A Big Burning Ball of Stress

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Day 355: Iquique, Peru

In the last 11.5 months I’ve evolved.

While I was previously a type A corporate drone with a mission to make sure everyone did what they needed to on time and on budget, I’ve learned to let it all go.

My plans have been non-existent. I allow serendipity to guide my way and I rarely know how long I’m staying in one place or where I’ll be the next week.

But something has been creeping up on me.

I have hit the 3 month left mark to return to Canada for the Summer. This sense of freedom has been slipping and is being replaced with old type-A Ayngelina.

The one who traveled to South East Asia with a calendar of where she would be each day, the one who gets annoyed when people are late, the one who would feel anxious but couldn’t figure out why.

I have always had plans but they were so distant that I could push them to the back of my mind. But once I hit the 3 month mark I realized I needed to start thinking about my future:

My immediate future includes Northern Chile and Argentina. It’s also my immediate stress. I spent no less than 2 months in previous South American countries and the thought of only having until the end of May makes me feel rushed.

You think I’m crazy. I know.

But the secret to long-term travel while maintaining sanity is to stay at each place a long time. So while in Mexico I thought 4 days in any city was an eternity, now I find staying less than a week to be a rush.

Also I have unrealistic expectations.

My original plan was to head back up to Bogota and fly to Vancouver but now I’m starting to think a week straight of buses is not ambitious but asinine.

I haven’t made a decision on that yet but whatever I do, I need to be in Vancouver the second weekend in June for a conference.

There are too many travelers I now consider friends, but have never met, and I cannot pass up this opportunity.

From there, I’m joining forces with the GlobetrotterGirls for the great Canadian road trip to Nova Scotia. I haven’t seen a lot of Canada so I will be their bumbling guide as we try to make our way East.

I’ll then spend the rest of the summer with my family in Nova Scotia, sharing the best of the province and showing you there’s more to us than just Peggy’s Cove.

Next my path could go one of two ways.

train challenge

1) I really want to participate in the Ultimate Train Challenge. It’s a cross-continent race from Lisbon to Saigon all completed in a month only on trains. We’re raising money for charity and it’s an adventure of a lifetime.

Alas I can only do this if we get sponsored so it’s all very much up in the air.

2) If I can’t swing the challenge I’m coming back down to South America sooner.

But I don’t know where yet because South America is where I learned life is better unplanned.

Join the Conversation

  1. Ângela Goldstein says:

    Honey, get your ass down to South America and let me buy you a cup of coffee in SP! =)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      San Paolo? I think I’ll head to Brazil when I come back in the Fall but I’m a wee bit afraid!

      I know seems so silly.

      1. Mark Robertson says:

        If you’ve done Peru & Ecuador–Brazil is a pleasure cruise (re: safety). Heard some things about SP, but it’s all hearsay right? CNN effect makes for good traveling, não?

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          Really? I thought Brazil was much more dangerous than the rest of South America. But then again most people just cite Rio.

          1. I don’t think you should be afraid.

            A friend of mine spent her holidays in RJ and she said the fear factor was overrated.

            My boyfriend spent like a month in SP, he didn’t complain either (he even bartended a while in a bar)

            I went more south, in the Santa catarina province (Florianopolis, camboriu, Blumenau)
            I didn’t feel afraid either…

            (I LOVE the beach there, the water is WARM, it is wonderfull, and I learned to surf a little bit)

          2. Don’t believe all that crap, I’ve spent 6 weeks in Brazil now. The ‘danger’ is so exagerated! Obviously you have to be careful, but don’t let people make you live in fear!

          3. Ayngelina Author says:

            Thanks Cam. You know I let people scare me about El Salvador and now I regret not going.

      2. Ângela Goldstein says:

        São Paulo is ok and RIo is not as bad as it seems.
        It’s not silly to be a little afraid of unknown places, it’s actually natural, I’d say…

  2. I don’t think you need to make a decision now, to be honest with you. I’m a big fan of going with the flow.

    Why not take S. America slowly, at your natural pace, because it’s going to be cheap and easy for you to get back from N. America anyway, and then what happens, happens?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well there is a final deadline, June 7th in Vancouver so I guess I will take it slowly until then.

      I haven’t had to plan anything in almost a year!

