I remember sitting at the final and most impressive viewpoint of Torres Del Paine National Park back in January and thinking about how nice it would be to take some time to relax on a beach. Warm weather beaches is the one thing that Patagonia was missing. It was at that moment that I first decided I would go to Uruguay.
This trip got a bit delayed due to my last minute decision to go to Antarctica, but my calling to find myself a beach as soon as possible never left me. Being only a couple hour ferry ride away from Buenos Aires, it was easy for me to hop over for a 3-day weekend getaway after my first week of Spanish lessons.
Beautiful beach towns are in abundance along the coast of Uruguay, but since I only had a few days in the country I decided to spend the majority of my time in one place. I chose Punta Del Diablo, which is a really chilled out beach town, close to the Brazilian border and further away than any other option. I had heard only good things from other backpackers, so I figured it would be worth the extra distance.
I really didn’t have any plans for this weekend, besides relaxing at the beach and catching up on my reading and writing. This was to be my vacation from my vacation. It might not be the most exciting part of my trip so far, but I did have some interesting experiences upon my arrival and my departure from the country, which I will share along with the lessons that I learned.
After a two hour direct ferry to Montevideo and then transferring onto a four hour bus to Punta Del Diablo, I finally arrived at my destination around 1:00am. Unfortunately, the bus decided to drop me off at the highway exit instead of actually driving me into the town. The driver pointed me in the direction of a long dark road and told me it wouldn’t be too far to the town.
I walked down the pitch black, completely unlit road for a good 45 minutes and there was still no end in site. I had no access to GPS or phone service and had no idea if I was even walking in the right direction, so I was getting a bit concerned. I don’t think the small beach town of Punta Del Diablo is known to be overly dangerous, but I was by myself, in the middle of the night, with all of my valuables on me. I didn’t feel it was the most ideal situation to be in.
To make things worse, several stray dogs were up ahead and they didn’t seem to be too happy to see me. Suddenly, I could hear voices up ahead. When I reached the driveway that the noise was coming from, there seemed to be a bunch of people about to leave the house.
Out of desperation, I walked up the driveway to meet them and ask directions to my hostel. I was a bit nervous, but at this point I didn’t really have a choice. If they wanted to rob me there was nothing I could do about it. There was about 10 of them and I was completely lost in a foreign country at 2am in the morning.
Lucky for me, they were nice people and offered to drive me to my hostel. I hopped in the back of one of their pick up truck and they drove me down to the beach and to my hostel. I know that hitch hiking is very common and fairly safe in South America, but this was actually my first time ever doing it. I guess necessity forced me to experience something new.
Based on the distance we drove, I figure it would have taken me another hour of walking and I don’t think there is any way I would have found my way in the dark on my own. I was grateful to finally arrive and walk up to check in and get a good night sleep.
I spent the next two days doing exactly what I had planned on doing. I spent the days alternating from reading on the beach to writing at my hostel. Fortunately, this was quite easy to do, since my hostel was pretty much right on the beach.
A chilled out beach town, like Punta Del Diablo, was exactly what I needed. I absolutely love beaches and being near water. I find that I get a lot of inspiration and insights when I am near water, which is one of the reasons I work from the beach as much as I can back home. After spending these couple days at the beach I felt like I had been completely re-energized and I was ready to return to the city and jump into 6 weeks of full time Spanish lessons.
I spent part of my last day in Uruguay in the capital city, Montevideo. I went to check out the most well known market in the city, but all I found was a ghost town because it happened to be a public holiday that day and everything was closed. It was a beautiful day though and I spent most of my time walking along the worlds longest board walk, before catching my ferry back to Buenos Aires in the evening.
During the ferry ride, another somewhat stressful situation occurred. I was moving into my airbnb apartment that night, upon my return to Buenos Aires and I had set up a check-in meeting with the landlord. My ferry to Uruguay was only 2 hours, so I assumed that my return ferry would be the same. After almost 2 hours had passed, I looked off in the distance and I became slightly confused because it seemed like we were still really far away from the land.
This is when I found out that I was on one of the slow ferries that take around 4 hours instead of 2. When I heard this I started to stress out a bit. I was going to be 2 hours late for my meeting with the landlord. There was no cell reception or wifi on the ship, so I couldn’t even contact her to let her know I would be late. I felt so bad.
The thing is though, there was really absolutely nothing I could do about it. The fact was that I was stuck on the ferry and I was going to be late. This was now out of my control. The only thing that was in my control was how I reacted to the situation. I was choosing to be stressed out and upset over something that was completely out of my control, instead of enjoying the rest of the ride with some new friends I had made.
In the end, everything worked out perfectly fine. There was no problems with my land lord. She wasn’t even waiting for me at the apartment because she was waiting to hear from me. She sent her son-in-law over to meet me as soon as I arrived and everything went nice and smooth.
Looking back on the situation, it seems so silly to have been stressing about something that I could not change, but it was another lesson learned. I have wasted a lot of time in my life, worrying and stressing about things that are outside of my control. Time is the most valuable asset we have and we can never get it back. Why waste it being negative even for a second?
Since this experience I have been putting a big focus on just letting things go and being positive whenever I am experiencing a difficult situation. It feels so much better to be present and to choose to enjoy life no matter what. Happiness is a choice and I choose to be happy.
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