little did we know it might be when we lost almost every penny we had saved trying to purchase a car, or when our kayaks were detained by the Argentine government. That was when we realized that our fantasies of adventure weren’t necessarily rooted in truth.

We arrived in Santiago in search of the best whitewater South America had to offer, from the northern reaches of Chile all the way to the “Fin del Mundo” at the southernmost tip of the continent. With the keys to our trusty Suzuki APV, we set off south of the city and toward the rivers, with water serving as our guide. Our time was spent camping underneath starry night skies, and we were drawn onward by the rushing rivers. We ventured into the deep, imposing canyons of the Rio Claro all the way south to the tumultuous, chaotic whitewater of the Rio Baker, Chile’s largest river. Bombarded with weeks of non-stop rain, the rivers rose higher than they had in decades, but when the clouds parted the sun smiled down at us and yet another Patagonian rainbow would appear.

While I initially thought that adventure was down the unknown river valleys, I came to realize that it was the entire experience. Drinking Yerba Matte with a local family as they opened their home, eating campfire meals, paddling world-class whitewater, and running headlong into the occasional misadventure, it is the entire wild ride that I will remember 25,000+ kilometers later.

Even the longest life is far too short, so I encourage you to jump out of your comfort zone, do what you’ve dreamed of, and make that rash decision that most people won’t but wish they had. Start your own misadventure, and whether it’s in your backyard or across the globe, it’ll be something to remember.


-Dylan McKinney