Isolated Off the Grid on a Ranch in Uruguay

Uruguay ranch stay

I’ve lived in cities most of my adult life and felt comfortable in them. Most of the time I’ve spent in rural areas has been on outdoor adventures like multi-day hiking trips. Except that time last summer when I spent three days experiencing life on a ranch in Uruguay… 

That’s one of the few places I’ve been the past few years that probably hasn’t changed a bit. There are many people I’ve met in my travels over the years that I’ve thought about since this pandemic changed everything. In some cases I’ve chuckled imagining those I stayed with that had no internet access and were miles away from any town. Since they only saw other people once every week or two anyway, their routine is probably just the same. Unlike those of us who live our lives intertwined with many others in urban environments, they just keep doing what they were doing. 

I imagine that’s true for the couple I stayed with last summer in Uruguay, on a 1,800-acre ranch in what felt like the middle of nowhere. We didn’t see anyone that didn’t own or work on the farm while we were there, so they’re probably forging on the same way as always. 

gaucho with a horse at an estancia in Uruguay, on a travel tour with IntrepidI haven’t written about that farm stay until now. It was part of a tour I was on through three countries in South America and the more photogenic parts of the trip were Iguazu Falls and Rio de Janeiro. I let the Uruguay estancia part of it simmer for a while until it appeared in this month’s edition of Perceptive Travel. 

Yes, the September issue of that online magazine is out now, so you can read the whole narrative here: Trying Isolated Farm Life on a Uruguay Estancia

It’s a tale of how my life came full circle for a bit. I grew up in rural Virginia, where I lived in the mountains but saw miles of farmland anytime we went anywhere. When my track team would do distance training near my high school, the smell of manure spread as fertilizer was a common one in the spring, unfortunately. I high-tailed it out of there when I could and eventually ended up living in cities like Nashville, New York, Istanbul, and Seoul. I did ride a horse fairly often though in my travels, so at least I could get on and off the saddle without any help. 

If you’re the type that prefers video, here’s a short overview I did of our time on the ranch there. 

This is one country that turned out nothing like I had imagined. I’d looked forward to visiting Uruguay for a while because it’s one of the most progressive countries in the Americas, one that legalized marijuana and gay marriage before anyone else. It’s a chilled-out, non-judgmental kind of country with a great environmental record and a government that generally has its act together fiscally as well. (Quite a contrast to neighboring Argentina.) I need to get back there someday though because I only got a rainy day in Colonia and fields full of cows and sheep. Every time I looked out the bus window I saw…fields full of cows and sheep. 

Traveling Tales Beyond Uruguay

My story is one of four in the new issue of Perceptive Travel, so here’s what else you will find there. 

James Dorsey is feeling the pain many of us are experiencing while being a lifelong adventurer stuck at home. While staying safe and looking out for others though, he’s got his mementos from around the world to remind him of people he has met and more interesting times. See For Now, Travels in My Mind

Heidi Siefkas decides that the best antidote for cabin fever in her own house is to get out into the wilderness with a canoe and a tent for a few days on rivers and lakes. See Paddling Home in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota.  

Death Valley travel story

Debi Goodwin took several trips to Death Valley over the years, exploring it with her late husband. Will the wilderness park still retain its magic when she goes back now, solo? See Return to Death Valley

We also give away some cool gear items for travels or the outdoors on a monthly basis. Odds are so good for subscribers that a few of them have won twice. Could you be next? Only if you’re on the list. 

John M. of North Carolina has a 3-pack of collapsible water bottles from Nomader coming to him in three colors after being pulled out of the virtual hat for last month.

CrazyCap water purifier bottle

We’re sticking with the theme of keeping throwaway plastic out of Mother Nature’s mouth this month by giving away a bottle that’s also a purifier. This combo from CrazyCap is something I can’t wait to try myself at some point. The rechargeable cap emits UV rays that purify the water inside, so only one thing to carry, with no bulk. They have a lifetime guarantee and give 5% to a safe drinking water charity. You can get your own at a lot of major retailers or buy direct from the company

Want in on this action? Join us here so you’ve got a shot 12 times a year. 

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