Packing - Reflections - Our Itinerary

Trip Start Dec 02, 2008
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Trip End Dec 26, 2008


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Flag of United States  , Florida
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Packing!  After all the months of trip planning and anticipation, we are finally just a few days from departure. The soon-to-be reality begins to sink in as I look over the packing list and try to find items that I
have put away from our last trip.  As I go on this scavenger hunt through the closets, I ask myself "what was I thinking? "where might I have put it?".  This is a trip in itself as I laugh at my waning recall.  

When I finally do find an item, I smile as I check off another item on the packing list, but then a bit of anxiety creeps in as I question my choice - will this be comfortable in the expected weather?  Will I look like a tourist? Will I be under dressed (I like to dress very casually)? How do you ever know unless you've been there before. With the information I have from the weather report, Trip Advisor suggestions, and our itinerary, I again peruse the choices in my closet. I really do need to keep perspective on this - it's not such a big deal! An important consideration is that we like to travel light.  We each have one 22" piece of luggage, no matter how long our trip.  We each carry-on one backpack (mine is all photography gear), in addition to Harvey's traveling guitar and my laptop. So, with all this in mind, I take my best shot and make a decision. One can never be sure - that's life!  It a slow process, but I'm making progress and time is moving closer to our departure.

It has occurred to me that there are other things that we are taking with us that aren't on the packing list and don't go in our luggage. That intangible is who we are inside, our spirit.  That is who is really going on this trip and the luggage is just a side kick, an accessory.  I take a break and have a conversation with myself. Other than clothes and stuff, what am I "packing" that's inside myself?  What's the spirit of this trip?
Let me remind myself, why did we choose to go on THIS trip?

I go to my computer and find the original notes that I sent to Anna of Wild Patagonia (www.wild-patagonia.com) who helped me plan the Patagonia portion of the trip. Here are some of the comments regarding expectations that we used to guide us.  

Interests/Type of Trip:
   Incorporate our enjoyment of music.  Harvey, my husband, plays classical guitar and is interested in
hearing Argentinian guitar players and folklore guitar music. He has recently been studying rhythms and other forms of guitar music.  So that's the primary focus for our time in Buenos Aires.  We are planning on being in Buenos Aires for 5 nights, from a Wednesday through a Sunday, so we will be in town on the days when it has the most going on.  We'd like to go to penas (folklore music at restaurants), listen to tango music and listen to jazz.  To Harvey, the words Piazzolla, Pujol, Cardoso, Morel are not names describing a dish on an Argentine menu, but Argentine composers for guitar. Besides, Harvey has an Argentine tennis coach here in Miami Beach, and plays tennis with numerous other Argentinians and we've heard about how terrific the country is, so we want to go!  To have a good time in Buenos Aires!

   We really enjoy the beauty of nature.  We like mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, streams, and waterfalls.  I love trees.  My spirit sings when I am in places like this.  The Lake District in northern Patagonia seems perfect for us.  

   We prefer to see a small region in depth, so we're planning on maybe two weeks in the Lake District.  This will give us enough time to settle into a lodge for 4 -5 nights at a time, to explore an area and give us time to breathe.  We would like to experience three national parks, Los Alerces, Nahuel Huapi and Lanin, and drive the Seven Lakes Route.  We are hikers, not too big on car-based sightseeing, and we like nice lodging (prefer small, intimate, casual places) and good food and wine (but not big formal multi-course meals where you are stuffed after eating).

   We would like this to be a relaxed trip...time walking around in areas- not rushing from place to place.  Don't want to try to check off as many places as possible and be in a race every day.  Prefer to choose what we see carefully so that we can focus on the quality of the experience, not the quantity of places seen.

   From a lodging perspective,we are looking for experiences that are uniquely Argentine and will give us local flavor.  There is no need to travel to stay in a lodge or hotel thatcould be in any city of the world.  We are studying Spanish, and although we are not fluent by any stretch of the imagination, we are open to choosing lodging where English is not spoken.

As I review the list and our final itinerary, I feel comfortable that we have done our planning so that these expectations can become a reality. For Buenos Aires, I have prepared a "List of Possibilities" that we can use to choose from each day. Harvey has begun looking at each of the music links to see where he would like to go.   For the Lake District, we have the lodging plans set and the hiking maps, and we'll be meeting with Anna when we arrive in Bariloche to review hiking options and alternative activities.  

With all this in my mind, I ask myself, "what am I "packing" that isinside myself?  What in myself do I want to bring along and personal qualities do I want to manifest?  I respond:

   Have fun!  Smile and laugh.
   Sense of discovery and curiosity
   Focus on areas of interest - don't have to see and do everything. Slow down and enjoy whatever we are doing.
   Radiate and shine - meet people, enjoy learning about a country we haven't been to before.

I feel better with this clear.  Time to have lunch and then resume packing!
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