Long days slogging next to a road have Laura questioning the purpose of our South America trip…
Don’t get me wrong, I love expeditions – whatever that term means. I love a physical challenge, feeling my body become harder and tougher and pushing myself both physically and mentally. I love being outside, followering the natural rhytms of the sun, embracing the elements and living simply with few possessions. I even love the mindless routine of plodding along, as it provides valuable thinking space which is so rare in ‘normal’ life.
However, on this trip, I am struggling more than usual with the POINT of it. We have set an arbitrary goal of reaching the coast, and doggedly pursue it, trying to ingore the many alternatives the region has to offer. I’m a mountain girl at heart and like nothing better than being in the world’s high places – so leaving the Fitzroy peaks behind to face the windy pampas was a real struggle.
We are roughly following a road, and seeing buses and cars whizz by in the same direction as we’re slogging underlines the apparent pointlessness of what we’re doing. Does keeping my head down and getting on with it make me a determined, tough individual? Or does it make me an idiot with too much pride and not enough sense?
Completing this challenge won’t set any records, won’t save any lives, won’t discover any new facts to add to the sum of human knowledge. On the plus side, it might make us mentally stronger and will enable us to see a side to Argentina those who swarm to the honeypot sites miss out on.
Is this enough? If we don’t do it, who will care?
These questions tortue me as we battle through heat, dust and strong winds. The answer – I hope – will be found in the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean.