Time Traveling in Santiago and Valparaiso

Jun 01, 2015


After spending three and a half days in Santiago de Chile and quite enjoying our time there, we arrived in Valparaiso, a medium-sized bohemian port-city set on the Pacific Ocean with a large Naval presence. What I found to be so cool about this part of our travels is that my Great-Grandfather, John R. Hays, also spent time in both of these cities 110 years ago, to the month, as he sailed from New York

S.S. Dakota

City to Seattle, Washington aboard the S.S. Dakota with the U.S. Navy. Mind you, back in those days, the Panama Canal didn’t exist. You want to go out West by sea? You’ve got a long ride ahead of you. Even more interesting, we were born 100 years and 5 months apart. Meaning that at the ages of 19 and 28, Great-Grandfather and Great-Granddaughter traveled together, simply separated by time.

I love knowing that my Great-Grandfather walked the same streets as me, saw some of the same things as me, heck, maybe even grabbed a beer in the same general area as me – he saw the same part of the world, outside of our respective homes, as me. The world is a big place and to travel to some of the same places as a distant relative a century later, there is something so amazing about it. I wish that I could hop back in time and see what he saw, to see how different things looked for him compared to what I’ve seen of these two places. Obviously and stunningly different, but what an amazing time it must have been. I love it 

I also love knowing that a small part of me is represented by him; that one eighth of my blood is that of a man who set out on an adventure to see the world. It’s almost as if there is something present in our DNA that draws us out into the unknown. I love that too.

I never really knew much about my Great-Grandfather until sometime within the last few years or so. My Grandfather passed away and as usual, old things from times past come out from under the dust to be re-discovered. My Dad laid claim to many of my Great-

Autobiography of Capt. John R. Hays

Grandfather’s items, including a hand-written autobiography that captured his life from when he was about five or six years old until into his mid-thirties. I find these sorts of things interesting so my Dad asked me to help him transcribe the entire book. So during the summer of 2013, we spent several afternoons, with my Dad dictating and myself typing. It was then that I discovered the many adventures, shenanigans, and many interesting life-happenings of my Great-Grandfather. That was when I also discovered the kindred spirit we shared in our desire to travel and see new things.

With all of that being said, many may not find it so interesting to have simply been to the same places as a family member. But that’s OK this isn’t necessarily for you. I just find it so very interesting to have such a similar history to a family member who lived 100 years ago and was born almost exactly 100 years before me.

So get out there, create your own story, and write it down. You never know who may find it next!


Roam on!





Written by Jen Hays
Jen is a marketer with a passion for the digital world and an insatiable desire to travel and explore all that the physical world has to offer; marrying the two to share her experiences with and inspire all who join her along the way.

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Tags: Family, Travel

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