One piece of advice that hardened backpackers dispense at every opportunity is the importance of pacing yourself. If you try to cram too much into every day and do so for any length of time, you’re bound to experience “Backpacker’s Burnout.” If you treat every day like you’re on a three-day bender in Vegas, you’re guaranteed to be completely exhausted and thinking about aborting the trip before you fill the second page of your passport.
I’ve understood this concept from the outset and I really don’t think I’m likely to burn out anytime soon. If I happen to feel overly stressed at some point, I’ll simply slow down even more and perhaps rent an apartment for a month or two. I particularly like the feeling I get when I fall into the rhythm of life in a particular city. I’m beginning to get that feeling right now as I wrap up my first week in Buenos Aires.
I’ve done a few things that appear on the typical tourist’s “must see” and “must do” lists, but for the most part I’m just hanging out.
Take Saturday #18 for example. I slept in, had a quiet breakfast at my hostel, read The Toronto Star online, uploaded photos to the cloud, and walked about one block to a laundry service. That killed the first 8 hours of the day. In the evening I walked about 2km and met another couple for dinner at a casual Italian restaurant. I stopped for two beers on the way home, watched the last 30 minutes of a football (soccer) game, and was in bed before 1 a.m. That is very, very early by Buenos Aires standards.
Last night (this morning) I returned to the hostel at 3:40 a.m. I thought that was pretty late but when I got to the front desk the clerk asked if I wanted to join a group that was heading to a gay disco. Two middle-aged Chilean women who happened to be staying in my dorm decided to join the boys. They staggered back to the room around 10:45 this morning and couldn’t understand why breakfast was no longer available. I have to give them credit; I certainly wasn’t up for that much fun on a Monday night. On the other hand, I have a feeling that I’ll be going strong in a few months or maybe even a few years and they might crash and burn before their six-week trip is complete.
Sorry, there will not be an exciting adventure to recount every single Saturday. But next Saturday, well, that’s a different story. I know what I’ll be doing and it sounds like fun. Stay tuned!