What I love about Patagonia is that everyone here is equal. It doesn’t matter if you are a banker, an artist, a doctor, or a politician; when you are in Patagonia, Mother Nature brings you back to a kind of utter uncomplicatedness which words cannot describe. For that very reason, Patagonia is an area where you can escape the hectic hustle bustle of the city in order to reconcile yourself with the purest, most basic natural simplicity of just being.
Let me introduce to you Paz Bascuñan. This friendly and beautiful Chilean actress spent a few days with us at EcoCamp Patagonia, at the very heart of Torres del Paine National Park. Paz came here with her husband to recharge their batteries. The happy mother of two is the grand-daughter of Patricio Aylwin (Chile’s former president) and the daughter of another politician. Paz started her career as a theater actress, and her talent was such that she soon began starring in various soap operas. She has acted in Cerro Alegre (1999), Piel Canela (2001), Puertas adentro (2003) and Complices (2006). In addition, Paz has worked in various movies including Santos, Normal con Alas (2007) and Seis (2009). In 2012, Paz gained national fame in her role as the comic character of Cristina in the successful soap opera Soltera Otra Vez, which ran successfully for two complete seasons.
The trip to Patagonia was a unique birthday gift for Paz’s husband. Paz wanted to give her husband an unusual experience, something which would allow them to forget all about the complexities of city life and just enjoy nature. After careful research, Paz made the decision to stay at EcoCamp Patagonia - the world’s first geodesic hotel. However, the trip has exceeded all expectations, since Paz never imagined how completely unique their experience would turn out to be. Below is an interview with the big-hearted artist who, along with her husband, has rediscovered the southern extremity of her beautiful native country.
Tell us all about your life!
I am a passionate mother of two, and this is my first trip without my children. My husband and I both love hiking and nature, but we have not had the time to get outdoors since the birth of our son 5 years ago. Therefore I decided it was time to ‘make time’ and recharge our batteries together as a couple.
What is the life of an actress like?
I love my job. I have focused on a television career, acting in a number of TV programs, as this is what makes me comfortable and fits into my lifestyle. I have also produced and directed films as a result of my husband`s influence – he is a producer. I enjoyed working in the film industry, but the entire process takes too long for me; for example, one scene make take up to 3 days to film. Whereas on TV, the wheel spins faster, and you can complete up to 20 scenes in one day. This fast pace suits my personality better.
Why did you decide to come to EcoCamp Patagonia?
When I was researching the hotels in the area, I found many to offer the standard level of services. However at EcoCamp, the philosophy is so different, it respects the environment and is more connected with nature. EcoCamp is a place that invites you to feel part of the environment, and contribute to sustaining the environment by minimizing your footprint. I also chose EcoCamp firstly to disconnect; there is no access to the internet, which therefore frees up time to allow you to be more connected with others and with nature. Every day you are reminded to be aware of the environment. Therefore the ethos of EcoCamp is admirable and better than other hotels, which make no effort to provide sustainable touristic services in the Park.
You spent the night in a Suite Dome. What did you think of the concept of dome?
It was great, the dome was a romantic nest surrounded by nature. The simplicity of the concept is beautiful. After a great day of trekking in the Park, coming home to our dome was fantastic. The domes are well-integrated into nature, unlike many other hotels which look like eyesores, being big structures stuck in the middle of the natural beauty of the Park. EcoCamp`s various domes do not interfere with the natural beauty of the landscape.
What do you do for a more sustainable lifestyle?
The question we have as parents is: what kind of world do we want to leave our children? I think that one great way is choosing schools which are concerned about the environment. Education is fundamental to sustainability. I really care about recycling, we recycle at home. But we decided to choose a specific organization in another municipality for recycling, to ensure that our waste is properly recycled.
Why do you think it is so important to protect the natural heritage of Patagonia?
I can hardly think of a more beautiful place than Patagonia. We traveled a lot when we were young, but Patagonia is the most unique and stunning place that we have traveled to. And for that reason it is listed as one of the most beautiful places on Earth! It is painful to think about the fires which occurred in Patagonia due to the negligence of people. The fire in 2011 in Torres del Paine National Park has had devastating consequences. Mother Nature needs at least 10 years to regenerate. To prevent this from happening again in such a special place, where thoughtless actions can have such catastrophic consequences, we need to step up our efforts to conserve the park and its natural beauty.
What do you think Torres del Paine National Park represents for Chileans?
Torres del Paine is a national pride for Chile. Visiting the Park is a trip that many people want to do, it is a dream trip for all students. Many people travel to Torres del Paine in their youth, and their experience with nature generates memories to last a lifetime.
You participated in excursions every day whilst at EcoCamp. How would you rate your trekking experience in the National Park?
Spectacular! Everyone at EcoCamp we have encountered has been very cool. People who come to EcoCamp share common values and interests, so there is an instantaneous bond. During our excursions, we got to know more than just the incredible landscapes - we had the pleasure of getting to know the guests and the guides. There was so much love shared by all. The human experience has been unique.
What do you love most about travel?
Travel is very educational. Travel broadens your mind, opens your heart and makes you more flexible and understanding to cultural differences. I once got the opportunity to travel in Africa (Mali, Benin, Ghana, Togo and Burkina Fasa), accompanying Ricardo Astorga. Ricardo is a wonderful person and a well-known Chilean host. The trip was the most rewarding experience of my life, as it allowed me to open up and experience another world. At that point in my life I was materialistic and loved luxuries, however traveling allowed me to turn my back on consumerism and make my life more simple. It enabled me to escape the foibles of the city. Traveling teaches you to respect others and nature. In any type of travel, there is an inner journey. The enriching experience of traveling allows one to understand the differences which make up our world: different people, cultures and landscapes. These differences leave you speechless, and this is what I have also experienced in Torres del Paine.
What is the most memorable thing you experienced during your trip to Torres del Paine?
Our trek to Base Torres (Base Towers). We experienced a difficult climate; there were strong winds and snow. However, the entire experience was incredible, and as in silence we entered the forest, we could hear our footsteps crunching in the snow, the birds melodically chirping. And then all of a sudden we noticed something moving in between the trees, and to our surprise we saw a Huemul (South Andean Deer)! Seeing this animal, which is endangered and hard to spot, was an unforgettable experience. However, that said, our entire trip has been unforgettable. Trekking in Torres del Paine is just epic!
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