Visiting Torres del Paine National Park in Chile

We’re moving to SOUTH AMERICA!

We were in Lisbon the other day and, over dinner and drinks with my sister, we ended youtubing music videos from “the good ‘ol times”. Everyone got to share their favorites and, of course, we ended up listening to bands I used to love. Songwriters like Alanis Morisette, Anouk or Spanish band Dover where not only my musical references – I used to dream of becoming like them one day. That day never came. That made me nostalgic and got me thinking…

I was never certain of many things things in my life, and that didn’t really use to matter. But one thing had always been a constant since I was a kid: I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to dedicate my life to making music, using it to sing about stuff that matters and spread good vibes. Ever since I was 14 (and until a year before we quit a regular life to travel around the world) I had been singing in rock bands. I’ve had my fair share of local scene music events in Portugal and in Dubai, but I never had what pros would call a career.

Now I understand how different phases in life

have different highlights. And that is OK!


And then I realized adventures are the best way to learn


This is not a “I am defeated and finished” kind of speech. I still love the things I used to spend my time doing. But I have come to embrace the thought that it is important to keep it fresh and interesting – and this doesn’t necessarily involve pursuing the same things. In life you must have priorities. And following those priories normally involves making choices. More often than not, you can’t have everything you wish for at once. I could have never been traveling around the world as I pleased if I was performing with a local band, for example.

Now I don’t sing in bands, I am not a rock chick. I am not even worried about looking, acting or being cool. Still, this is probably the one time during my entire life when I am actually cooler. I get to go around the world and meet new people all the time. I don’t get tired of a new place and I am already moving to the next. My brain is flooded with new exhilarating experiences all the time. I know what it feels like to be breathless climbing a volcano in Ecuador or skydiving over the incredibly blue sea off Dubai’s coast. I know what it is like to purchase a comforting $1 bowl of noodle soup in Vietnam after exploring new surroundings for hours. I know what it is like to end up the day in comfort, when you turn on the heater in some hostel at the “end of the world” in southern Patagonia. I know what it is to love and be loved and, even more importantly, share all the things that fulfill me with the love of my life. I might not sing now-a-days, but I have never had so many things to sing about!

I might not be doing all the things I used to. But I am far from being bored. And I am proud that I had the chance and balls to ever leave my little corner of the world. To have expanded my horizons and realize that this is always going to be “work in progress”. I know many things I wouldn’t have known before if I didn’t travel. I know what it feels like to lie on the floor and observe the incredibly starred sky on a dark night at the Atacama Desert. I know what the smell of the air is like in San Francisco. How spicy spicy really means when you’re in Mexico. I know how easy it is to feel privileged beyond a measure I hadn’t think possible before coming to India. I know many new things and I am also aware of how difficult it is for some people around me to relate to them (and, likewise, for me to relate back to many aspects of their lives too).

No matter what, my point is:


Don’t let your life become monotonous!


Don’t let the spark inside of you die. No matter how hard life gets at times (and, hey, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns for yours truly here on Backpack ME either!), try and do something new. Keep your life exciting, even if it’s not in the ways you once would have imagined. Fulfillment won’t come your way if you don’t work for it. Sometimes it might take a little step back to go forward like crazy. Keep on moving. Keep on doing things. LIVE!


Go ahead. You never know what can be on the other side.


For us, a new phase starts now.


Today, we’re moving to Santiago de Chile!


Over there, Ashray is going to be working with a start-up. And having Santiago as our base, we shall be exploring more of South America too. A piece of our hearts was left in Latin America when we traveled around back in 2012. It’s time to re-visit Chile and pay Argentina and Colombia a visit that has been due for quite a while! Tonight, we’re embarking on a journey that will take us almost 2 days… and soon enough South America will be our home. I am excited. And also a little scared.

For the first time in over 2 years, we will have a place to call our own. A home to return to when we travel. Our own kitchen to cook at. Our own bed to disconnect from the world in comfort when the night comes down. It will be a different life than the one we’ve gotten used to for the past couple of years. But, once again, we keep on doing new things so that the spark stays alive, so that our days won’t ever get monotonous. And if you happen to be reading this sitting at work, or bored at home, I urge you to think about your life too. Go do something new. Even if it’s just around the corner…


When was the last time you did something for the first time?


Novelty is what keeps the spark alive.

See you on the other side!


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  • Irina Says

    That’s awesome news! Congrats! And Chile is a great place to call home – weather-wise and culture-wise.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Irina. YES! Santiago de Chile screams CULTURE in every corner. We haven’t had the chance to explore any of it yet.. but just the fact that I see so many posters advertising film fests, exhibitions, concerts and all of that around makes me very happy already! :)

  • Franca Says

    This is a great news guys! It looks like you found a cool place to cool home and use as a base, somewhere that you like enough to stop and create your little (or big) roof. I’ve never been to Chile but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, how exciting! Best of luck!

    • Zara Says

      Thanks a lot, Franca! :) Chile is indeed a great country and Santiago looks like it has what it takes to become our home. At least for a “little” while!..

  • Sam Says

    This is exciting, indeed! Looking forward to seeing how you like Santiago as a place to base yourselves. Unfortunately we didn’t make it there on our South America travels, but it sounds like a good place to live!

