A revelation: all progress is not forward (Drive Day 221: Feb 5th, 2004)
Yamil and Magali inform us that we left Junin de los Andes a week too soon: next week is the famous Festival de Puestero. Apparently it’s the rodeo to end all rodeos and no Argentinean can call himself a gaucho if he doesn’t dress up and ride.
In every road trip I have ever taken, even those that involve a circuit, the idea is to keep driving forward. See new things. Never waste time backtracking unless you’re lost. I’ve never questioned this unwritten rule until now. But we have already “completed” the original mission: finding the camper of my childhood. We are not obligated to follow a map or check off boxes on a bucket list. Even the idea of “finishing” the Pan-American Highway because my parents couldn’t does not come with a schedule. It feels rebellious, pointless and sublimely irrational for two non-horsey types to return to a town for a rodeo on the recommendation of two kids we met two days ago. Which is precisely why we say yes to going back. Scrapping schedules and delighting in detours is a privilege only road trips offer. It would somehow be a crime not to revel in it. The campground is still waiting for us, as if the fish and the birds knew we’d come to our senses and return.
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