I’ve now been in El Bolsón, Argentina for two weeks, following a rough ferry ride through the fjords in Chile and a few days in Puerto Varas.
I was looking for somewhere to stay for a longer period of time and this place had been highly recommended for that very purpose. The town is a little hippy town in the lake district with an artisan market and it’s known for its produce. The hostel is a few miles outside of town and has beautiful grounds including hammocks amongst the trees, a river flowing through the property, and a lavender garden. There’s free yoga, homemade jams for breakfast, and short walks to a trout farm and a dairy and berry farm. It’s in a valley surrounded by mountains, and is just beautiful.
I intended to stay for 10 days and am now going on 2+ weeks. I recognize back roads by the location and shapes of their puddles, I frequently act as a travel guide/concierge of sorts for other guests, and one of the staff members has had a baby and come back to work since I’ve arrived. I’ve had relaxing days walking the dirt roads amidst farms, hiking up to the carved forest (after a forest fire, local artists took to carving the remaining tree trunks into sculptures) and picnicking near waterfalls. I had a day of sailing on one of the pristine lakes and we were the only boat on the lake! I’ve had a couple more days at another lake, cliff jumping, swimming and bbq-ing with friends. It has been wonderful, but I’m anxious to get moving.
The mountains have been more elusive, hence the extra days. They taunt me everyday, but it either takes expensive cab rides or overnight trips to do most of the hikes. I’ve been trying to coordinate schedules with others and work around weather, but Mother Nature is making me miss the Colorado sun. I postponed my 7 night trek yet again today due to rain, and am having a bit of a pity party about that right now.
So yeah, going on over two weeks here and getting antsy. It’s been fascinating to watch various travelers come through, most opting to stay a few extra days too. I think I could start a gambling business on the over/under for how many additional nights people will book. It’s the on-going joke here. It’s been a good mix of Argentinos and others, so I’ve been able to practice Spanish a bit. I’d like to be spending more time practicing though, and also writing, but it has really been hard as I don’t have my own space.
I think that’s been the hardest thing for me about traveling long term. Example: I’ve been interrupted three times while meditating near the river. Who does that?! The next time I hear someone approaching me mid-meditation I think I’ll let out a loud “Ooooooooommmmm” to scare them off or freak ’em out a bit. It’s especially hard to not have my own space when I want to have a day of “living” vs. “traveling”. I do feel a separation from the other travelers in that I have come here to live and even though I’m traveling around right now, it creates a different mindset and approach that can be hard to explain.
In my traveling around the country, I’m searching for where I want to stop and live while I write my book. I’ve been to amazing places, but they are very specific traveling destinations and I can’t quite picture myself living in any of them yet. El Bolsón is the place I can most picture myself so far, but I still don’t have that certain feeling I’m looking for in a place. I’m hoping to spend a few more weeks exploring the lake district and then onward to Mendoza. Anything can happen though!