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What I Wonder When I Wander: Have we lost our travel mojo?

What I Wonder When I Wander: Have we lost our travel mojo?

Last Updated on February 22, 2021

This is something I never thought I would say, but it is a confession I must make nonetheless. After five months of three straight housesits, I don’t know if I have what it takes to get out and travel again.

But that is exactly what is going to happen in November when we fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina! For those of you not signed up to our newsletter, we recently announced that it is finally time for us to travel to South America, starting in Buenos Aires! Technically, because we are spending the whole month of November in the city, we won’t be ‘traveling’, but the balancing act will return. In smaller cities and especially at these beach houses we have been housesitting lately, maintaining a balance between work and social lives is easy, but in a city like Buenos Aires, we will be jumping head first into a schedule that has us out exploring the incredible city all day, eating dinner at 10pm, going out at midnight. At the moment, we’re in bed by 10pm.

After the month Buenos Aires, we will probably jump right on the trail, traveling down to Patagonia, back up into Mendoza and then on to the rest of South America for six months or more. For those of you reading this who have not done long term travel, the ‘trail’ is this magnetic path that most travelers are drawn to travel on and no matter how often you hop off to do that ‘off the beaten path’ exploring, the trail pulls you back. After all, those places that lie right on the beaten path are usually the best, if also the easiest, places to visit while on the road.

dani preparing for south america

Getting ready to hit the road again

We do our best to go beyond and explore further out regions and even popular cities in more detail, but in the end, we want to travel as much of South America as we can while we are there, so much of it will be on the trail. And the thing about the trail is, once you are on it, it’s like a roller coaster of experiences that come flying at you day after day, week after week. Getting to a place, putting down our bags, unpacking only the things we need for the next day or two, exploring, spending the day doing something adventurous or relaxing after too much adventure (or wine) the day before. We stay a few days, or longer if we like it, and then it is on to the next place we have been reading or hearing so much about.

This freedom is exhilarating. In fact, sometimes, travel is about more than seeing the world. Packing up if you don’t like a place, just picking up and moving on, feels like acting out a sort of rebellion against the static lives we used to lead, against that sinking feeling in your stomach on a Sunday night when you allow yourself to remember that tomorrow is Monday and it’s back to the grind. It is even a rebellion against that excitement you allow yourself to feel on Friday afternoons, hours from the weekend, a giddiness which every week feels more like the last day of a school year the more you hate your job.

Booking bus tickets for a Tuesday afternoon, going snorkeling on a Thursday morning, and working full-on on a Sunday all sort of justify the reason why we left to become nomads in the first place. The freedom to use our days the way we want to, the way we prioritize. That’s an incredible feeling.

That kind of travel comes with sacrifices as well. When housesitting, we make healthy food, work out everyday (currently doing Insanity – have you done this craziness?), and have a set work schedule for more than a few days at a time. Squeezed on a bus for 20 hours or exploring an unfamiliar city all day makes motivation for those things hard to find. When we housesit, or live in an apartment, we take on clients, work on new projects; we are proactive. When we travel, it’s all about keeping up, not getting ahead.

housesitting in Costa Rica

Enjoying the comforts of having our own kitchen in Costa Rica

So, why in the world do we even want to do this? Why do we want to get back on the road?

That’s easy. Aside from all that freedom, seeing the world is addicting. As we travel, we each become obsessed about visiting places we never even thought about before. I never had an inkling to visit Jordan, or Egypt, or to spend a month (or more) in Istanbul and don’t even get me started on my recent obsession with traveling through Eastern Europe, either. But before any of that can happen, we have to visit South America. Our obsession with traveling this part of the world has been there longer than anywhere else.

I have dreamed of this trip since I first fell in love with speaking Spanish in high school, or maybe even earlier when I saw Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas traipsing through the Colombian jungle in Romancing the Stone, but definitely since I read my first Isabel Allende novel and Pablo Neruda’s poetry and memorizing every word of every song on Shakira’s Donde Estan Los Ladrones album. I am bursting with excitement at the thought of watching people dance the Tango in Buenos Aires, I have always had this crazy interest in spending time in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. I want to walk through vineyards in Chile and Argentina and learn everything I can about New World wines, get drenched by the spray off the massive Iguazu Falls, eat lunch sold by Bolivian ladies wearing Bowler hats and of course hike to the top of Machu Picchu.

