I have writer’s block. Or everything block. I haven’t found the inspiration to write anything remotely informative or helpful on my blog so we are just going to ramble straight off the dome. The travel burnout has been real for the past few weeks and I definitely haven’t been helping my case with all of the late night dancing that I’ve been putting myself through.
It seems like it’s been taking more and more rest days to bounce back enough to go on an exhilarating adventure. I’m fondly reminiscing on that time in Vietnam when I took 5 night buses in 7 days and would be able to hop off at 6 AM, immediately rent a bicycle and then cruise through the countryside for hours. That energy is no longer there.
I missed my first bus ever last week, an 8 AM journey from Cordoba to Buenos Aires. I spent all night partying, came back to the hostel at around 6:30 AM, and then couldn’t even keep my eyes open for that extra half hour before I had to head to the bus station. Bye bye, $40. I decided to use the same strategy the following morning, mostly just to check if I still had it in me. If I didn’t, then I knew it was time to retire as The Partying Traveler. An 8 AM bus after another late night at an Argentinian boliche. I fell asleep again at around 6 AM, but this time was able to wake up for my alarm. Thank god, because my money is disappearing and I can’t keep setting it on fire like that.
Think I’d be able to get some rest once I finally got to Buenos Aires? Nope. My friend that I had met in Ecuador invited me to a pub crawl on Saturday night, and not wanting to miss out on a weekend in Buenos Aires, I agreed. I hopped off the bus, checked into my hostel, and went straight to my friend’s hostel to begin the festivities. That night was lame, yet there I was again, meandering home at 5 in the morning. We met some Brazilians that night who lived in Buenos Aires and the following few nights were spent eating dinner at 1 AM and casually drinking until 4 or 5 AM. It was also Carnival week across the world, and while Buenos Aires isn’t exactly known for its celebrations, it still got pretty wild.
Needless to say, when I finally got to Bariloche, I was burnt out. I slept through the entire 2 and a half hour flight, but thankfully woke up just a few minutes before landing so I could catch a glimpse of the snow-capped mountains and stunning lakes. The airport situation was a bit of a hassle, and getting into town without the national bus pass card was proving to be difficult. I overpaid for a shuttle to the bus terminal, overpaid for a bus pass there, and then finally got on my merry way to my hostel… which happened to be another 40 minutes past the city center of Bariloche.
But for the first time in a few weeks, I was feeling the joy of adventure again. I hiked my corpse of a body for an hour to catch my first sunset over the lake with some beautiful mountains in the background. I loved Buenos Aires and truly enjoyed my empanada-filled days in Cordoba, but for some reason, it all felt like business as usual. A lot of people often ask if travel ever gets dull for me. I always say no, because for me, it doesn’t. Objectively, some of my days are quite dull, though. Each day is different and whether or not you do anything particularly exciting, there is always something to enjoy about that day. I try not to compare destinations or days or cities or countries. There’s really no point in doing that.
You are where you are and if you can’t change that, then there is no use sulking. Each day should be lived to its best, whether you spend it adventuring to the top of a mountain or sleeping for 15 hours, which I did my first night in Bariloche. I deserved that shit, yo. Life is about balance, and I’m quickly learning that getting one hour of sleep one night and 15 hours of sleep the next is not the same as sleeping 8 hours for two nights.
I have completely gone off topic but like I said, my best cure for writer’s block is just randomly rambling and hoping that at least 17% of what I’ve written is remotely coherent. The majority of what I write on here is for others and rarely for myself, and let me tell you, it gets DULL constantly writing “the backpacker’s guide to…” I love helping fellow travelers out and try to make it as relevant and informative as possible, but damn it if I have to write out a bus schedule one more time I will lose it. It is quite often as dull as riding the buses themselves.
Anyway, I’ve titled this the Patagonia Chronicles and very little of it has to do with actual Patagonia. So let me throw in a paragraph or two about LAKE TAHOE.
I mean, BARILOCHE.
This town of 100,000 or so people feels like a hybrid of a lot of different places that I’ve been. In the past couple of days, I’ve referred to it as Lago Tahoe, Big Banff, Spicy Colorado. The vibe here is pretty rad, but also not what I was expecting. After adventuring through other outdoorsy adventure towns like Huaraz, Cusco, La Paz, and San Pedro de Atacama, I was taken aback at how sexy Bariloche was.
Bariloche feels much more like something you would find in Switzerland, Bavaria, Colorado, or Alberta. Argentina is much more European and Western than I ever expected, which is weird because it is literally like the furthest country south in South America. Same goes for Chile. I know this is just the beginning of my Patagonian adventures, and to be fair, Bariloche is one of the largest cities in Patagonia, but I was actually not expecting it to be this civilized.
When fellow travelers spoke to me about camping and hitchhiking and couchsurfing, I was expecting a wide open unknown that could only be tamed by the boldest of travelers. Bariloche has a McDonald’s. I even ate there twice. While I’ve been loving the fresh air and the mountains and stunning lakes of Bariloche, it feels a lot like where you’d go on a family camping trip when you were 7 than a destination to be conquered.
I think there is something that turns me on about those rugged, filthy, raw, and unfiltered adventures. After I spent six weeks on a photography commitment in Bali last year, I literally couldn’t get out of the country fast enough. Bali was far too posh and comfortable and my adventure senses had almost completely shut down. I flew to Sri Lanka, the closest country that I felt could challenge me and push me far out of my comfort zone. Hanging out of packed local buses, safari-ing with the elephants and leopards, and monstrous sunrise hikes was much more my thing.
Again, I am aware that this is the beginning of my Patagonian adventures. Bariloche is the gateway to Patagonia and is understandably much more modern and developed than the unchartered territories that I will be traipsing my way through. There is much, much more to be discovered. And I make this mistake time and time again. I’ll write about a destination after spending a few days there only to be proven wrong. I did it with Bali, with La Paz, with Lima, and many more places that I’ve learned to love.
Keep an eye out for when I inevitably write my apology post to Bariloche.