|Courtyard at Centro de Extension, Santiago|
My passion for travel is fueled by the foreign sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that stimulate my mind and senses. Typically I'll go out and wander around with my backpack of supplies to scout a place to paint while thinking: "What looks interesting? Good God, this pack is heavy. Watch out for dog doo! Where can I sit? What if I have to pee? I hope I remembered my map so I can find my way back. Oh, no, is that guy going to bother me?" Yesterday I was strolling around alone in my Santiago neighborhood with a burning desire to paint, simultaneously feeling conspicuous and vulnerable, when I passed an institutional-looking building and spied a sunlit courtyard through an open doorway. It was so inviting that I invited myself inside and fortunately it was a public space so no one objected. Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile, Centro de Extension offered architectural interest, trees, people, a fountain, and the potential for English-speakers and toilets, if needed. Score! I will keep similar locations in mind for the future.