Mes-iversary #1

Get it? The Spanish word for month is “mes”.  Thus mes-iversary.  Ok, I’ll stop.

Yesterday, was our first day in Buenos Aires and the first day of our second month traveling. Danielle had been hankering for some Thai food, so we found a place near the Patagonia store where we had brought Danielle’s coat to get fixed. We sat down to review our first month on the road by doing our favorite thing: asking each other questions. We realized our answers might make an interesting post, so here they are!

What has been your favorite meal that we’ve made?
Nate: Avocado, hard boiled egg and chorizo sandwiches.
Danielle: Pizza with chorizo, caramelized onions and mozzarella cheese.

What has been the biggest physical and mental challenge or frustration?
Nate: The hardest physical challenge was just hiking for 9 days straight without a day of real rest (3 hour hike days were what we counted as “rest” days). For mental, day 8 of Torres del Paine was grueling, because my legs were shot. I just had to just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.
Danielle: The most physical challenge for me was ascending our Mount Fitz Roy hike when the trail became covered with ice and snow. Every step felt like a gamble and every muscle was firing to keep me upright. Hardest mental challenge was surprisingly right after we conquered the “toughest” part of the 10 day Torres del Paine trek. We’d gotten over “the pass” (John Gardner Pass, highest point in the park) but had to descend a few hours down to the campsite on a very steep mountainside with a terrifying glacier below us. I prayed out loud with every treacherous step for a few hours straight.

What have you been surprised that you enjoy?
Nate: The days of just doing nothing but reading. I expected I would want to be doing and seeing things all the time, but having down time to just rest and dive in to so many good books has been amazing.
Danielle: I’m surprised I enjoy moving from place to place so much. Later on in our trip, we plan to spend about a month in each country, but for now I’ve actually enjoyed moving our “home” every 2-10 days. I’m not sick of packing and unpacking and re-packing my bag yet and love seeing what our next “home” will look like/be like.

What was your favorite campsite?
Las Torres – last night on the Torres del Paine trek.  The sky was wide open and clear.  At one point I got up the in the night to go the bathroom and was amazed by the view of the Milky Way, Southern Cross, and shooting stars.
Danielle: Los Cuernos (Day 7-8) in Torres del Paine, Chile. Besides the fact that mice were everywhere, including on top of our tent and eating into my pack, I loved it. When we arrived, the sun was out and people were so happy. There was a “party” atmosphere and it was close to the beach. And indoor cooking area! Hot and relatively clean showers not too far from our tent. We got the last good campsite and ended up next to our friends we met two days beforehand. And there was a refugio that sold tetrapacks of wine, so we splurged and spent the evening sharing it with an interesting new friend. The sunset and sunrise there were spectacular. We needed all this encouragement at Los Cuernos by Day 7!

What was your favorite place that we stayed?
Nate: Singing Lamb (see Danielle’s answer)
Danielle: The Singing Lamb Hostel in Puerta Natales, Chile! So clean, such helpful staff, free food bin from other backpackers (which we used for two dinners), good kitchen, breakfast included, hot showers, good wifi (we “went” to Community Group while we were there via FaceTime!), great people and a set-up that encouraged community and sharing. We miss that.

Who do you wish we could have brought with us for this first month? 
Nate: Brandon, Christian and Vijay – I wish we had done TdP right after college when we had fresh legs and could handle the day to day stress more. Of course I don’t think I would have had the money or the heart for it at that time.
Danielle: Richard Knight, Brad and Caitlin Dobbie, Brad Wilson, and Benn Grover. Outdoorsy folks who’ve been an inspiration to us and given us guidance in many ways. Please put Torres del Paine on your list of places to go someday, guys!

What is one thing you wish you had on the trip right now?
Nate: A lightweight jacket – I left this at home and I don’t necessarily regret it, but cool nights call for my marathon jacket.
Danielle: Microwave popcorn. Always microwave popcorn. And Thai Iced Tea. Oh, like equipment? Depends on the day, but I’m missing my Birkenstocks right now.

What have you noticed or learned about the other one this month?
Nate: My wife is a bad ass.
Danielle: Nate looks so natural at this hiking stuff. I sometimes catch myself thinking that I’m doing “Nate’s thing” and I hope I can keep up with him. But neither of us really hiked before we met. A lot of our hobbies are things we’ve discovered together. I’ve noticed Nate’s a natural at all our adventures so far. And the fact that he didn’t pack a razor and we’re a month in means he looks like a mountain man, too.