  3. Slightly off topic, but just wanted to say Nova Scotia is a lovely province. The kids and I did a road trip in Atlantic Canada a few years ago and liked it so much – from Halifax up to Pictou, around in PEI and NB, then back to Digby and on to Annapolis Royal and Lunenburg. My then 7-y-o loved Kejimkujik Nat’l Park. Sadly, we missed Peggy’s Cove, though.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Sophie you missed nothing. So many people have come to visit and we do the 45 minute drive from Halifax to Peggy’s Cove so they can snap a few photos for maybe 10 minutes max and then we drive back.

      I personally think it’s totally overrated.

  4. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Sounds like all good problems to me darling, right? I think you should look at it as you can’t go wrong with whatever happens. Either you’ll be on a train or you’ll be in SA. Nice! So sad I can’t be at TBEX. But, I can’t wait to meet in Argie in just a month!!! 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes maybe sooner than you think. Heading to Salta tomorrow so will be in BsAs soon?? Haven’t planned that fat ahead 🙂

      1. If you want to take it slow in the north, you should visit: Humahuaca in Jujuy and Cafayate in Salta. From Cafayate (try the wine) you can go trough the valles (Tafi,Amaicha) to S.M. de Tucumán, where the revolution started.

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          Ooh thanks, I’m in Salta now, will look to see how far Cafayate is from Cordoba, my next stop.
          I really need to buy a country map!

  5. Michael Hodson says:

    I obviously vote for the Train Challenge, but damn it… I need to get us some sponsors!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know dude, I love trains!

    2. What kind of sponsors are you guys looking for? May have an idea for a travel company to approach in Australia…email me

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Thanks so much Andrea, Michael is going to email you.

  6. Mark Robertson says:

    (((echoes))) “South America is where I learned life is better unplanned”

    I’m no A-type, no mam. But I have/had unruly expectations for myself.

    Slow travel, lifestyle working, loreblogging–all this has made me more like a Peruvian handicraft worker–especially those gals that weave Alpaca strands in Pisaq (egad!).

    The idea of guidebooks and “checklist traveling” seems repulsive.

    Keep doing good work, Ayngelina, and “bacon” (or whatever your muse is), will continue to be a lantern to your path.


    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ha thanks Mark, maybe when I get back we’ll finally meet!

  7. I totally agree with your travel philosophy. Spending less than a week in a place is hard, though I can sometimes be type A, too, and go faster. I’m glad you’ve learned to slow down and enjoy things.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The longer I travel the longer I need to stay in each place. When I come back in the Fall I’ll be looking to rent an apartment.

  8. It’s interesting to hear you say that your Type A personality is coming back. Sometimes, I think the effects of travel don’t last long enough! Do as we did in South America–ignore the deadline as much as you can until you just can’t anymore….

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah having only two months for two countries is driving me nuts, usually I don’t think about how long I have.

      The good news is that I will be back so this insanity is temporary.

  9. Pete - Hecktic Travels says:

    I know what you mean, the “p” word has pretty much left our vocab. I don’t know what I am doing tomorrow nevermind 3 months from now…I wouldn’t sweat it too much, you’ll find your path.

    We are really hoping that you guys find sponsors for the “Train Challenge”. We are super stoked to follow that and hope it goes ahead as planned. If there is ANYTHING we can do let us know and we will help out.

    Enjoy Argentina!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I really really want to go. I love trains. All trains. Even subways. But now that I’m a starving writer I need to depend on the kindness of strangers.

  10. KatieAnna says:

    Thats not hard to understand at all. I get tired just thinking about your journey. I think you’re amazing!

  11. “…life is better unplanned”

    I’m glad travel has allowed to you sit back and let life carry you where it needs to. I wish you the best of luck in whatever decision you make.

    No matter what, you will return a changed woman.

  12. Sometimes it is the best feeling in the world to have many different plans and life will sort it self out somewhere along the line. Sounds like you are going to have an awesome summer, and hurry back to South America so we can share a slow-cooked marinated rack of pork!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You do realize I will hold you to this 🙂

  13. Matt Hope says:

    I can definitely relate to this kind of stress, but whenever I have it I just remind myself I’m deciding between awesome and awesome! Either way you will be loving wherever you end up!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      True, you can’t go wrong with awesome…

  14. Funny you say that. I’m normally a Type B personality *except* when it comes to travel planning! I book flights months in advance, send couchrequests weeks in advance etc.

