Traveling is hard work, it turns out.
I’ve had several well-travelled friends warn me of this, “be sure to plan plenty of down time” they all said. One friend recently reminded me that there is a big difference between traveling and vacation. The trick to enjoying the long-haul is to sprinkle just the right amount of vacation into your travels.
I realize now that Glenn and I have been unknowingly in vacation mode for ~6 weeks. Add to that the weeks of stress and never ending to do lists preparing to leave and it’s no wonder we found ourselves completely worn out recently.
We have both gotten sick recently (me with traveler’s tummy – likely culprit some fresh fruit juice; Glenn with mild sunstroke, which led to dehydration and a fever, which eventually led to kidney stones). I’ve been so fatigued my right eye has started to sag so that I look like I’m walking around partially winking at everyone. On top of it all I am currently on the front end of a cold, I fear.
Clearly, it was time to take a break. To rest, relax and recuperate.
Which is easier said than done. In the past week Glenn and I have had to come to terms with the fact that it is okay to sit still for a bit. We don’t have to be out exploring and adventuring every single day. Our bodies are making it quite clear that if we don’t voluntarily slow down, they will take matters into their own hands.
So, we decided to make our way to a small lake town nestled in the coastal mountain area of southern Chile called Puerto Varas. It is late winter here which means it is a bit rainy and the daily high temperatures remain below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
A perfect place for a bit of forced downtime.
I’ve spent the past several days curled up next to the hotel fireplace with a pot of tea and a mindless historical romance book. Glenn has enjoyed hours of silly videos on YouTube and other gems offered up by different click-bait sites (e.g., “A farmer explored the abandoned barn, you won’t believe what he found…”).
It has helped that we are here during the celebration of Chile’s independence, known as Fiestas Patrias – a time when the whole country takes time off, travels to visit family and is in a very festive mood. Imagine the 4th of July in the United States, on steroids. It is a week long celebration that culminates in two days (September 18 and 19) where everything closes down (stores, restaurants, etc.) and everyone in town gathers for huge barbecues (over $50 million of meat is grilled, by some estimates) and grand parades. Chile’s flag adorns countless buildings, homes, cars and small children lining the parade routes.
Because everything is closed there isn’t anything we could be out doing, even if we wanted to. So, relax and chill it is – whether we like it or not.
We’ve taken this time to begin getting back into a regular exercise regimen by going for some relaxing runs. It turns out another pitfall of being in vacation mode is the tendency to eat mindlessly and to skip daily workouts – not a good habit to get into.
We’ll be back out exploring and adventuring again soon, but for now we are settling into the quiet life just fine. In the meantime, our biggest excitement of the day will be deciding which café in town to walk to for our afternoon coffee break.