Happy New Year From Ushuaia!
I hope that every one of my readers had a good start into the new year. As you could see in my blog, I had an exciting year in 2017 and it ended in Ushuaia, Fin del Mundo.
There were many ups and downs which only made me stronger and prepared me for the year of 2018.
Therefore, I can say that I am really looking forward to new challenges, no matter if difficult or easy.
I am delighted to have the chance of making decisions either to get up and continue or to crawl back into my bed if the challenge starts to get too difficult.
The year 2017 started for me in Taiwan, which was perfect.
And after 3 months I would say that this small country became my second home after Bali. After Taiwan I flew back to Europe to travel Eastern Europe and stayed for a few months in France.
During that time I was preparing for my South America trip.
At the end of June I came to Brazil and the rest was history.
Since November I am in Ushuaia. In Ushuaia I got stuck due to a single goal of mine, which I wanted to fulfill since my childhood: Antarctica.
There were 3 reasons why I traveled to South America. I wanted to get to know new countries, cultures and people. I wanted to experience new adventures and work my way up to Costa Rica to meet a very good friend. And the biggest reason was my dream to arrive in Antarctica.
It took a long time and a lot of courage and endurance. But I firmly believe that hard work always pays off. And before the year ended, I was in Antarctica.
What Did I Do In The Last 2 Months?
In the following I will tell you more about my last 2 months here in Ushuaia and also what kind of activities you can do (but more the normal tourist stuff). Have fun with my first blog post in the new year.
Yeah, as you know Ushuaia was my last stop on my long hitchhiking trip through Patagonia and I knew by then that it was finally time to find a boat to Antarctica.
I obviously don’t have the big bucks to pay for this dirt-cheap Antarctica ticket, hence I have to get there in exchange for work.
Mauri stayed with me for a week before continuing to travel to Bolivia (damn you to leave me behind).
So we had a week to explore Ushuaia before I would focus on finding my cruise ship or sailing yacht. We stayed with a friend of my friend, Artemis – whom I had met in Paraty.
His name is Santiago. Therefore I didn’t pay rent, but often cleaned the house, shopped things, cooked dinner, etc.
It was a wonderful time with Santi and his girlfriend Camila.
Here again: I love you both and thank you for everything, Santi and Camila.
The Power Of Endurance
To make it short: I was quite annoying asking around until I was working for the first sailing yacht to Antarctica.
I remember I felt like running a marathon and finally making it to Ushuaia and Antarctica would be my final finish line.
So once we arrived at 5 pm in Ushuaia, I already started to ask people around and other travelers how to get to Antarctica without paying those huge amounts of money. Many people couldn’t give me any useful advises except for some.
Kind of frustrating when you traveled for years and people are like:
” Oh, you know what, that’s impossible.” But in the end, exactly those people boosted my motivation and endurance like hell.
In the next days I started to go to the docks in Ushuaia and asked all the boats. Nothing. I can repeat the same sentence for my diary for the next days. But on one of the docks there were 2 sailing yachts going to Antarctica. So I started to approached one of them, but totally got a “No!” and believe me, I was so persistent and kept asking the captain for like 15 minutes. He was quite annoyed by me. Seriously annoyed, somehow I have to giggle once reminiscing myself back.
Not Giving Up, No Matter What
Still, I didn’t give up and went there the other day. Finally, I came across the sailing yacht I would work with for nearly 2 months.
The captain was not very pleased about my questions how to get to Antarctica for free. Later I would find out why. But I was persistent.
So persistent that I suggested him to sleep in the bathroom. And every time in the night if somebody is in urge for the toilet, I could stand up, get out and get back to the toilet seat again which would function as my bed obviously. It didn’t really work out.
But I insisted to help him since I would have nothing to do in Ushuaia. Also then I would learn sailing and get to know the community.
Until today I am still grateful that Darrel gave me the opportunity to help him and introduced me to this community.
It helped me in the end to work finally for two different sailing yachts going to Antarctica. The following was history.
Sorry for the following expression, but I worked my ass off for the next months. Monday to Sunday, no matter if it rained, snowed or sunshine.
I would come every day to the sailing yacht, which is my first love of all the boats I got to know. Morning until evening.
And somehow I had always energy to help and work.
Not one second I was thinking about giving up my dream.