    • Zara Says

      Sounds like you should come to South America again, Sam! Chile is well worth it! And if you come here while we’re still around, we’ll give you some tips as “locals”! ;)

  • CONGRATULATIONS!! I really wish you the best! Chile is also one of the best countries to live in South America and you’ll finally get the chance to visit Argentina!! I’m happy for you and sure you’ll achieve everything you want in life! It’s all about the attitude! Keep it that way! Never stop doing things for the first time! Never stop travelling! And remember to contact me if you come to Buenos Aires!

  • Brigid Says

    So exciting and big congratulations on the decision to move to Chile!

    My husband and I have been living in Sucre, Bolivia for the past 5 months after a year of travel through Latin America. Though it was a completely different living experience than we were used to, it gave us the chance to chill out, reassess our goals, and to get excited about travel again. Toward the end of our year of being on the road, travel had in a way become monotonous so it was nice to have the space to figure out what kind of travel suited us best long-term.

    We’ll be making our way to Santiago in October this year, looking forward to experience all the city has to offer! Take care and happy travels :)

    • Ian Phillips Says

      Sucre was one of my fav places in Bolivia. Santiago is a big city suggest you go to Puerto Varas and do a tour through the lake country. Chileans are very friendly. You will notice quite a difference if you go there and then visit Argentina. I liked the folks in Montevideo Uruguay too.
      Going to Ecuador in November myself. Suerte

      • Zara Says

        Hi Ian! We did have a chance to travel in Southern Chile last time we were here, 2 years ago. Let’s see if this time we can make it to Uruguay.
        Oh.. by the way: Ecuador is one of my favorite countries. I knew very little about it before we traveled there (2 years ago as well) and it was enjoyable every single day. From the Andes to the coast, to the Galapagos Islands.. very tiny country, but incredibly rich in so many ways! Have a great time over there!!

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Brigid! It’s important to know when to pause when you travel so much.. when you spend some time “still” you learn how to appreciate the road again.
      Wishing you the very best while living in Sucre as well! :)

  • Wow, that sounds really interesting. I’ve been wanting to go to Chile for a while, so, I’ll be following your adventures there.

  • That sounds really exciting Zara! Santiago is a great place and I really liked how laid back the people were. They also had some really nice neighborhoods, the parks were very well used, plus Valparaiso and the sea are close by. You are going to have a great time, I am sure. All the best wishes for your new start… :)

  • Niru Says

    Wow, congratulations Ashray & Zara. When we were in Santiago, I just loved walking through all their leafy neighborhoods. The weather was so good and you can go see so many other places nearby. How exciting!

  • Agyesh Says

    A not so small world
    I thought they would in the last 3 years but I guess our paths will cross in South America.
    Off to getting this amazing peruvian visa….
    Hope all is well ( by the looks of bkpk, i am sure they are) and here’s to more awesomeness for your next adventure.

  • Alyssa Says

    As much as I think I would love to do the backpacking like you all have, I don’t think I’m cut out for it. I prefer having a home base and cooking for myself and such. I’m starting to think about what will be my next move after London and I’m definitely leaning towards somewhere in South America! I look forward to reading about your adventures there!

    • Zara Says

      Hi Alyssa,

      It sure feels good to have a base! After more than 2 years without one as such, we’re looking forward to have our own bed, our own kitchen, etc.. let’s see how long the novelty feeling lasts though! ;)

      Do give South America a go. This is one amazing continent, with so much to see and experience. If you need some inspiration, just see all we did around here about 2 years ago:

      All the best!

  • thanks for following me @woahablemuse on twitter :)

    Just as long as you don’t bash us too much for just living through some of your adventures vicariously :)

    Speaking of new, I just started as a general manager for a brunch restaurant here in Chicago.. And it has wonderful new challenges everyday :) !!

    Cheers and well wishes on your journeies!!

    • Zara Says

      Hi Joseph,

      Good luck with the new job. Next time we’re in Chicago, we should catch up over brunch! ;)

      Keep on facing new challenges everyday and be happy!

  • Nikhil Says

    Thanks for writing this, Zara.
    I have been following you two since an year or so now, though not as closely as I should, but this particular piece is great!
    It gives me ammo for when people ask me why do I tend to go off-tangent so often.
    Oh, and all the best for Chile!

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Nikhil!
      I’m so happy to read that you have been following Backpack ME for a long while now. Keep in touch! :)

  • annie Says

    such a wonderful and important message! good luck your next incredible adventure!!

  • That’s awesome! My husband and I will be calling Santiago home this summer for 6 weeks–I was actually checking out your blog for inspiration for travel ideas while we are there. Good luck and happy adventuring!

    • Zara Says

      That’s great Kristina! We have a ton of Chile related articles on the blog already.. but we hope to post many more focusing on Santiago in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned! ;)

  • Chile is wonderful! Definitely a great place to settle down in South America. It has a great standard of living and is a wonderful place to live! When I visited, I could tell it wasn’t too much of a tourist destination. However, I was exploring the city with one of my friends who is a local and the experience was so much fun. Enjoy!!

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Hannah!
      We also think Santiago has a lot of potential and a good standard of living.
      Let’s hope it lives up to the expectation! ;)

  • Agness Says

    What a great news! I always wanted to spend some time in South America and try to use my poor Spanish I’ve learnt at the university, but I am coming back to Europe soon. I hope you will love your new life. Go bkpk, go!

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  • Dman Says

    If I may ask, what kind of residency visa were you guys able to get in Chile?

    • Zara Says

      Ashray is working with a company in Chile so they took take of everything for him. And as a spouse, I get to be with him too, of course! :)

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