With our sabbatical coming to an end, time came to say goodbye to Brutus in Montevideo. There we shipped the truck back to Europe where we planed to sell it.
JP was heartbroken when he had to let go Brutus in the port’s terminal. There was always a special connection between the two. Throughout one year journey from Alaska to Argentina, Brutus never disappointed.
Our adventure ended in Uruguay with nostalgia but as well with hope for what was coming next: our baby boy.
The expedition will stay in our minds and hearts forever.
From Buenos Aires to Montevideo
In order to get from Buenos Aires to Montevideo we had to get a ferry on Rio de la Plata to Colonia, Uruguay. Then we had to drive further 160km to Montevideo. We were running against a tight schedule. It was the last day we could submit the shipping documents and pay the port fees to catch the next carrier to Europe.
Crossing by ferry from Argentina to Montevideo was pretty cool. The process was modern, pleasant and smooth. The truck almost didn’t fit the height of the ferry, but with a bit of luck, JP managed to squeeze it in by centimeters.
After less than 2 hours on the wide Rio de la Plata we were in Colonia. In 30 minutes the temporary importation paperwork and the passports stamps for Uruguay were done. We managed to get to Grimaldi shipping liner in Montevideo on time and completed the shipping process by 3pm that same day. We felt relieved. Any delay would mean extra parking or storage fees. Only the shipping cost itself was 3,500 euro, double the price we paid from Europe to Canada. Any extra cost was not desired.
A taste of Montevideo
Released by the stress of delivering the paperwork on time, we wanted to get a taste of Montevideo. After we found a covered parking lot next to the port we were free to indulge into the famous Uruguayan beefsteaks.
Apparently from all the beefsteaks in the region (Argentina and south Brazil), the Uruguayan one has the fame of being the best one. We needed to get convinced, so we chose a well rated streak house in the city center. I remember it was pouring rain that afternoon, the streets were dark and there was little visibility. We could not see much of Montevideo, but we could observe the beautiful Spanish colonial heritage of the old town.
The beefsteak did not disappoint. It was juicy and tasty. My favorite cut was the “mugheha”, a special gland of the cow. You should try it when you get there! It simply melts in your mouth. Regarding which country delivers the the best beef, we could still not appreciate. At the end of the day they are all coming from the same source: the vast Pampas where the cows are growing free in the fertile lowlands.
Melancholic about the last night with Brutus
We were pretty tired that end of the day but mostly melancholic realizing it was our last night of solitude and privacy in our cosy space. Our lifetime trip with Brutus came to the end.
“Can you believe it? This is our last night together, us and Brutus. Our last night sleeping in a parking lot”, I told JP.
“I can’t believe Brutus will be gone tomorrow. Soon we will have lots of family and friends around. In couple of more months we will expect a baby boy. Everything will change”, JP added thoughtful.
“Yes, everything will change from tomorrow onwards. I am ready for the change, but it will never be the same again”, I added. Something inside us stopped, we wanted to keep that moment forever.
We felt so grateful for the privilege we had to do this adventure and for the lifetime lessons we learned.
That night was pouring rain. The water kept falling from the hole of the covered parking lot on top of my window bed, exactly on top of my head. I couldn’t sleep with the droops falling in the frequent rhythm and all the thoughts coming to my mind.
The day of departure
The next day we woke up very early to prepare the last details for Brutus’ shipment. JP had to fix the door locker. I was choosing the clothes we would take to Brazil as we planned to visit JP’s family for few weeks. We then cleaned all the drawers, released the fridge, cleaned the bathroom, depleted the toilet and such.
The team work was concluded in over 5 hours. By 2pm we were in the port ready to send Brutus on its maritime adventure over the Atlantic.
At the port we met again our Austrian friends, Anna Maria and Gerald which we first encountered in Ecuador. We travelled together throughout Peru and Bolivia. When we said goodbye in La Paz, Anna Maria and Gerald headed towards Brazil while we departed towards Ushuaia, Argentina.
“We are so happy to see you again! Look at your big belly, you made it! It’s amazing we will ship our vehicles together”, Anna Maria was saying.
“Imagine that after one month we meet each other again in Montevideo! Even if we would plan it we wouldn’t make it”, I added.
“Yeah, I know. I am so sad we have to leave our vans now. I don’t want this to end”, Anna Maria added melancholic.
“It’s hard to say goodbye, isn’t it?”, JP continued.
After we proceeded with the screening of the vehicles and the last paperwork was signed, time came to say goodbye to Brutus and Jumpy ( the van of Anna Maria and Gerald). When that moment arrived JP got anxious and emotional. He literally hugged and kissed Brutus. His eyes were weeping. He couldn’t let “him” go.
Once the truck would arrive in Belgium, JP would take it to Germany where we planned to sell it. I was somehow ready to move on. It was time to prepare for the baby delivery.
That afternoon we had a true “goodbye” party in the nearby traditional food market. We ordered a three course menu talking about our great experiences and sharing our feelings about the end of the journey.
“I don’t want to go back to work. I don’t want this freedom to end”, Anna Maria was confessing. “It’s tough. I will miss Brutus. Another glass of wine for me please!”, JP was calling the waiter.
Booked the bus tickets and off we go
At 8pm that evening, our bus tickets were booked from Montevideo to Porto Alegre, JP’s hometown. We felt as if we had experienced a roller coast of events and emotions. Everything happened in a fast pace, but we were satisfied we concluded the journey on time.
“We made it honey! Our expedition from the northernmost point to the southernmost one of the Americas is done!” JP said.
“And we got on time to Buenos Aires to see our family and tasted a bit of the city’s rich culture. The truck is shipped without any delays. We even had a “goodbye party" with Anna Maria and Gerald,” I said.
“Our mission is accomplished”, JP added.
“All what is left is us and a half, two backpacks, one luggage and two bus tickets”, I continued.
After 12 hours on a night bus ride, the following morning Fernando, JP’s father greeted us in Porto Alegre.
“I feel we are back in a new dimension, a new magnetic field. Even the air smells different. A new life is waiting for us, one with our baby boy, Luca”, I continued.
“Crazy, isn’t it?”, JP added.
After JP and Ioana spent a month with their family in Brazil, JP flew to Belgium to pick Brutus from Antwerp port. Two weeks later JP managed to sell the truck in Germany to a retired couple that were happy to finally find a truck like Brutus. JP and Ioana were happy Brutus ended in good hands.
Ioana was already 7 months pregnant when she flew to Romania. On the 4th of November 2018 she gave birth to their baby boy, Luca.
Few months later JP received a new job opportunity in Rio de Janeiro. Ioana moved with Luca in Brazil when Luca was 7 months old and they lived there for 1 year. Today they live in Cartagena, Colombia where JP was relocated for work. Life continues to be an adventure and a learning process for all of them, adjusting to the family lifestyle, experiencing new cultures and keep on exploring life.