Tag Archives: people

INTO THE WILD

Manuel Varela has worked as a Java Developer at Santex for almost a year now. He is passionate about hiking and discovering new places.

Varela

  • When did your passion for trekking start?

I think I was 15 years old. I lived all my childhood in Rio de los Sauces (a village in the Valle de Calamuchita – Córdoba) and for a few years my dad was a wildlife ranger in the region. He protected the trout from the area against poachers. I used to go with him sometimes and take long walks along the shores of rivers. That woke in me something I had never felt before, “the pleasure of enjoying nature in its pure state”.

My first outing was at 18 with two friends. We went to the “Hidden Village” at the base of Cerro Aspero.

It’s part of a mining complex that began its operations in the late 19th century and was abandoned in the mid-twentieth century, leaving most of the facilities and machinery intact and even some of the tunnels open.

I highly recommend for people to go. It’s hard to get to by car, but you can leave the car a few miles before and just walk 🙂

  • What was the most challenging adventure you undertook?

The most challenging trip I took was a couple of years ago in Patagonia, Argentina. I went with 3 friends to tour the early stages of the “Andean footprint“,  a path linking the different lakes of various national parks in Patagonia, near the town of San Martin de los Andes in Neuquén.

The trip lasted a week, crossing the trails within the Lanin National Park. Everyday we were moving places, walking between 10 and 15 km per day carrying all our luggage on our backs. Our backpacks weighed about 20kg each, considering that we had a tent, sleeping bags, food, water and clothing among other things needed to survive that week.

The adventure was unforgettable! The landscapes were incredible. During the trip, we went through different sights like the base of the Lanin volcano (whose peak is covered with snow all year), vast forests of native trees (such as Araucaria), rivers and lakes with absolutely crystal clear waters, rivers petrified by volcanic lava and we even walked for several miles in of volcanic ash, which made walking challenging.

  • What would you recommend to someone who wants to start trekking?

You don’t need to be an expert or be physically fit or have the latest tech equipment for trekking. You just need have desire to have a good time outdoors walking around and be very curious to discover new places.

I would recommend you start walking through parks and green areas around your city with a backpack, water, and some healthy snacks (like fruit, for example).

If that you like it, you can contact one of the groups that organizes hikes on the weekends. Here in Cordoba, for example, I know of at least 10 groups that organize trekking trips around the area to spend the day and with a low level of difficulty so that everyone can do it.

As for equipment, it is important to invest in good shoes, and secondly a good backpack that fits your body.

1655437_10152207827729730_401083761_o

Manuel and his friends camping at the base of Lanin, at the Huechulafquen lake.

  • Where would you like to go next?

In the near future I plan to go with a friend to Quebrada del Condorito National Park for 2 weeks.

In the long term, I would like to continue with the stages of the “Huella Andina”. I want to continue with the trails southbound of San Martin de los Andes to reach the Nahuel Huapi National Park until I can complete it someday (there are 24 stages).

TIPS

  • Trekking is a very relaxing activity. It takes you out of the noise and fast pace of the city to meet in a quiet place with pure, fresh air. It clears your head of your problems.

  • A great book to read as inspiration is “Into the Wild”. It tells the story of a young American who was fed up with society and materialism decided to donate all his money and start traveling through the U.S. living in an abandoned bus.

LET’S ENTER FANTASY WORLD

LORENZO SAUCHELLI – PHP and Front-End Developer at Santex

lorenzo-B&N.j_v2

  • Is Lucero del Alba your first novel? Have you written anything else?

Well, it’s my first novel in quite a while, and it’s also the first one I intend to actually publish once it’s done.

When I was younger I used to spend most of my day writing (either in Spanish or English, whatever fit my mood at the moment). I wrote and completed one fantasy novel, started others that I never finished, in addition to several short stories.

I have to admit that I have recently re-read a few of my older stories and figuratively puked. My writing back then wasn’t all that good. It wasn’t bad. But I certainly thought I was better than I actually was. I hope I have grown since then and that my current stuff is actually good and not just ‘good’ in my opinion.

  • What is the novel about?

Lucero del Alba is a fantasy story about two girls who, when their parents send them to camp for the duration of their summer break, get lost in another world. One of these girls finds a strange-looking morningstar – basically a warhammer with spikes. Soon they realize the world they’re stuck in is not exactly Lord of the Rings, but a kind of prison-world for all the supernatural monsters that roamed through the ages. One of these monsters is responsible for bringing them there and intends to use them so they can break out of this supernatural prison.

  • How long have you been writing it?

I started it four years ago, plotted it, wrote some scenes, created characters and the rules of the world. However, I didn’t touch it for all of many years until recently, when I dusted off my rusty writing skills and notes and decided to go ahead and write the whole thing.

  • What inspired you to write it?

Dreams, movies, cartoons, books. Everything inspires me. I don’t think there was any one particular thing that inspired me and made me say, “Yes, that’s going to be my book!”

For instance, the concept of a girl lost in a strange fantasy world perhaps came from “Labyrinth”, which was a favorite of mine as a kid. The concept of the snarky girl protagonist came from Daria. The rest… it just gets foggy in my mind. A lot of it is inspired by stuff I wrote when I was younger: there’s this creature that’s a hulking monstrosity and it has cobras coming off its back, and it has a mask that covers its face completely. It’s my rendition of a gorgon. I wrote about this monster when I was 15, and I decided to recycle the idea into this novel, because I like how it looks in my mind’s eye.

For a while, before I finally decided to write it as a novel, I wanted to make this story into a videogame, “Battle Wizard Morningstar”. A lot of the ideas I have written in the current iteration of the novel come from this ‘gaming’ phase. I had some character models and everything set up, but discovered that the time needed to make a game is completely different from the time needed to write a novel. You can write a novel if you dedicate some fifteen minutes a day to it, but you need several hours every single day if you want to make a game.

When I finally decided that I was not making a game, but a novel instead, I started writing in English, with the working title of “Morningstar”. I thought that it would have a better chance of finding readers if it was written in English. However soon I scratched that idea and translated everything back to Spanish, and consequently it became “Lucero del Alba” again.

I will probably write it in English sooner or later, but for now I’m focusing on finishing it in Spanish.

  • Who are your favorite authors?

There are way too many to make a list. But the ones I like to read and re-read quite often are probably Borges, Tolkien, Hemingway, Doyle, Christie, and a few others.

Currently I’m a fan of Max Landis, a writer who has an amazing ability to pitch incredible stories in the blink of an eye. He’s also behind two of my favorite short movies of all time: “The Death and Return of Superman” and “Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling”. He also wrote “Chronicle”, a fantastic story about kids who gain telekinetic powers.

  • What’s your dream as a writer?

To publish my book and have people I know read it and tell me what they think. Does it suck? Is it good? Did you like that thing that happened in the sixth chapter? I want to have this conversation with people in real life.

After that? I will hopefully start another novel right after the first one is complete.

You can read some of Lorenzo’s work here