I am not sure when it started, maybe after we toured Tierra del Fuego. All the hype and excitement of getting to Ushuaia was followed by a strange feeling of what now? Hitting the end of South America was a huge goal and we had not thought that much about what we were going to do next. We also had not really decided yet on when the trip should end. Traveling up the Atlantic coast of Argentina I felt that we were starting to get into a bit of a funk.
We were tired. Long days of boring drives through the endless pampa and bad wind when we tried to stop to rest began to wear us out. Also, we noticed that we were not taking many pictures anymore. Sam seemed tired of camping and driving and just seemed to want to go north. I wanted to slow down because to me, north meant the end of the trip was getting closer. But I did not have any real idea of what I wanted to see.
After Valdes, we spent another ten days or so moving north even though we only took a few pictures along the way. I started to realize that the beautiful things we were seeing everyday did not have the same impact as they did a year before. Camping alone on beautiful deserted beaches on the coast of Argentina was nice, but it just felt like a normal day in our lives now. We had lost the “wow” factor and it bothered me deeply.
I felt like we were so lucky for every day of this trip. I should be over flowing with joy and gratitude. But I had to dig deep now to remind myself how lucky we were to be seeing these things. I came to realize that it was possible to maybe travel too long without a break. The extraordinary had become ordinary and I did not like it one bit.
Having been on the move for almost two years without much of a rest and seeing so many, SO MANY, beautiful places in the world, we realized we had become a bit saturated. We both agreed that maybe it was time to head home for a while. Get back into a routine and start to crave again the freedom we were starting to take for granted. I did not really want to leave South America, I loved it. But I think we both kind of felt it was time to start looking for a shipping date and start to seriously consider going home.
Here is a brief overview of our final time in Argentina with the XP:
Faster than we wanted we found a shipping date and were locked in. We had originally thought about heading back to the lake district of Argentina for a few more weeks of hiking. However, our clutch that was “repaired” in Chile was getting soft again and we were concerned about it possibly failing in the remote parts of Patagonia with no way to fix it. So instead of more mountain hikes, we made a plan to head to Uruguay to pick up a replacement slave cylinder (they do not sell or import them into Argentina, we tried…) and spend our final weeks in our last new country of the trip.
With heavy hearts we started a serious push north.