Since I decided to move to Chile, people have often asked me, “But why would a young, single woman like you decide to move alone to a foreign country?” (Or as las viejitas put it: ¿¡Pero cómo andas solita mi niñita?!) I had many reasons for moving here, not least that South America is a gorgeous place to make a life, and Chile the safest country in which to begin. But I’ll explain one other reason, because I think it is an important one.
A few weeks before leaving California, I rewatched the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” An overly-cautious, wannabe badass realizes he spends more time in his daydreams than in the real world. To revamp his existence, he boards a plane and embarks on a foreign adventure that so fully satisfies his thirst for a good story that he no longer has to daydream. His life has become better than his wildest dreams. In the film’s final moments, Mitty finally has the self-assurance to take the hand of the woman he admires and, now with girlfriend and a rugged tan, he strides into manhood. It’s a beautiful movie, and as a fellow daydreamer I found much in common with Mitty. But watching the final scene left me with a question: How different would the movie have been if the protagonist had been female? When I tried to think of a movie that did feature a female version of the Mitty archetype, I came up short. There are precious few examples of heroines in popular media, in spite of the abundance of real women living admirable, movie-plot-worthy lives.
This is all to say that I chose to move partly as a way to answer that question for myself. If there was a lack of role models, real or fictional, I would have to become one for myself. There is an expression writing professors like to dispel: “Write the book you wish you could read.” But I would take that advice one step further and say: Live the story you wish you could read. Be the woman you wish you could see more of in movies and the news.
The wonderful thing is that the moment you take the first steps into your new story, you begin meeting and hearing the very stories you were craving to hear. Brave women, kind men, wise trees. These were all waiting for me here. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I have loved meeting them.
Hasta que nos encontremos en la calle,
¡Agradecería cualquiera ayuda que tú como hispanohablante puedas dar al proyecto! Si ves algún error en el contenido o los retratos, por favor avísame. Me cuesta mucho hacer las transcripciones y traducciones de las entrevistas, entonces si apañas a hacerlas ¡te invito! Te pagaré con un abrazo virtual o con una chela, si vives en Valpo.
This is more than life / this is paradise