My First Tornado is a Little Devil

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Day 353: Iquique, Chile

The biggest natural disaster on my mind was an earthquake, which I’ve been told is a very regular occurrance but usually just tremors and not big ones.

But I have noticed something else to be fearful of…


Northern Chile is flat and hot and the perfect terrain for these little tornadoes that I’ve seen along highways.

Often called diablitos, children run toward these and try to jump in the middle.

Okay that is loca, but…

Maybe I can scratch this one off my list of things to be afraid of…earthquakes are still on the list, above attack by wild boars.

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    1. Great photo – I loved tornado season in Iowa … until one wiped out four blocks of my college town!

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        I’ve come to learn that we’re lucky in Canada, sure it’s cold but we don’t have to deal with any tropical storms.

      2. Heidi Reyes says:

        Yes, I live in Iowa and it is known for destructive tornadoes! We don’t even get the biggest ones, which happen much further south.

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          I can only imagine, even the little ones scare me.

    2. Hi,
      With all due respect, I’m wondering why you chose to do a newsletter. Why not just post everything on your blog?
      I subscribe to a couple of newsletters but honestly I never read them. I don’t see the point.
      What was the motivating factor?

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Good question Paul.

        The content in the newsletter isn’t related to travel but aims to inspire other people to seek what they want in life. I wanted change so I sold everything and bought a one-way ticket to Mexico but I don’t think everyone needs to do that. So my hope is to include things I’ve learned and read that I want to share with others.

        The newsletter is not for everyone. I know that but I do hope that some people enjoy it. If you don’t read newsletters that’s okay, I’ll continue to post on the site as well.

        1. Ayngelina,
          Thanks for answering my question. I’m glad that you saw that it was an opportunity to give more information about the newsletter.
          I like the idea now that it is clearer. I’m going to give it a shot and sign up. I’ll let you know if I continue to read it 😉
          Your blog is really great because of the honesty and life lessons in your writing.
          On an unrelated note, how can I get my avatar to show up? I’m not liking the blank square.

          1. Ayngelina Author says:

            Of course, you’re a good guy I knew you weren’t just trying to stir the pot.

            To get an avatar go to and you can upload a photo, any site you comment on that supports gravatar (maybe 80%) will start showing your photo.

            1. Thanks for the direction to gravatar!

            2. Ayngelina Author says:


            3. Forgive me this post but just testing to see if the gravatar took hold. Sending..

    3. I saw some tornadoes in Nevada last year. I was pretty excited too!!

    4. Growing up in El Paso, Texas, these dust devils were a common site – and yes, we would all try to jump into the middle! It feels weird and exhilarating!

    5. The Dropout says:

      We call one of those little tornadoes a “willy-willy” in Australia. They’re just a nuisance, blowing dust and leaves around.
      Tornadoes, typhoons and cyclones are a whole different matter.
      Now let me be off to sign up for your newletter thingie.

    6. So are these “safe” tornadoes? If children are playing in these little tornadoes then does that mean they’re harmless . . . or the children have an unhealthy death wish? I’ve been afraid of tornadoes ever since out racing one while driving a mini-van, but that was a scarier type of tornado that tore out trees and wiped out rooftops. Eee.

    7. Yes, lovely photo. I got caught by one of those in the Negev, in Israel.

      They won’t blow you away or anything but they do sting!

    8. I like the photo. It doesn’t seem to happen too much here in Chile.
      I’d be more afraid of the quakes where you can’t do anything more than tornadoes where you just run like hell the other way (at least you can see them coming).
      Rob W.

    9. Christina Raye says:

      Nice shot! Really, los niños run towards it? No sirens and running in shelters? Lol. Must’ve been fun.

    10. I would wrestle that mini tornado. 🙂

    11. Oh and they call them Dust Devils down in the US – similar, just English.

      They are caused by air warming up quickly over land. Nothing dangerous.

    12. Well, at least that one doesn’t look too scary! And you got a great photo!

    13. Why is it that I am just hearing about this now? A mother can only handle so many white hairs….great photo…looks like you were a safe distance way and that is where I like you to be a all times.

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        I was far far away…for now.

    14. Jozef @ Where Now says:

      Wow we are heading to Chile in the next weeks so will look forward to seeing some of these things!

      If I get the chance might try and get in the middle hehe

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Maybe we’ll cross paths and I’ll watch you go first.

        1. Jozef @ Where Now says:

          hehe we probably will at some point!! We are leaving from santiago on 3 May

    15. Wild boars?? Did this fear develop after watching Lost???

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        It’s very likely it stemmed from Lost, or Lord of the Flies, but most likely Lost.

