On March 5, 2016 we made it as far south as we can go, at least in Titus. We added up over 30,000 miles in about 18 months to arrive in Ushuaia the southern-most town in South America. When we left in 2014 our goal was to travel before settling down and starting a family, and I think we’ve checked the travel box! As we are thinking about things today, the benefits of this past year and a half of travel really haven’t been the places we’ve seen. If we are being honest the world seems a lot more similar and less unknown than we expected: Surfline, iOverlander, Trip Advisor, OpenStreet maps, essentially, the Internet has most places pretty much mapped out. I recommend traveling with a great travel novel like Barbarian Days to really see how different our parent’s generation had it. That doesn’t mean the world is any less beautiful, just don’t be surprised when a tour bus pulls up to your amazing camp spot in Patagonia or when you see a new condo development going up in front of a previously quiet central american surf spot.
Although a lot of the unknowns are gone, what travel will always be great for is self-reflection and the chance to step back and look at your life. We replaced bad habits with good ones, we learned a new language, we dedicated time to yoga, surfing, kitesurfing, reading, writing, cooking and meditation. New friendships formed and we now value experiences over more money or more things. Especially over owning new things.
I want to do a follow up post of some lessons learned, but right now it’s time for a cheers – to never having any dangerous moments, to meeting honest and helpful people everywhere we went, and to pulling it off while keeping our relationship intact through the highs and lows.
The obvious question is, now what? Well, we’ve already shipped Titus back to the states (we are sadly going to sell our dependable home there) and we are renting a cabana in the beach town of Matanzas, Chile, a place we love, until we fly home at the end of May. We also have to tell you, in a future post, about an amazing rock climbing trip we recently did in Argentina, our farming experience, and a 10 day silent meditation retreat coming up….
We’ll be in the states from June to September and we are so excited to spend time with our friends and family that we miss so much! Our plans for after September are up in the air right now…but one thing is for sure, we are likely derailed from the straight and narrow…
What to do in Ushuaia? Ushuaia falls in a region called Tierra del Fuego, a region known for its fierce winds and desolate, isolated terrain. Tierra del Fuego also spans Chile and Argentina, making crossing borders a regular occurrence when you are driving to Ushuaia. Before making it all the way south, I was SUPER excited that there was a King Penguin colony that decided to settle in Tierra del Fuego and was determined to stop for a visit. These big guys (second biggest penguin after the Emperor Penguin) were never found north of the South Georgia islands in Antarctica… until 2011 … when sixteen king penguins decided to call this place home. There are now over 100 penguins living in this colony, and I can’t believe we got to witness these funny animals walking around and caring for their young.
We left the penguinos behind and headed due south. The landscape started to change from the flat desolate landscape to beautiful mountains, and we stopped for a quick hike before heading into the large and surprisingly beautiful town of Ushuaia that sits along the Beagle Channel, the jumping off point for all those lucky ones who are headed to Antarctica. While we won’t be heading that far south (we have to save something for the bucket list), we did feel quite accomplished as we beamed in our photos next to the Ushuaia sign. We made it!!
We heard about the Tierra del Fuego National Park nearby and decided to head there to camp. We were again lucking out with some beautiful weather and awesome camp-spots. We even managed a 5 hour hike up to a 360 degree lookout point and felt like we were on top of the world. I can’t say enough good things about this park. There are really beautiful day hikes and great camping areas in the park, definitely worth a stop if you make it to this end of the continent.
Up until now our primary mode of transport had been Titus, with George behind the wheel. We decided it was time to give both van and driver a much needed break, and booked a ferry the 1,000 miles from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt, Chile. Both places we had been to before, but the fjords (waterways) along the coast of this part of Patagonia, Chile we had yet to explore. The hope was to see some beautiful landscapes, and maybe, if we were lucky, whales. It turned out we weren’t that lucky with marine life, but we certainly fared well with the weather and amazing sunsets. And it was just nice to relax, read, and meet some other interesting travelers on the boat for 4 days.
George and I also had ample time to talk about how to finish off the next two months in Chile before flying home on May 27th. We decided on a rock climbing trip in Bariloche, planned a few days working on ab organic farm, a 10 meditation retreat and more surfing in our favorite place, Matanzas Chile. We sure like to cram every last bit of fun in while we can 🙂 More on that later.
Hasta la proxima!