    I think I’ll try having no plan this summer and see how that goes 😉

    p.s. you could try hitch-hiking. that’ll be an adventure!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Hmm I never buy months in advance unless I’m convinced I have the best deal. I’m also cheap/frugal so I’ll spend hours just trying to save 10 bucks!

  15. Betsy Talbot says:

    Most of our trip has been relatively unplanned, but we had booked the cruise to Antarctica about 5 months in. I found that the closer we got to that date and “had” to be somewhere the more stressed we got because we had to pay attention to our schedule instead of just going with the flow. Now that the trip is over and we have a free schedule again, we’re all good.

    Weird and a little bit decadent that we can get stressed out by something so good as a trip to Antarctica or to see a bunch of new friends in Vancouver, huh? 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know, so foolish to be stressed!

  16. Funny, I didn’t take you for a Type A type of gal! I guess I’ll have to meet you in real life…at TBEX in June. 🙂 See you then.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Travel has brought out a more relaxed side of me but honestly if most of my friends had to describe me in one word they’d say – bossy!

  17. Dani | Globetrottergirls says:

    I know exactly how you are feeling – we felt the same way when we had plane tickets to Europe all of a sudden and had to rush through the rest of Central America after traveling SUPER SLOW for months, without a schedule or having to worry about time. At least you know that you’ll go back, so you’re not missing out on anything.

    And you have an awesome summer ahead of you 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Imagine how stressed we will be only spending a day or two in each city across Canada. I promise to try to chill out but I will likely have to bring back the calendar mapping our schedule!

  18. Oh Revenge, stop stressing. Whichever you choose you’ll always think about the options you didn’t. BUT whatever you choose will be a new adventure that you’ll love.

    So stop planning. You know you have a plane to catch to get to Vancouver. Everything else you’ll make up as you go along.

    Enjoy the ride.

    But if you do decide to do the train thing, please come visit us in London on your way to Lisbon. pretty please? A Revengalina and LMB reunion is long overdue.

  19. Travel does get a lot more complicated when you have set dates to be places doesn’t it? We are going through the same thing having to book flights in advance to the US and to TBEX and then back to the UK for a wedding. You have to be way more organised and it can be stressful.

  20. While it may seem stressful not knowing your future plans, you have good alternatives either way. Enjoy the rest of your time in SA. It surely will go by fast 🙂 Sad I won’t be able to meet up at TBEX but maybe somewhere else eventually!

  21. I’ll be watching what you do with bated breath! I am always so fine on trips, whether it’s a week-long getaway or three months on the road, until the end is near. Then I start missing people from home, feeling rushed, etc. It’s normal. 🙂

  22. Oh, I know what you mean. Strange thing is I was never this way before. I am trying to decide if it is a 30’s thing? I don’t know but I do feel the need when I am home to be more type A and I am not a type A person at all. I think it’s the act of going home and all the encompasses. I mean would you be feeling the same if you were going back to SEA or somewhere else? Going home is fun but tough – it’s always emotional and it brings us right back to the person we were before we left and sometimes it’s hard to bring the person we are now into that life easily. Take one thing at a time and try not to worry or be anxious. Even though it’s tough worrying won’t help anything. I agree too – 1 week is not enough in each place, you shouldn’t feel weird about that.

  23. Stephanie says:

    Coming from another Type A who made a living making sure everything was planned out and everything went according to that plan, I COMPLETELY understand how you feel.

    There is just something about South America that helps those of us in “recovery” from the corporate world figure out a new pace and learn the freedom you get from not making a detailed plan.

    Just remember… you’re coming back! Don’t rush. Go at the pace you want now to enjoy it. But definitely hang for a bit with me in Buenos Aires 🙂

  24. South America ME says:

    Simple. Slow down, enjoy and come back to South America again later to do the places you couldn’t the first time.
    Rob W.

  25. I like the sound of that train challenge. Hope it works out!

  26. You’ll have to come back to South America anyway to get to know Brasil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay… so relax, if you can’t see everything from Argentina and Chile that you’d like to see, you keep it for another trip

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You are so right. I have decided not to try to make it back up to Colombia. I’ll just do Northern Chile and Argentina and then save the rest.

