It was going to be a long bus ride, the longest I’ve ever had. 32 hours of rolling vast landscape, changing like in a slo-mo from arid steppes to rigged mountains. Me and me somewhere between Bariloche and South Patagonia.
“I told you I’ll be back.”
“So heartbroken and so in love… this is how you left Patagonia three years ago.”
“It was my first long distance solo trip, it’s like first love – challenging, beautiful and romantic, mostly not long lasting, but memorable for life time. And Patagonia was the perfect place to experience that.”
Lago Argentino, sunrise. One thing I absolutely love about overnight bus rides is waking up with the rising sun.
“You love thinking back of that journey. Heartbroken when boarding the plane taking you away from there, and surprisingly calm, as if you knew, it wouldn’t take you long to come back. I know that calm feeling of yours so well: with calmness and confidence facing apparent losses, as if you can foresee the future and find no reasons to worry, because the loss is not real. Sometimes you call it intuition…”
“Not this time. I think I stumbled upon Patagonia’s most magical secret, it’s ability to change ones life. It changed changed the course of my life within only nine days. I was not a romantic explorer of past centuries in search of fame and prosperity, neither an adrenaline craving adventurer willing to challenge myself in rough and edgy wilderness. I was an unexperienced, unconfident person longing for freedom carefully testing myself, fully unaware of the actual magnitude of the chosen destination. Patagonia made me a stronger person – I think my traveler career began there. The trick was to seduce me with absolutely stunning natural beauty, so that I became addictive. Then it outlined my limits and pushed me to overcome my fears. In most of cases I had no choice but to deal with the challenges I trapped myself into. It worked!”
Climbing glaciers for someone with fears of heights.
“That striking beautiful, intriguing, and most important, unpredictable environment. Not everything went well on that journey. As if my standard set of beginner-solo-traveler fears was not enough, I experienced the harsh and erratic temper of Patagonia. I sensed unbelievable sense of achievement paired with the pain of growth. Just nine days.”
“You still can’t believe it happened to you…”
“You bet! I learned valuable lessons there while experiencing unfamiliar, crucial situations, and ultimately became a free person – free of my own mental boundaries. After Patagonia I realised, I can undertake any journey at any given moment, solo or not – I choose. I am free in my choice of destinations, timing and company. I grew up! Isn’t it a wonderful thought?”
“So liberating! No wonder Patagonia resonated with you so well. But why are you going back there? Don’t you tell me you have expectations.”
“This is so wrong! We agreed to travel with no expectations! Remember? No expectations, no disappointments.”
“And no risk, no champaign! Stop being such a… Don’t you understand I have no time for this.”
“Exactly, no time for visiting favourite places. Patagonia changed your life once, but it is illusional to think, that it’s going to happen to you again.. You can’t choose the place and the time and EXPECT IT to happen.”
“What if I can? I know the challenges won’t be the same, may be there is none left for me at all. But is that the only recipe? Patagonia is never the same, way too unpredictable. I am not the same, carrying different baggage with me this time, called confusion,burn out, and tons of mind-boggling questions. They are so exhausting, they need to be answered very soon. Am I so wrong hoping that a place, that resonates with me like no other spot in the world, is capable of shaking my core again? I will change my life, this much I know. But I am exhausted and lost. I desperately need energy, which I hope find here.”
“Hope is not expectation. I have no doubts you will remover here, but don’t expect more.”
“I do!! In fact I have HUGE EXPECTATIONS. I expect MAGIC, and nothing less than that. If heaven has planed something grand for me, its going to happen here. I just know it, call it intuition…”
“Enough! You better focus on landscape. We are almost there. Isn’t it magical?”