After five months and three housesits, I am healthier, more fit and more productive than I have been in ages (we both are!). My question is whether I am going to be able to successfully balance what I have been feeling like is the ‘new me’ with all the travel to come. Have these months in the sun been to enough solidify this new found work ethic or has it made us a little bit soft? Only time will tell, and any words of encouragement can’t hurt (hint hint).

Have you been to South America? Where do you recommend we go that’s off the beaten path? Do you know Buenos Aires well and have a restaurant/bar/attraction to recommend we visit? Do you live in South America? We’d love to meet up when we pass through! 

What I Wonder When I Wander: Is anywhere new anymore? - GlobetrotterGirls

Monday 22nd of February 2021

[…] privately asking ourselves those first days here in the city, and I wondered, terrified, if in fact I hadn’t lost my travel mojo, but my love of […]

Mary - Green Global Travel

Tuesday 2nd of October 2012

I always wondered how you found the energy/balance to be able to travel all the time. It makes sense know that you have extended home bases. We're huge fans of the Peruvian Amazon. There are still large sections that haven't been touched by humans. Have a great time in South America!

Dani

Wednesday 3rd of October 2012

Mary - we are super excited to go to the Amazon, actually one of the things we're looking forward to the most. We're actually looking to take longer breaks now instead of traveling as fast as we used to; it was just not feasible anymore to deliver quality work and travel enjoyably at the same time. We had the energy to do it in our first years as 'digital nomads' but in year 2 we were tired all the time :D

Jo

Sunday 30th of September 2012

My girlfriend and I can relate and had this exact conversation last night after returing from a two week whirlwind of Prague, Austria and Germany. We have been living in Lithuania (need some baltic hints or tips?) for 20 months. At the end of October we start an 11 month backpacking tour through 26 countries, countless cities and hopefully many, many 'off the beaten track' gems. I am asking myself how our minds (let alone bodies) will react! But the adventure calls and we answer. And the payoff is exactly what you described : sitting in a small cafe on a monday morning planning what castle or national park/museum/gallery to see whilst people rush to compete for the 9 - 5 grind day. We are blessed to have the opportunity (and courage) to explore and ask for 'more'. Maybe we will cross paths in S.A....we arrive in Colombia on the 12th November and travle through each country for 4 months :) Good luck and like us, you will get your mojo back before you know it ! :)

Dani

Sunday 30th of September 2012

Hi Jo, wow - 26 countries in 11 months is quite an adventure!! Just reading this makes me exhausted ;-) It sounds like an amazing trip though and it would be great to meet you two while you're in South America - keep us updated on your itinerary, but since you are making your way down, and we are working our way north, we should be able to meet up somewhere :) The more we read about South America, the more excited we get - I just wish we could travel and not work while we go ;-)

Sandra

Friday 28th of September 2012

Hola, Your upcoming travels sound fantastic. South American has long been on my dream list and for many of the same reasons--studying Spanish in high school, etc. But I know just how you feel too. I love getting fit and eating healthy at home and it is so impossible to maintain on the road. Good luck. And keep us posted how it goes!

Jess

Monday 1st of October 2012

Thanks Sandra! I'm really going to commit to balancing health and travel in South America!

Scott

Friday 28th of September 2012

Julia and I had a bit of rough return to the trail after our first housesit in August, so I can totally relate. The roughest part was not having that full kitchen and the ability to have a hearty breakfast, lol. It comes back eventually though and when you need those Eastern Europe/Balkan tips, we have you covered as we pretty much have been here since June!

Jess

Monday 1st of October 2012

Hey Scott, thanks! We are getting so excited, but the cooking is a huge thing I'll miss. We will take you up on the tips for Eastern Europe for sure (whenever that time finally comes!!).