  27. I think old habits are hard to break, especially when there is the fear of uncertainty. I used to be very Type A as well, and while I’m working on it, it is a work in progress. It sounds like your travel plans will be fantastic, no matter which way they go after spending a summer in Canada.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes I think either way it will be a great time. I need to let loose of the impulse to control and just go with the flow.

  28. Well I hope you do find sponsors and get to do the Ultimate Train Challenge! It’s such a great idea; kind of like Around the World in 80 Days. I’m looking forward to following along if you guys can pull it off.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It would be a fantastic adventure and if anyone can get sponsors Michael is the man.

      That said, if anyone knows of companies that would be interested we’d love to know.

  29. I used to be much more Type A before I had kids…now I have to let so much stuff go. For instance, my oldest child broke his arm last week and now my spring break travel plans are simply not going to work, so I’ll have to change them. Instead of a trip to the country to ride bikes we’ll be heading to the city to visit museums.

    You’ll figure it out! It will be great! And then you’ll write funny blog posts about it!

    I look forward to meeting you in Vancouver. A trip for which I am yet to buy a plane ticket. Guess I should get on that huh?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      He broke an arm? Oh wow. But kids like that because other kids sign it. I remember wishing I would break something so I would have a cast. Now that I think of it, it’s very peculiar.

  30. Shit! I owe you an email. Will get in touch soon.

  31. Oh the train challenge sounds thrilling. Good luck and I am sure you will back to your travel evolved self.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes hopefully this is just a temporary lapse into my former self!

  32. First of all, try to be present and enjoy each day in my two fav places in SA: Chile and Argentina (the steaks alone will chill you out!)
    Two: if your ultimate plan is to come back to SA, then you’re not really going to “miss” anything because you’ll have time later.
    Three: If its cheaper: fly back to SEATTLE, and I’ll drive us up to Vancouver.

    I can’t WAIT for Tbex and meeting you in person. I mean, I feel like I know you, you know?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I wish I had known you would be in Seattle, I just booked my ticket to Vancouver. But the good news is that I decided to relax and go from Buenos Aires.

      1. Oh sadness, sorry I was late telling you about that!

        You’re welcome to come stay after Tbex with the girls too.

  33. John in France says:

    These aren’t problems, just marvellous opportunities! Good luck!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Very true, who never I’d ever complain about anything so wonderful.

  34. See, if you ask me, I’ll be completely selfish. I would love to meet up with you and hang out in South America.

    So yeah… that is my answer. *cough* <3

    Take your time with that decision. 😀

  35. Lorna - the roamantics says:

    ooh ayngelina, don’t think you’re crazy at all! type a at work myself (time & budget film!) and then off the cuff with travel. and jumping around from place to place to me always felt like just wanting to SAY i’d been somewhere, than really BEING there, so yeah, a week is more comfortable than a few days. i’m sure it’s a little scary leaving s. amer in general after falling so in love with it- let alone feeling you’re short on time. i’d say take whatever transportation means you can to feel least rushed to get back to help minimized some of that…but DO get back! we want you at TBEX 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have bought my flight! I decided not to rush things and will spend the last two months in Chile and Argentina and then fly out of Buenos Aires to Vancouver June 6th. I will see you at TBEX (travel bloggers exchange conference for all you non-travel blogging readers)!

  36. The NVR Guys says:

    Chalk this up to positive stress!

    Isn’t it amazing how your perspective can shift so dramatically. We used to think that a few days in one place was a luxury (and it is), but now we almost have to stay a week or more. Add in that we continue to work while on the road and even one week can seem like we are cutting it short.

    Woe is us, right?! The worries of the privileged I suppose!

    See you at TBEX.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You guys at are TBEX too? One weekend is not enough for all the amazing people that will be there.

  37. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it. Enjoy the next 3 months and you may have a completely different idea by the time you get back home. Who knows what the future holds. 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Very true, you never know what opportunities may knock.

  38. Samantha, The Domestic Yogi says:

    I am so excited for you! Looks like great things are on the horizon (and in the moment). I love hearing your veteran traveler tips 🙂 All the best!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Sam, hard to think of myself as a veteran!

