As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, when I travel it’s mostly to cities (or towns). It’s not that I don’t enjoy the great outdoors, I do (though I’m not ashamed to admit, I’m really not that keen on hiking). But for me it’s all about the people and the culture. I love people watching. Park me at a cafe and I will happily enjoy watching the comings and goings for an entire day. I just love it. Taking in what people are wearing, what they are doing, who they are meeting. I’ll sit and make up stories to fill in gaps of bits of overhead conversation. I’m surely not alone in this practice. It’s just so entertaining and fascinating.
A city then, becomes an extension of the people it houses. The buildings that were built and designed by those people, the shops they are shopping in, the products they are making and eating. I love it. So you’ll hopefully understand the immense confusion I felt when I realized that I would be taking a trip through Argentina with an emphasis on the natural beauty. Nine days exploring the vast Argentine splendor and four (only four!) days in Buenos Aires. This was a family trip and not one I was planning but one I was an active passenger on. So be it. Bring on the great outdoors.
It was about 6 months before leaving for Argentina that my packing stress began kicking in. This was no ordinary trip for me and I felt (rightly so) that I really didn’t have the appropriate gear. For this was a trip that did, indeed, require gear. To be precise I felt as though I needed hiking (or walking – what is the difference really) boots, a backpack, and a wind breaker. This led to an inordinate amount of time scrolling through Pinterest, searching Instagram, asking friends who go on hiking holidays (yes, I have those friends (they’re lovely)), and taking multiple weekend trips to REI (have you been recently? The camping products are really amazing).
After three months of information collecting and digging and obsessing, I began to order. I online shopped like a pro and when my living room was filled with boxes, I did a full side by side by side by side (you get it) comparison and sent everything back but the one backpack I took, the one windbreaker, and the one pair of hiking boots I wore.
Here’s what I landed on:
The Timberland Kenniston 6-inch sneaker boots.
I can’t emphasize how comfortable these sneaker boots are. Why? Because they are a sneaker boot – it’s brilliant, really. Also, I think it’s important to note that they are super lightweight. The only thing I don’t like about these is the shoe laces. They just don’t work well and what I mean is that they wouldn’t stay tied (even double knotted) and they would loosen throughout the lace. So get these boots and replace the lace asap. The other thing to note (and this is a total rookie mistake) is that running socks that are only ankle high will have the tendency to slip when worn with boots. Make sure to pack some higher smart wool socks. I only brought two pairs and so was washing socks in my hotel room.
The Large Doughnut Macaroon Backpack
I went back and forth on this one. I love traveling with my trusty tote (see here) but that didn’t feel like the right thing for this trip what with walking to glaciers and through the Tierra del Fuego. I just felt a little confused about what would end up being the best and most useful design. Because I am a very tactile person I started with fabric. Originally I thought I would just take a stroll through my local Lululemon, get some cleverly designed backpack and be done. But I was really turned off with the fabric choices. Then I came upon what seems to be a burgeoning trend in backpacks – the puffer pack. Which is a backpack made of puffer fabric. So lightweight, so cute, so static inducing for someone with long hair. No thanks. Eventually, I landed on the Doughnut – and not just because I love the name.
I started with macaroon – the colors! the cute name! the great design! … but it looked like I was wearing a kid’s backpack and it annoyingly pulled away from my back at the top of my back. Nope. Return. I ordered the large Macaroon. Success! Well designed (though I’m not sure what the side pockets are for as they can’t fit a bottle of water), lightweight, water resistant and hiking appropriate. I felt all set!
The North Face Women’s Fanorak Windbreaker
After my husband suggested I take a windbreaker to Argentina, I was embarrassed that I didn’t think of it on my own! From that point forward I couldn’t imagine being in the southernmost city in the world with weather that was 1. warm and 2. not windy. And Ushuaia was indeed windy but the wind there was nothing compared to El Calafate. El Calafate is the town you will stay in if you are going to view the glaciers in Argentina. The wind is strong in El Calafate! And so, my windbreaker turned out to be a necessary part of my daily outfit while I was traveling. I didn’t belabor this decision, I found this North Face windbreaker on sale at REI and I didn’t think twice about buying it. I bought it a couple of sizes too big which turned out to be a great decision because on the glacier days I wore two, yes two, puffers underneath my windbreaker. Glacier viewing is cold business. If you are going to Argentina, take a windbreaker!!!!!
Here I am in my gear boarding the train to the ‘end of the world’ in Ushuaia, Argentina.