Josh’s Thoughts – What I’ve learnt travelling with my girlfriend

So i admit I have been quite slack in keeping my side of the blog updated, following my introduction in our Ushuaia Post. With a little spare time on my hands, I thought it’s time I share some more of my thoughts.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken several great holidays, with most of them being with my best (male) mates. Guys are guys, and lets be honest, we function very differently to our opposing gender. While this isn’t my first trip away with Kel, the nature of this trip has really opened my eyes to some interesting things about travelling with your girlfiriend – some of them are just interesting differences between us. There are, however, many simple things that guys could learn from our female friends and I thought I’d share them so that those that haven’t travelled with a girl don’t miss out!

Before I get into it, there are some obvious differences that I am not going to bother discussing here ( e.g. The role of wingman is probably not necessary, personal hygiene is not an unaffordable luxury and paper-scissors-rock is not a viable way of settling an argument/making a decision ).
Rather I am looking at some subtle things that I have found to be amusing/helpful.

So here we go:

1) The many uses of wet wipes – these little gems are something that most guys (without kids) would have no idea about. Great for cleaning hands after a packed picnic lunch, but even better – when you get to the point where one more wipe with hostel toilet paper will likely draw blood, call on the wet wipe! Also can be used in lieu of a shower during long multi day treks! (Great for the hard to reach places…)

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2) The time-money-HEALTH relationship – The extent of one’s travel is generally subject to two main constraints – TIME and MONEY. For example, when planning a holiday, you are normally limited to the amount of leave you get from work, and how much cash you have in the bank. You may be able to get more time off, but do you then have to lower your daily budget to be able to make use of the extra time? The same can be said when actually on the road- e.g. You really want to do a 3 day trek – you may have the money, but do you have the time? Thus the theory of constraints – Obvious, right?

But travelling with Kel (and maybe this is not applicable to all girls), a third constraint exists – HEALTH. Take the example of eating lunch- if i was travelling with guys, i imagine my lunch would consist of 2 empanadas (typical south american street food) and maybe a beer from the supermarket. Its quick and very cheap, leaving plenty of room in the budget for the rest of the day.

One of the few empanadas I have indulged in (almost as delicious as my Granny Ida’s perogen!)

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However what about the HEALTH budget? 2 empanadas for lunch may mean there’s nothing left in the health budget for dinner, and therefore I have to get something smaller AND have a salad.

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Hence I am more likely to agree to a tuna and avocado sandwich for lunch, to leave space for a 500g sirloin for dinner!

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Luckily Kel and I both love the physical activities (trekking, bike riding etc) so that boosts the size of our health budget!

3) Dessert is a possibility – when travelling with guys, dessert after dinner is not even considered, as dinner usually consists of cooking in a hostel, leading into a massive drinking session and then into a big night at a bar/club and spending all your money on drinks before stumbling home, and waking up with a hangover. However cut that all out, and you actually leave a lot of money and time (and health budget) to enjoy ice cream or a chocolate fondante!

The BEST ice cream I have ever tasted… And I mean it – Juaja in Bariloche (apparently they have a shop in Melbourne too so check it out!)

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4) Sometimes asking for directions can help – but only sometimes and it’s probably because you have a bad map…

5) Check border customs restrictions before crossing – Chile, like Australia, has very strict rules about what you can bring into the country, with fresh fruit and vegetables being a big no-go. If I was with guys, this would never be an issue. But when travelling with Kel, bus rations do not consist of chips and chocolate, but rather a fresh green salad (with dressing) in a Tupperware container, plus 2 bananas, an apple and 2 carrots!!
You should have seen the looks on the faces of the border staff when emptying our bags. Luckily I insisted on ticking YES on our immigration form for “does your luggage contain fruit or vegetables”.
Believe it or not, Kel even tried to take an apple across the border the next time, and only agreed to chuck it once we saw this sign:

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6) Your travel companion is 50% of your trip – so make sure you have a good one! Even after spending all day every day together for just over 3 weeks, Kel and I are still powering on and loving (almost) every moment of each others company. We live every day like its our last day of the trip, and we always end it with a laugh. This trip wouldn’t be half as special if it wasn’t shared with Kel! Hopefully I’ll feel the same after 3 months!