  39. I don’t think you’re crazy! You’re a big, brave role model. 🙂 I can’t wait to see what amazing future adventures are in store for you. Best of luck with ALL of your endeavors, and sending positive vibes your way! 🙂

  40. DTravelsRound says:

    I remember when my trip was coming to an end. For months, I pushed back the reality of going “home” to the far corners of my mind. Then, suddenly, my return date was looming on the horizon. It’s intimdating. It’s scary. But, it looks like you know what you want to do/where you want to go. So, suck in every breath a little deeper, let the taste of the food linger, enjoy those drinks and keep on having the time of your life … until your next journey!!

  41. I love this post because girl I am just like you and I mean it. I am normally one who has everything planned out and knows what I am doing and everything. Well less than a month in and I learned that staying in a place a longtime is key but then I booked my ticket home from Cancun and well now I know I only have until June 21st to get everything I wanna get in on this region of the world in. So now I am kinda thinking and actually planning a bit.

    So jealous you are going to TBEX… I so wanna go. I too would love to meet everyone I consider friends and finally meet them.

    As for your Road Trip with GTGs omg you are going to have a blast. I spent 2 weeks with them and love them!!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I was in the same place as you last year, in Nicaragua and wanted to go but it didn’t make sense. There’s always TBEX 2012 for you.

  42. Nomadic Chick says:

    No crazies, because I can relate!

    Sometimes when we go back to whence we came the old behavours creep in. I know, sucks, right?

    I do the same things, then have to pull myself back to that changing life thing, and how I can do it… hopefully.

    Don’t be freaked about Brazil, I went alone and had the best time of my life. I hope to put down stakes there eventually.

    Your plans sound great. And if mine gel, I’ll be hanging near you. In New Brunswick with my bestie…

    We should do some excursions together!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Sounds great, where will you be in NB?

      1. Nomadic Chick says:

        I’ll be in St. John. 🙂

  43. Nomadic Matt says:

    I love globetrottergirls! They are great!!! Have tons of fun with them! I won’t be at TBEX but the past ones have been a lot of fun.

  44. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ says:

    Rainbows, kittens and unicorns!!!
    Feel better yet? Hell, I know I do!

    I can get some high anxiety about this kinda crap too Baconator… I find beer helps… and wine… and food… and tequila.

  45. Travelogged says:

    Whenever I plan trips I get excited and stressed at the same time because there are so many choices to make (where to go, for how long, where to stay, flights to book, etc.). Even if they are great choices and you really can’t go wrong no matter which you choose, you still want to make the best choice for you!

  46. It must be so awesome to travel so much. I’ll be in Barbados later this year, but that’s about it for the last 5 years. Chile sounds awesome!

  47. Have you considered Europe or Africa at all? If you don’t do the train thing, that is. Let me know! I’ll put on a pot of tea. 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I would love to go to both, alas I think it’s too expensive for my budget but that post of tea does sound good 🙂

  48. As stressful as some of the aspects of all this can be – WHAT AN EXCITING FUTURE!!!!! Very much looking forward to meeting you at TBEX 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      TBEX will be crazy, there so many bloggers I feel like I know so well but we’ve never met. Are you heading there early?

  49. Hun, don’t take this the wrong way but you better have gotten back to South American by the beginning of 2012 – I’m starting my travels this year in November and I’m hoping to bump into you. 😛

    But, no, seriously, you go where your heart guides you. If you want to do the train challenge, that doesn’t mean you can’t go back to South American after that.

  50. Justin Hamlin says:

    Sounds like you have a full schedule in front of you Ms. Ayngelina! Sorry for the late addition to the post, just getting caught up on my RSS reader 🙂

    The cross canada road trip sounds like so much fun, definitely on the list of upcoming road trips for me!

    But, to your point, you feel rushed… why can’t you just revisit the same area you are in now, once you are done with your other adventures? Nothing is stopping you from coming back.

    Just keep that Ayngelina laid back attitude and everything will fall into place.

  51. Love that last statement at the end of the post. So true-many of us have that place or moment where we learned life is better unplanned.

  52. Siddhartha Joshi says:

    Lots of plans and here are my wishes to you 🙂

    The picture is absolutely stunning Ayngelina…loved it completely!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Aww thanks so much 🙂

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