I knew as soon as I decided to visit Argentina that I would have to make my way to the natural wonder of the world, Iguazu Falls. This trip was bitter sweet for me. It marked the end of my mini retirement in Buenos Aires, but was also the start of a new adventure. I now had four weeks to make my way through Northern Argentina, Bolivia and Southern Peru before starting my 15 day Ayahuasca/Huachuma Mesada Retreat in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. This would be much faster paced traveling compared to my last couple months, living Buenos Aires.
Due to the time constraint that I now had, my plan was to arrive in Puerto Iguazu, see the falls in one day, and then catch a bus to Salta immediately afterwards. Mango Chill Hostel had been highly recommended to me by multiple people and when I arrived I was not disappointed at all. Besides being a nice, all around hostel, with a pool, they offered a delicious group dinner each evening which was a great opportunity to meet other travellers. Within minutes of checking in I met one of my roommates, Pepe, and we agreed to go see the falls together the following day.
The goal was to see the entire Argentina side of the falls in one day. I would have gone to see the Brazilian side as well, except for the fact that being Canadian, I would have had to pay a $130 reciprocity fee just to enter the country. I didn’t think it was worth the money to enter Brazil for half a day. I was more than happy with what I saw on the Argentina side. We spent the day walking along all the different paths, to see the falls from several different angles.
Then about mid day we took the boat ride right up and under the falls. It was a wild ride, although it did seem really touristy and reminded me of a disney land safari. As the boat was driven right into the spewing water of the falls, all of the sudden all I could see was water all around me and all I could hear was the screams of the other people in the boat. I did film a video that I thought would turn out great, but after looking at it, all you can see is a bunch of water hitting the lens.
About half way through the day, rain started to pour down from the sky. In my experience, when it rains in South America, it doesn’t usually last very long. However, this day was an exception. It rained and it rained and it rained. I honestly thought it was kind of fun exploring the park in the rain. It reminded me of playing in the rain as a child.
I could tell that the rain and the cold was getting to Pepe and I felt that he wasn’t enjoying himself. He was letting the rain and cold affect his attitude and ruin his day. I mentioned this to him, doing my best to say it in a way that wouldn’t annoy him and make him more upset. I told him that he was letting external factors influence how he was feeling and that what we focus on expands. Where our attention goes, energy flows.
By focusing on the misery caused by rain and cold, one is probably going to feel miserable. By focusing on the fact that I was exploring a wonder of the world and remembering how fun it can be to play in the rain, I was having a completely different experience in the same situation.
Keeping our focus on the positives is harder than it sounds, but it is a habit that can be worked on and can have such a big impact on life. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I try to stay aware and correct myself when it happens. As you will read further on, I fell into this same trap later on in the day.
The main attraction at Iguazu Falls is called the Devils Throat and we had saved it for last. We hopped on the train that would take us there, only to find that it was having technical difficulties. We waited for at least half an hour before Pepe decided he’d had enough and left to return to the hostel. Sitting there in my soaking wet clothes, I was tempted to go with him, but I was committed to making my way to the main attraction of the falls.
Finally, the train started moving and I arrived at the Devils Throat train station. The rain had picked up even more now and it was a 15 minute walk on an aluminum bridge, with no rain cover at all, to reach the viewpoint. I think I was the only person there that wasn’t wearing either a poncho or a rain jacket and I was absolutely freezing. This was when I noticed that I was doing the same thing that I had just told Pepe not to do. I was focusing on the cold and the rain and it was making me miserable.
As soon as I noticed, I switched my attention to taking in the beautiful nature around me and feeling gratitude for where I was at that moment. When I was actually at the gorge, for a good 10 minutes I didn’t even notice the cold. Funny how that works. Eventually, I did start to lose feeling in my body, so I made my way back. I had made it to see what I came to see and now it was time to dry off and warm up.
I mentioned at the beginning that my plan was to get in, see the falls and get out the next day. However, like so often while traveling, my plans changed. When I woke up the next morning, the sun was shining and a girl named Katharina, who I’d really connected with the night before was going to see the falls that day, so I made the spontaneous decision to change my bus ticket and stay one more day. It ended up being a great decision. I had a great day exploring the falls again with Katharina. It would have been a real shame to have taken off and left after only seeing the falls in the pouring rain.
I will finish off by telling you about a really impactful moment for me, that took place that night. I was having a conversation about my blog with a guy named Ian, who was staying at my hostel. I tried to explain why I write my blog and what it’s all about. I tried to explain that I don’t see it as just a travel blog, but I couldn’t put my ideas into words. He said something like, “You say you are an entrepreneur. Isn’t it your job to be able to articulate.”
This was a really good wake up call for me. I really thought about this over the next couple days and reflected on the idea until I had something written down that felt right. You can read it now in the About Me section of this blog.