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That’s all for now- Thanks for reading and we look forward to updating you all again soon.

Check out our Travel Page for more of our adventures!

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Ushuaia – The end of the world

We arrived in Ushuaia ready for our adventure to begin, and Ushuaia, you did not disappoint! Ushuaia is the southern most city in the world, surrounded by mountains on one side and the Beagle Canal on the other. As soon as we touched down on the runway situated metres from the canal, with the backdrop of the snow capped mountains we knew we were in for a treat.

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Knowing we only had one full day here we woke up extra early yesterday morning to squeeze everything we wanted to do in. We stayed in a charming guest house called Viento Del Sur and we were served a delicious breakfast which fuelled us for what was to come! Our first stop was Glacier Martial, where you can catch a chairlift up to the base or walk up. We of course chose to walk. We were the only people to be seen and no footprints to follow which was both daunting and exciting.

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The snow was fresh, fluffy and perfect for snow angels 🙂

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and the view just kept getting better!

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We searched and searched for a path but it was nowhere to be seen. We did spot a couple of benches that had been snowed over almost completely and we assumed (and found out after) that due to the large amounts of snow the paths had been covered. But despite this we were not heading back just yet. We decided the only way to go was up! In thick snow, we treaded our way up the mountain. Stages of it required crawling on our hands and knees, fighting the gravity pulling us down!

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And there was only one way down! We tobogganed our way down on our bums. Crazy scary at first we were both just kind of shaking in our boots but once we gave into the idea of it, it was awesome!

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Beautiful morning!

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And no better way to finish it off…

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Now all we needed was a taxi to take us back to town. But none to be found, so we began our long trek down. Realising how long this was going to take us we resorted to other options. we were in luck and managed to hitch a ride with a lovely lady who happened to work at the tea shop.

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We headed to the supermarket, bought some things for lunch including brown rolls, tuna, ricotta and an avocado and caught a taxi to our next destination- Tierra Del Fuego (Land of Fire).

We had no real expectations of the national park, no map and no real idea of what we were in for. We naively got dropped at the entrance to the park, a VERY long way away from the start of the trails. Luckily an Argentinian guy in a taxi stopped and offered us to jump in the taxi with him. Matias, thank you! You truly saved the day. It turns out there are several trails you can do, of various lengths and difficulties and with very different starting points. While some head inland, we decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and join Matias on the coastal trail.

And nothing could prepare us for what were about to see. The most tranquil place with absolutely breathtaking views!

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After 2 hours of walking we stopped for lunch. Beautiful views, great company, cold water and good food = bliss.

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We continued walking and were blown away by the beauty of this place.

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Literally a slice of heaven untouched and undisturbed.

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Smiles all round, all day.

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Can you spot Chile?

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After an awesome 10km walk we headed back to town, exhausted but very satisfied. We went straight to the supermarket, bought things to make dinner and retreated to the warmth of our hostel. A hearty meal and a bottle of red wine completed our perfect day!

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Josh’s thoughts

A quick introduction to this section:
Those that know us will agree that Kel and I are quite different in personalities- Kel is the artistic, idealistic and carefree type, who loves spontaneity – Kel often likes to leave things to the very last minute – often resulting in moments of chaos, but somehow always managing to pull through. I on the other hand am a firm believer in logic, practicality and forward planning. I like things organised, and when I write, it is generally direct and to the point.
Luckily however, the two of us complement each other like steak and potatoes (or in Kel’s case sushi and soy sauce). We both share a common love for the outdoors, food and exercise, and we aren’t afraid to tell each other when they do something funny, impressive, annoying or disgusting!

Given we are sharing this adventure together, I feel like it is my obligation to add some cold hard facts, tips and things we have learnt, to the end of each of kels lovely, fluffy, and emotional recounts. The idea of this section will be to help provide a bit more info about the places we visit, as well as to provide a little bit of practical advice to those thinking of travelling to the same places. It’s not comprehensive, but just a few things to know before you get there without ruining the surprise!

