I was born on July 4th in Santiago. My childhood was spent further south in Graneros, in the heart of the land of the Huasos - Chilean cowboys. I always thought that my parents had a more exciting life than the others. They worked hard to make the farm profitable and maintain the property, but they also traveled widely, mainly in Europe. My mother, an artist, always had that special gift of compiling the most incredible and such intimate photo albums. Whenever I looked at them, all I wanted to do was "take off" one day and travel as far away as possible. My father, a keen athlete, exceptional horseman and also a huaso, still works on his computer in Paris even at the age of 87.
© Julio Piatti
When we arrived in France, we stayed first of all at the Hôtel du Louvre, opposite the Comédie Française: my grandparents, my parents, my sister and myself. I mention this in my first book. This was the address that I gave to my school. People were amazed!
My mother left England when she was only 18 years old to settle in Chile with my father. I regard her adventure, unheard of at the time, as embodying everything that a journey should represent, whether short or long, to somewhere near or far. The unexpected, the unknown, that confrontation with a different way of life, a jump into outer space that blows you out of your mind. A bit like a rock concert at full blast, with the Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival just during the first half. And a fantastic love story.
When I landed the job of writing a report on Rwanda for the National Geographic France with a Magnum Agency photographer. This involved covering a humanitarian aid mission in which my husband was involved. A truly intensely moving experience. I knew then that this magazine was the right place for me. This is still true today.
Not a day goes by without my thoughts traveling to Chile and all the landscapes that have marked my life. Very often it doesn't take much for this to happen. A certain smell, that special light, a particular color - and immediately I feel as if I was actually there. Someone once said that you belong to the country of your childhood. This is certainly true but, as far as I am concerned, you also belong to places that were the décor for important events in your life. And I always associate them with people who mean a lot to me. Chile with my family. Scotland with my mother when she was a girl. France with my husband. Brazil with friends who gave us such wonderful times. This is why I like combining stories about people with my travel tales. We are automatically influenced by the settings that surround us. This is what I am trying to describe whilst entertaining others and enjoying myself. Because at the end of the day, that is what it's all about!
This is the only territory that is truly mine. It is my world. A universe that I have created just for myself, where I don't need a passport, or a visa, or a suitcase, or anything heavy. Only what life brings me and my memories.
El sitio aún no está disponible en español, aunque espero que lo esté pronto. Con el tiempo, mi trabajo ha ido creando un lazo cada vez más íntimo entre Chile, Escocia, Francia, los reportajes, las crónicas de viajes, los recuerdos personales (como en mi teto sobre los huasos, para National Geographic en 2007)
También espero agregar mis sueños perdidos, mis mestizajes olvidados, historias que parten en Rancagua para aterrizar en París...
Mientras tanto, en la pagina de prensa se encuentran dos entrevistas en español realizadas por Pamela Biénzobas, periodista y crítica de cine.