Buenos Aires. What a truly outstanding city. I am so happy I was able to enjoy the month of November there, when the Jacaranda trees were in full bloom. I think our entire group felt like we bloomed this month as well after a dry and not entirely comfortable month in Morocco.
This city was so full of life - I don’t think I had a single dull moment this month. It was exactly what I needed to shoot back into full gear. Argentines and the micro culture of Buenos Aires are extremely expressive, kind and a people full of energy. They are extremely fun to people watch or share some mate with. Mate is the local herbal drink that is widely popular in Argentina, coming with a unique cup of its own, and is drank obsessively by the locals. It’s not uncommon to see locals sipping and refilling their mate cups from a boiling thermos on the go.
It also felt a lot like home. Palermo, the area we stayed in is ex-pat territory and the streets are full of bars and restaurants and lined with trees. It is absolutely gorgeous, with no shortage of distractions. One distraction was a fellow ex-pat whose dark hair flopped over his charming dark eyes. We had the most fun together all month long, it all came together like a happy coincidence and I’m very happy for that accident.
This month felt like the most like my usual life, for better or for worse. After all, I went on Remote Year in the first place to leave behind my tired routine. All month felt comfortable. Between creating a mini-LA with my man for the month, bars and easy access to entertainment, it all left me wondering if I fostered as much growth this month than others. Perhaps, however, that contrast of growth and comfort zone, the ebb and flow of cities and environments that may ask less or more from you is a good balance to help ensure sanity throughout this year of insanity.
I’ll happily continue to ponder this question on some mate, taking a tip from the locals.
I have a confession to make: in LA, I was a lazy POS on Saturday and Sundays. I would hardly emerge from my apartment earlier than 1pm either of those days, if at all. I’d much prefer lounging in my bed all day, answering the door for a food delivery being one of the only things that would get me up. The second Saturday in Buenos Aires, I arranged to go to brunch and explore some of the city with my friends. Unfortunately, I went out the night before and woke up extremely hungover. There was nothing I wanted to do less than go out and explore the city - I would have happily stayed in my bed all day. But, I forced myself to get up and meet my friends.
This ended up being one of my favorite memories of Remote Year, period. The day was so fun and spontaneous. We walked to the center of the city, seeing the metal flower structure, stumbling onto an open air artisan market, visiting the world class cemetery. From there, we met some local friends up at a park across town and went to a jazz festival. All afternoon [after sweating out the hangover], there was nothing but sunshine, smiles, mate and good vibes. I realized that while I felt like absolute garbage in the morning, I probably would have felt like garbage the entire day if I stayed at home, rather than quite literally being able to carpe diem. For me this was a personal turning point in my yearlong adventure that taught me one of my most important lessons: it is always always always better to do the damn thing instead of staying in.
I don’t know what other program allows you to learn how to play polo after stuffing you with a delicious Argentine asado (BBQ on steroids) and treating you to unlimited wine, but Remote Year does, and I’m still a little incredulous over the once in a lifetime experience we had. First watching a polo match, we then learned how to ride the horses and ended up playing a small match. Afterward, we rode the horses around a nature trail and ended with a refreshing dip in a pool. Truly a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming experience.
Just across the bay from Argentina, lies Uruguay. A small group of us decided to go to Colonia, which is a quaint town in Uruguay that is connected to Buenos Aires by ferry. Walking around the adorable, not too crowded town, we were able to revel in the town’s charm. My man of the month and I ended up finding a small grassy park on the waterfront which turned into an impromptu photo shoot, where we were able to just be as silly as we wanted to be. Taking our joy into a small bar next to the waterfront, we had a few drinks and shared stories. With the warm sun beating down on us and old-style architecture, it felt like we were transported to Italy for the day. I highly recommend this as a day trip to anyone who is interested in hitting another country while in Buenos Aires.
One of the additional events we were able to partake in this month was a traditional asado, which I mentioned above. I do not exaggerate when I say this is a BBQ on steroids. A typical asado has at least 5 different cuts of meat that are prepared, and the meat just continues to appear before us. Top this with a spontaneous acapella outbreak of “I want it that way” by the Backstreet Boys, and what’s not to love?
Thanksgiving fell during our time in Buenos Aires and our group found a bar we could privately rent out for a traditional American Thanksgiving just for the 50 of us. Our resident “mom and dad” of the group, a couple that is in their 60s, hosted us with a huge and delicious turkey, many many sides and good times. When traveling on the road for an extended period of time, this is when you are most thankful for your built-in community nurtured by Remote Year, your tramily (traveling family). I could not have any more love for our support group, and this was our time to provide our gratitude to each other.