It’s great to be able to chat with you, Jorge. Thank you for taking time away from your busy routine to tell us about your intriguing life. From your profile, I see you served as an Officer in the Chilean Gendarmerie. First, wow, that’s impressive, and second, would you mind detailing how you got interested in being a tour guide after such a profession?
I did indeed serve as an officer in the Chilean Gendarmerie, and for about 32 years or so at that, going into retirement with the rank of colonel. During my career, I was always looking for something new and novel — one could say I have a restless spirit — so I took to climbing in the Andes mountain range. There, I tallied up more than 15 climbs at over 5.800 meters above sea-level. The adventurer in me aside, it was the exposure the Gendarmerie gave me to Chile’s geography, towns, and people that encouraged me to find another field of work that this knowledge would prove invaluable to, and that field is guiding. Few people have the first-hand experience with Chile that I have, so I feel privileged; it’s what makes my guiding-style stand out. All in all, it was these inner traits, combined with my passion for motorcycles, that lead me to found Moto Expediciones, and a great investment it has been!
How does working as a sightseeing guide compare to being an officer in the Gendarmerie?
In the Chilean Gendarmerie, and especially when you’re higher up in the ranks, the day is a constant source of worry: there are many variables to resolve, and there’s a lot of stress to handle. However, the tough nature of the work helped prepare me to be an organized, cool, calm, and collected guide; now, I can make very good route plans, and I am always prepared for any situation that may arise, so my guests can travel with ease.
You have extensive knowledge of Chile’s geography. What are your favorite things about that special part of the world?
It all boils down to one thing: the diversity. I love that there’s the Atacama Desert in the north — it hasn’t rained there for a whopping 400 years, and the silence is incredibly peaceful — and the gateway to the Antarctic in the south. Chile extends some 4329 kilometers, and boy are we fortunate to have access to such truly awesome bio and geographic diversity. The bonus is that the byproduct of all this is a loving and fraternal community; because we are so isolated from other parts of the world, the Chileans have learned to live in harmony.
In working as a motorcycle guide for Moto Expediciones, what has been the biggest highlight?
The biggest highlight is getting to know people from all over the world; learning about other people’s lives, their backgrounds, the countries they come from, all of that, is enriching, and I live to feel enriched. I also like knowing we’re making lives better with our fun tours. At Moto Expediciones, we prioritize personalizing trips and not racing through the terrain. Together, these priorities leave each and every one of our guests satisfied, both mentally and physically.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
It always involves travel and planning, and I never finish the day without some sort of exercise; it’s important to maintain physical fitness in order to best handle the bike.
Have you ever had any odd requests from clients?
Haha, well, no: “The customer is always right,” right!?
Since I’m a stranger to your part of the world, I’m curious as to what the cuisine is like. What’s your favorite Chilean dish?
We’re lucky in Chile because the food has evolved from the Mapuche (Chile’s indigenous inhabitants) in conjunction with German, French, and Spanish cuisines. The result: a unique, varied, and extremely tasty blend that just works in all the right ways. My favorite dish is a good, native chicken casserole made with local ingredients and merkén, a special smoked chili pepper.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Hmmmm, I suppose Canada and Finland; I love the cold, ice and snow.