So without further ado, I present my tips on Ushuaia:

The weather changes extremely frequently So have lots of layers. I wore a long sleaved merino wool thermal, a polar fleece and a wind/rain thin outer jacket. And between these I was fine. The weather would move between sunshine, wind, rain and snow all in about 15 minutes.

Pick a trail for Tierra Del Fuego before you go, and get dropped at the start of that trail. Also, enquire as to taxi or bus service from the end of the trail back to Ushuaia because these are not always so frequent. We were lucky as a mini bus stopped for us and let us buy a ticket on the bus (rather than from a travel agent)

Travel agents are closed between 2.30pm and 5.30pm (and closed on Sundays) so make sure you book buses etc before or after.

ATMs can run out of money! So always make sure you plan ahead and keep a couple of days cash in reserves. Also, one of our bank cards stopped working (I think our bank was suspicious of all the money beings drawn in Argentina) so having a second bank account as back up was a saver for us!

Don’t expect people to speak English. Having at least a bit of Spanish is a must- it’s amazing how you can get by with just a few Spanish lessons at home under your belt (plus a travel companion who can speak a bit more!)

Anyway that’s all for now. Hasta Luego! (Until next time)

Check out our Travel Page for more of our adventures!

Travel Blogging and Random Tips

So friends, 3 more sleeps until our 3 months South America adventure begins!

We are planning on using my blog as our travel diary. I hope it will be a vehicle for us to share our journey with family, friends (yes, that includes you!). We will update it as often as possible, complete with photos of our travel adventures, travel tips and stories and of course, keeping with the theme, snippets of our food and fitness escapades.  I am hoping Josh will do a few posts along the way to add a bit of a different flavour ;).

This week I have been on teaching break so I have had countless trips to the shops, sussing out every adventure-travel store. I am totally obsessed with all the ‘cool’ gear. My mom and I had lots of fun trying on every nerd-friendly trekking accessory possibly… I sent Josh a text asking if he’d like a matching hat 😛 Lol.

Here are some Random Tips for Travel Preparation

-Gather as much information as possible from different sources (travel blogs, friends, colleagues, travel books) but take advice with a grain of salt! Josh and I both love the idea of traveling to the unknown.  We have tried not to look at too many photos in order to make the experience ours. We have received amazing travel tips from friends who have been to the area and are so very grateful for all the helpful tips. Thanks guys, you always have our backs 😉

-Set a budget. Traveling for extended periods of time require careful budgeting. Not hard when your travel partner is an accountant ;). Make sure you and your travel companions are on the same page about how you want to spend your money. Be clear about what you both want. I.e. One thing I will not compromise on for this trip is room type. I am happy to stay at hostels but I want our own room and where possible our own bathroom!

-Open up an account with a bank that has reasonable (or non-existant) international ATM withdrawal fees. This is Josh’s department, and he definitely did his research. It is the worst getting charged copious amounts of $$ for withdrawing money.

-Never underestimate how much the actual preparation for a backpacking trip costs. From vaccinations, special location-specific medications like maleria and cholera, essential travel gear like hiking boots, a good jacket, thermals and for the girls, all the toiletries that you practically never use at home but you ‘just might need’ while you are away i.e. expensive de-frizzing hair product ?

-Decide on Electronics to take with and prepare them for their journey accordingly. Since we will be taking lots of bus trips, traveling on budget airlines (hello 14 hour flight with no entertainment), Josh has loaded his iPad with movies.  This kind of thing takes a bit of organisation so try not to leave it to the night before! Also, remember to bring a dual earphone connector (thanks Bortz 🙂 )

What is your best travel tip? Any tips for packing a back pack? I had my first attempt today…

Looking forward to hearing your tips. P.S. I have created a travel page-  Check it out and feel free to leave us a comment 🙂

As for now, I am off to farewell dinner and drinks with close friends and family.

Happy Saturday!