When planning the first part of this trip, Jim and I did some initial research. Nothing major though. We mainly listed the places we would like to see. Never really looked at distances or how to get around from A to B. We decided we would figure that out on the way, like most travellers do.
Since we were really keen to visit Argentina and Uruguay, we booked a flight to Buenos Aires. And decided that from there we would go to Montevideo and Punto de Diablo in Uruguay. For the way back to Bolivia, we chose to visit Iguazu and then go to Salta in Argentina. So far so good.
But when looking at the map, in Punto de Diablo, the furthers point away from Bolivia, and at the end of our stay there, we were a bit overwhelmed by the distances we had to cross. Especially since the plan was to go back over land. For economic reason, as well as to experience the vastness of Argentina as a country.
Checking and reading the blogs on the internet didn’t help, especially as Jim shared one horror story after another about the various bus trips we had to do. About the length, how boring and uncomfortable it is, and about all the things that can go wrong. And suddenly, going over land did not seem a realistic option anymore. Even so much that we seriously looked for flights, and spent some considerable time discussing what to do. Especially since flying also takes a fair bit of time of going to airports, waiting, etc., and quite a bit more money.
All this information, all the issues to consider made us indecisive as to what to do, how to avoid unpleasant experiences, how to optimize our time and adventure. Till it dawned on us, and that was only a few days later, on our way to Buenos Aires, that we were paralysed by the options we had, and its foreseen and unforeseen consequences. So instead of enjoying the moment, and make the decisions along the way, as was our plan, we were caught into a focus of safety and comfort.
Of course, there is no problem with that. And of course, it is wise to take advice from fellow travellers into consideration. But playing safe, the way we were trying to do, can get in the way of doing what you want to do and even in the way of enjoying the moment to the full.
So here we are in the bus. And yes all the horror stories were true. On the way from Buenos Aires to Iguazu, our bus broke down. Which meant that, on our day of arrival, we had no time to see the falls as we planned. On our way to Corrientes, a stop half way between Iguazu and Salta, our chairs could not recline. And the trip was too short for a proper sleep, especially since we were woken up an hour before arrival for breakfast. And on our way from Corrientes to Salta, the road is so bad that my back is aching, which makes it difficult to sleep and therefore the trip very long and boring.
And you know what, even so, I’m really enjoying our trip so far. When we were in Iguazu, visiting the amazing falls, I realized how I had already forgotten about the horrors of our first bus trip. And, yesterday, Jim and I had this lovely day in Corrientes, where we spoiled ourselves with a great breakfast in the poshest coffee shop in town and a big lunch at the riverside, followed by sundowners before we were back on another bus. We did all this with the money we would otherwise have used for flights.
Our minds love the horror stories, that’s why they’re the ones most written about. I’m glad we didn’t pay too much attention to them, the stories or our minds, and stuck with the plan to enjoy the adventure.
And there’s another advantage of travelling by bus, it’s a great place to write blogs.