On January 1st, 2018, I was sitting on the patio of a Santiago hostel, a computer on my lap and a warm Yerba Mate by my side, feeling lost. After traveling through South America for four months, here I was–ready to embark on the second part of my gap year and find an internship.
“Gap year?” You might ask. “You mean like you’ve already graduated University?”
No, I’m a 19-year-old pendejo (as of December 25) from Brooklyn who hasn’t even started college (as we call it in the US). But I hoped someone might overlook that fact and actually hire me.
And yet here I was, alone in South America, my travel buddy gone, looking for an internship. And I was frickin’ lost. I was going to have to send my resume in Spanish to a million NGOs and companies, praying that one of them would want to talk to this pendejo gringo. But then joyous hope. The first company I contacted responded–La Bicicleta Verde. Smiling back from the email was the eccentric headshot of what appeared to be a bearded hipster, apparently named Peter. I later found out that this craft-beer sipping, bike-riding lumberjack was in fact the swashbuckling owner.
On January 22, I traded a hostel patio for a seat at the famous round table that acts as the home base of the La Bicicleta Verde, Tours4Tips, and ChileGuru marketing and sales team. And in place of a bunk bed, I got a room of my very own, just 20 minutes north of the office.
And since that first day, the rest of the week was a blur. New faces, a whirlwind of Spanish, English, and way too much French, along with a workload that has never kept me bored. From being a photographer on the set of Peter’s soon-to-be smash-hit TV show on TVN, Aquí Te Las Traigo Peter, to doing web design and taking tons of tours, I have to admit my work did more that not keep me not bored, it kept me excited.
Now that I am a month and a half into my internship, with two and half more months remaining, every day still presents a new opportunity, a new exciting task, and many new faces. I’ll never stop believing (with my classic New Yorker arrogance) that New York City (ESPECIALLY BROOKLYN!!) is the greatest place on the face of the earth, but I have to admit, Santiago sure comes close. And of course, La Bicicleta Verde is the best place of all!