    16. Ooh! I wanna jump in!

    17. Free exfoliation treatment? 🙂

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        They do charge crazy amounts for a desert sand scrub so this is the backpacker’s option.

    18. Christina says:

      Wow, great picture. I’m glad I’ve never seen one up close though.

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Well now with everyone saying it’s safe to jump in I may consider it!

    19. I had no idea there were tornados in Chile. Who knew?

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Well based on South America ME’s comment it may just be in the North as he lives in Santiago.

    20. Jaime Evans says:

      First the Oilsands and now extreme weather. In 2000 a tornado in Central Alberta killed 12 people and injured more then a 100. I bet you didnt know that Canada gets more tornadoes then any other country with the exception of the US. The Calgary area is often hit with major hailstorms. One such storm in 2009 sent us to our basement sure a tornado would ensue. It also caused over 20,000 worth of damage to our house. Come to Alberta and you will also witness many of those dust devils all summer long! I have yet to see anyone jump in but I wouldn’t be surprised with these rednecks! We are not tropical but can be very extreme!!

      1. I can attest to the hail in Calgary. I was in El Salvador last summer, and came back home to discover $6000 in hail damage to my car. Thank God for insurance…:>)

    21. Lorna - the roamantics says:

      holy crap! and i thought we were crazy growing up for riding our bikes and chasing chain lightening- ha ha. i wonder what happens to them when they succeed in getting in the middle of one? bet it would feel like one of those zero-gravity experiences! love the pic 🙂

    22. adventureswithben says:

      This is a great shot. Right place, right time! I’d be a bit nervous since I’ve never experienced a tornado before.

    23. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

      Awesome shot, wait are you serious about them jumping in the middle???

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Oh yeah it’s considered fun in these parts!

    24. I love dust devils. Beautiful things, so atmospheric, and a lovely shot.

      A bona fide tornado? Not without a basement to hide in. No sirree.

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Sounds like this is coming from someone who knows her stuff. I hope my experience is limited to the dust devils.

    25. I saw lots of dust devils driving across dusty Wyoming. Dust devils and antelope. Also, one time saw a really scary tornado develop there too. :-/ Watch the sky!

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Yeah I’m hoping that these are the largest I see. I’m not a storm chaser!

    26. Omg! What a cute little devil? That’s a great capture Ayngelina!

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Ha ha I didn’t think it was so cute when we were driving toward it!

    27. Bluegreen Krik says:

      Kids dont care they will try to do anything but I must admit that I have tried do these when I was a kid as well. Wouldnt think of doing this now though. Love the photo!

    28. Hi Ayngelina

      I am just happy that I live in a country where we don’t have to deal with tropical storms, earthquake and that kind of stuff. Just look what happend in Japan.

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Yes we’re just cold!

    29. Victoriana says:

      Dustdevils are awesome! I remember making y parents stop driving when I’d see them so I could get out and chase them. I used to imagine I was one of those people on the documentaries that chase tornadoes…

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Okay you are starting to tempt me, if all the kids are doing it…

    30. I hope to see tornado one day… safely!

    31. KatieAnna says:

      i don’t know if I’d jump in. If no kids get blown away then I guess its safe to follow?

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Yes let the kids try it first!

    32. Stephanie says:

      I remember seeing my first tornado while driving to the Denver, Colorado airport. Scared the hell out of me.

      And just a couple months ago, I felt my first earthquake tremor in San Salvador. It was practically nothing according to the local family I was with, but it reminded me that we have no control over mother nature. And it reminded me that I have no clue what to do if there was a real earthquake.

    33. Mother of All Trips says:

      My husband is from Wisconsin and knows all about tornadoes. Me, not so much. The first time I saw a funnel cloud in the Midwest it scared me no end. I don’t like dangerous things that come from the sky.

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        I have never had to deal with any of this in Canada so I’m with you – the worst we get from the sky is a snowstorm.

    34. Whoa! What a photo. That’s funny that the children want to get in them–they must not be too powerful then? If you do that in a tornado in tornado alley in the US, you’re pretty much a goner.

    35. So jealous! I was in Iquique for a year and never saw a tornado! 🙂 great pic!

    36. I’m about a thousand days behind this but I got here in the end. 😀

      Whew! Tornadoes! That’s another thing to worry about when I move across the Atlantic. Here in the UK we have nothing to be afraid of, not even poisonous insects. Now I’m going to be experiencing the full works. 😛 Craziness.

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Ha I knew you’d be back 😉

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