One year ago today we returned to Canada. Home never felt so good. We thought long and hard about the decision to continue our adventure or whether to return to the North. After all, our house was rented out for another month, and we still had four weeks until returning back to work.
It was a difficult decision to make and we considered our many options for weeks. Flights were booked for July 26 from Buenos Aires, as we were only allowed 90 days on our tourist visa. Since we had crossed into Chile for a week, we had a few practical options:
- Stay another 90 days in Argentina (we hadn’t seen any of the country north of Buenos Aires)
- Return to Chile and travel back north (we really loved Chile and wanted to spend more time exploring there)
- Fly back to Buenos Aires and return to Canada (life was familiar, easy and safe, but our home wasn’t available for another month)
Factors that influenced these options were many. Life on the road is full of adventure, new things to do and see, new people, different foods, cultural experiences, sleep ins, no 9 – 5. Road life is also fraught with challenges – where is our next bed, next meal, and will we arrive safely (by this time we reserved ourselves to the fact that it probably wouldn’t be on time, so safely would suffice). Then there was the summer factor. Summer was coming to a close in Canada and we had just endured two winters in a row. If we headed home we could catch a month of sun before it faded into fall. Our bodies craved vitamin D and we knew that before long the long(er) and cold(er) Canadian winter would be setting in. We were weary from our amazing travels, and after dragging that hockey equipment around for three months it was time to either throw it in ocean (tempting) or bring it home for many more years of enjoyment.
After discussing our options for several weeks we finally decided to return to Canada. Road weary and tired of the challenges of living on the road we prepared to fly from Ushuaia back to Buenos Aires, but first we had one more Southern winter experience to complete our ‘Christmas in July.’ We ventured out of town to a snow field in a beautiful mountain valley where our dog sledding experience would begin. Dog sledding is synonymous with Canada, but when would we ever get the chance to it at the end of the world? We expected giant strapping huskies, but in true Argentine dog fashion we got a rag tag crew of any dog that would pull a sled. It was funny to see retrievers, mastiffs and huskies in the same train. I was waiting for them to bring out a poodle. But pull (and poop) they did, taking us on a wonderful circuit in the mountains followed by a giant lamb parilla (BBQ) in the chalet, accompanied by giant mugs of hot chocolate. It was glorious.
Returning to BA was an entirely different experience than our first time there. We knew what to expect, we were better at communicating and we were ready to hit the streets. In the less than 48 hours in the capital we got two solid nights rest, visited Casa Rosada, attended a cooking class, completed some last minute shopping, and nearly missed our flight out of the country (just in case we hadn’t made enough memories).
Landing in Toronto was joyful. It was like a weight was lifted from over us (even if it did take an extra half an hour to disembark because the gangway was broken). While we never really felt threatened in South America we always had to be on our toes, it was nice to exhale. Landing in Calgary was euphoric. We had finally made it home and a haze had settled over us. This place that we were so familiar with seemed like it was so far away just a day ago was here. Had we made the right decision to come home when we had the option to stay another month? If you asked each of us this question ten times, the response ten times would be yes.
Argentina was phenomenal for each reason noted in every previous blog post. As a couple to be able to build our relationship in stressful environments where our actions and decisions were amplified ten fold was a true gift (we were only awful to each other for one day, pretty sure it was Kelly’s fault, can’t remember the stressor…. but I’m sure she can). Even with a mother-in-law in the mix for a month we were able to navigate the world with relative ease.
As parents (and especially as a dad) to be able to spend three months in direct contact with their children is a chance that many parents never get in a lifetime. To teach them real life skills, show them things that most kids can only dream of, and to allow them to appreciate the lives and cultures of others is a gift that keeps living on in our boys. We have such confidence in E1 and E2, now that they have travelled so far and done so much we can’t wait to take them on their next adventure, and see where their lives will take them. E2 insists he we live in Piramides de Los Andes in Bariloche!
While in South America we also had time to ponder whether we would expand our family or not. The overwhelming answer was yes. Today, one year after arriving home we are blessed to have a two month old sleeping silently in front of us. And yes, he is our E number 3.
We had doubts about going to Argentina, and we had doubts about coming home from Argentina, but looking back, this adventure, exactly as it has played out has influenced our lives forever. Would we do it again, maybe not, but would we ever imagine life having not done it once? Not now, not ever. To the many people that helped us along the way there and on the way back – family, friends, colleagues, bosses, hosts, blog followers, and guides we thank you for everything. We couldn’t have lived this adventure without you!