At this point I didn’t talk about “my dream” anymore, but instead I called it “my plan”. I guess I don’t have dreams, I have plans.
It’s Called A Plan
The experiences were more important for me than all the money in the world. Afterwards, I could do some trips with Darrel as his assistant and “smutje”. So I got to know the area around the southern tip of Argentina and Chile. I learned a lot in those days and if I would have to do it again. I would do exactly the same like I have done this time. The hard work will pay off at the end.
And I guess being super annoying and persistent as well.
After 10 days I got my first confirmation of one of the yachts to go to Antarctica. 1 1/2 months later I got my second confirmation for another trip. Since I got way too much involved in this community the captains started to know me. I have learned that your first boat will always be difficult. But afterwards it’s rolling like a stone from uphill to downhill.
I still remember until today that I performed some notorious leaps of joy after my first confirmation.
Seriously, this was an achievement that makes myself to believe that I could achieve anything in my life. An explosion of endorphin, which turned me into Superman.
I know how many people always say that you can not give up on your dreams. I really experienced a lot of stupid and sometimes unbearable things on my world trip when I just wanted to give up. But my urge to achieve all my goals was greater than the desire to go home. Based on my own experiences, I know how hard it can be to reach one’s dreams.
But a dream does not become reality through magic.
It takes frigging hard work and sometimes even failures. Just because it does not work the first time, it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work at the second attempt. Years ago I had the big goal to travel Australia. During my first year of the world trip it had not worked out. I have to admit that I was pretty frustrated. But quickly I picked up new strength and surprise surprise! The following year I was in Australia.
Luck is great, but don’t rely on your luck. To be a champion, it doesn’t mean you win or you lose; it’s about hard work everyday and sometimes it means to embrace the pain after the long race or a difficult trek. Having a great aspiration, acquiring knowledge, being persistent. Follow this, then anything can be achieved. I guess.
And never ever let other people tell you what you can do and what you can not do. If I would have always listened to other people, I wouldn’t stand where I am right now. I would never meet all the wonderful people through the years, indulge myself with lovely dishes all around the world, never achieved all those dreams. And the most important thing, I could have never been true to myself. But that’s exactly what I want, being true to myself and true to other people. And that means to follow all my dreams, to achieve them and to make myself happy like I am right now.
Don’t ask yourself what this world needs, ask yourself what you need and what makes you happy. Because this world needs more people who are happy and satisfied.
Some Advices To Get To Antarctica Without Paying
Here are some serious and small advices from me to you how to approach the cruises and yachts to higher up your chance for Antarctica.
So the most important thing is to bring unlimited time with you.
You think the captains will take you from one day to the other day just by asking? If you answered yes, zero points goes to you. Congratulations! Those people need experienced and reliable people. And a trip to Antarctica takes usually three to four weeks. So bring some bloody time with you.
Don’t ask them if you can go for free to Antarctica. Just the word “free” will give them some goose bumps. Some of them will shoot immediately a big “NO!” to you. The reason is – to maintain a boat costs a lot of money, they spend thousand of dollars every month for their yachts. Buying food and fuel for one trip doesn’t make you richer.
So the last thing they want to do is taking someone for free to Antarctica.
Be creative, sometimes I advertise myself as a singer and asked them if they would need a singer on board. It doesn’t matter if you are a photographer or famous blogger or whatever. They don’t care!
And I can promise you, since I am working for the yachts people approach us with always the same questions or telling us they are famous bloggers. It gets boring after 5 or 6 times, even for me. I tried to help them with the advises I am writing down right now.
Maybe if it’s a “no” it doesn’t mean always particularly a “no”. Try again and again. Like I did. And somehow I inspired my friend Marion.
And guess who is the other world traveler who also got a job in Antarctica this season? Exactly! Marion.
Last but not least: Approach the crew member or the captains at a suitable time. To be honest, it was a little bit disturbing when the travelers came when I was wrapped up from head to toe in the work.
Obviously, I wouldn’t have time to speak with those travelers. Neither I nor the captain. So please come at lunchtime when everyone is relaxing and having time for a small talk. Good Luck, everyone!
A Guide For Ushuaia
So, since I have been working continuously there wasn’t much time left for exploring Ushuaia. But all the activities I’ve done, I will share with you. Also places where to eat will be included in this guide.
