Ask children to tell you about their dreams, and they can hardly catch their breath. But something happens along the way—dreams get swallowed by duty, or lost in life’s struggles.
Since 2001, Fallon has been encouraging our own to dream through a program called Dream Catchers. The idea is simple. All employees have the chance to pick a dream, save money toward it out of their paycheck over the course of three years, and Fallon matches the investment. To chase the dream, the employees draw their funds from an interest-bearing account and get two extra weeks of vacation. Dreams have ranged from finishing that art film, taking the dream vacation that got lost along the way, writing a book, running with the bulls in Pamplona, designing and landscaping the backyard, swimming in the Pacific Ocean, and adopting a little girl from China. Since creating the program, over 250 dreams have been realized.
So, when we speak about the power of dreams, we speak from experience. Lauren May is our spotlight on Dreamcatchers this month, describing her once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Patagonia. Here’s her story:
Viento, mucho viento. The wind, I will never forget the wind of southern Chile and Argentina. As part of my Dream Catchers experience, I traveled to a place I would have never had the reason or opportunity to go to otherwise─Southern Patagonia. The timing for this trip was perfect. My aunt, uncle, another friend and I decided to meet my cousin and her boyfriend in Punta Arenas, Chile, after their four-month research trip in Antarctica working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The six of us piled into a 2000 Chevy Astro van and spent two weeks traveling around the desolate, vast landscapes─starting in Punta Arenas and driving north to Torres del Paine National Park, where we saw the camel-like guanaco running free in large herds. We then crossed the border into Argentina, driving over 60 km down a horrific dirt highway on the way to El Calafate, a quaint tourist town that serves as the staging ground for the Perito Moreno Glacier. The face of this glacier is over three miles wide, and is known as one of only three glaciers in South America that is still growing. We were lucky enough to see an icefall over 200 feet tall, which I also captured on video.
We continued into Argentina, toward the frontier town of El Chalten, known as the trekking (hiking) capital of Argentina. This town sits at the base of Mount Fitz Roy and is known for its unpredictable weather and the swirling clouds that usually envelop the peak. Our day trek to Lago de los Tres (approximately 16 miles, round trip) took us through all climates and terrain; climbing over 1,800 feet in the last mile alone to reach the overlook of Fitz Roy.
During our 15 minutes at the lookout, the wind died down and the clouds parted, giving us a beautiful view of the peak. After trekking, drinking wine and eating our way through Southern Patagonia, we flew four hours north to Santiago, Chile, where we had a more urban cultural experience. The city itself was beautiful, with classic and modern architecture working together in this tropical landscape. But the smog was intense; with mountains surrounding the city, there is nowhere for it to go. Where Patagonia was cool and windy, Santiago was hot and humid.
Siesta time was a welcome relief from the heat, and the lovely outdoor meals at night were a nice balance to things. My adventures have taught me an appreciation for knowing a second language, how amazing it is to spend time out in nature and how to respect the beauty of a land that is truly at “el fin del mundo” (the end of the earth).