Day 17 – 18 Mar, 2015
It’s strange sitting at the airport after 17 days of travel, yet I’m not going home. Not even close. This morning I pulled my hiking shoes out for the first time as I prepare to switch gears from sandals and the thick, warm air of Uruguay and Buenos Aires to the wind-blown wild frontier of Patagonia.
In the first 2 weeks of this journey, I have strolled on the beaches of the Uruguayan coast with salt water in my hair and sand between my toes, soaking in the warmth of the sun after the Chicago winter.
I have climbed to the top of the whitewashed lighthouse in old town Colonia and whiled away an entire afternoon sipping on a 1 litre beer.
I have coasted on a bike from a family-run winery to the shore of Rio de la Plata in rural Carmelo, accidentally stumbled upon an ostrich farm, sampled ice cream in the town square, and shared a bottle of wine with a new friend.
I have been lost in Recoletta Cemetary, admired the merchandise in San Telmo market, and found quiet in the Constanera Sur Reserva Ecologica in Buenos Aires.
I have learned to dance tango, even knowing that I could never be on par with the professionals and their perfect leg flicks and passionate tango faces.
I have made many new friends from all over the world which has eased the melancholy of missing home. There was Chambe, the fútbol coach from Boston, traveling indefinitely through South America visiting youth soccer camps. Also, Freddie and Harry from England, two brothers who know how to liven up a bonfire with creative drinking games. Aaron, the film producer from LA, who spent an entire day shopping with me in San Telmo. Stuart, from South Africa, accompanied me to tango lessons followed by several glasses of Malbec and a tango show. Jen, from Arizona, is also on a year long sabbatical like me and we spent 3 days traveling together from Colonia to Buenos Aires before she flew off to reunite with her Peruvian boyfriend she acquired during her stay. There will be many more friends in the months to come, I have no doubt, but for now I have returned to solitude and am on my way south to see what adventures await in the mountains.