Hiking, Hiking, Hiking
Ushuaia is a famous place for hiking.
All around Ushuaia you have wonderful trails to hike.
You can go to the National Park (entrance fee for foreigner is 350 Argentine Pesos = 19$) and do some camping and endless hikes.
The park has the End-of-the-world-train you might be interested to jump on.
Lucky as I am, the day I hitchhiked to the National Park with Mauri it was closed due to a car accident in the Park. We waited 2 hours and gave up. Then we went to Playa Larga. Great “beach” once Ushuaia is not too moody with the weather.
A very famous glacier is called Glaciar Martial. I tried to hike all the way up, but got too tired and hitchhiked to the top. On the way there is a teahouse called “Cabana” where you can admire a beautiful city view.
Another option is a half-day hike to Laguna Esmeralda. A big hype is made around this Laguna, but after Bariloche we were not very impressed by this lagoon. The trailhead is about 15 km outside of town, next to Valle de Los Lobos. A very muddy hike in November, so be careful. One more thing, please don’t go to agencies and book a tour with them to Laguna Esmeralda. I would have spent more than 100 US-Dollars for the transportation plus lunch. Totally not worth the money. We hitchhiked to the laguna and waited 10 minutes. On the way back to Ushuaia we literally waited on the road 1 minute. You can bring your own lunch. I’m telling you, these agencies living beyond Planet Earth.
Infamous Beagle Channel
Ushuaia is not only famous for being the end of the world. But also for the Beagle Channel and the Faro (Eclaireurs Lighthouse) at the end of the world. If you don’t know what I am talking about, Google is your best friend and helper.
A tour of the Beagle Channel will introduce you to the flora and fauna of Tierra del Fuego. Sea lions and on Penguin Island, you got to see Penguins, what a surprise! I am very sorry at this point I can’t recommend any operators since I did the tour through the Beagle Channel with Darrel. But please inform yourself thoroughly before you decide which tour operator you go with. Have fun!
And another thing I did was diving with Ushuaia Divers in the Beagle Channel. Amazing experience since I only dived in tropical waters.
Once you put the diving gears on, I was mutating into a sumo wrestler freshly imported from Japan.
That’s when you get to see the king crabs and with luck seals.
The City Ushuaia
Ushuaia is a beautiful city with its main road San Martin, but around December packed with tourists.
If you like asado and meat go to La Estancia.
Maybe more French food? I can highly recommend Chez Manu as a restaurant. Ramos Generales is a famous French bakery in town.
Interested in a gourmet restaurant to drop serious cash?
Kalma Resto and many other restaurants are calling you.
Cheap and super delicious food? I recommend Martinica with their Milanesas.
If I have to work online, I would go to Xpresso or Tante Sara Coffee Shop upstairs. Xpresso is my favourite place to work, since they are spacious with tables in the back with sockets.
There is another Tante Sara with mouth-watering pastries and great food at the end of San Martin.
For 350 Argentine Pesos you can visit Museo Maritimo. It’s worth the money to learn more about the complicated history of Ushuaia with its naval base and the early Antarctica exploration.
What else? You can buy some souvenirs for your friends and family, eating king crab (centolla in Spanish), writing postcards from Fin del Mundo or just enjoying the vibe of the city at the end of the world.
I wish you all a great and fond time in Ushuaia.
Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!
2017 was a year full of challenges for me. Many things I am looking back now I am glad that I did it. Some challenges were close to tear me apart in pieces. But in the end, I completed all the challenges.
2017 is one of the years I will remember for a long time. How I broke up with my long-term partner, how I kept moving on, the struggles I faced in South America and being far away from my mother and friends for another year.
But my quests haven’t been done yet, so we will enter next year my fourth year of world traveling. My heart is racing while I am typing all those words down. I have learnt a lot in 2017 and will carry forwards all the lessons I have learnt to the new year of 2018. And it will be better and more exciting than you are, 2017!
Here we go! 2018, Watch out!
A big thank you to all the readers who went through ups and downs with me in 2017. I am looking forward to going together with you on a new exciting journey in 2018.
Thanks to all the beautiful souls I have met in the last year, whom I am very proud to call them friends now.
And also a big thank you to my family and friends who always support my decisions and dreams and my journey.
A thank you is not good enough – but that is the least that can be said.
Hello 2018. Here we go! 😀