After one month living as a digital nomad based out of Buenos Aires and backpacking around Argentina, I say “nos vemos” or see you another time, to South America as I make my way across the globe to Asia. As hard as it is to leave a place that I feel as though I’m only just beginning to comprehend, I’m excited for a new adventure to my home, to India, further on my journey as a journalist while exploring new yoga teaching opportunities.
Expat in San Telmo, Home Away from Home
I was first surprised by the sprawling nature of Buenos Aires, coming from New York City wherein I typically walk from uptown to downtown in an hour or two. BA’s spread out barrios display the many juxtapositions in this cultural and historical hub. “The empire that never was” looks of Paris in the northern high-end Recoleta and Palermo, as the elite class tried to emulate old European architecture back in the 19th century. The South takes on more of a rugged, Latin feel, what felt to me ultimately as the “real Buenos Aires,” in most part, because its curious charm grew on me. I called San Telmo home, which is a big deal as a traveler with a backpack as a closet, who enjoys hopping around from place to place, packing up in a minute’s time.
Some favorites of BA include the city’s thriving art and music scene. I love the café culture, as there’s no rule that a customer has to continue purchasing items in order to stay, and it’s common for friends to relax at a coffee shop or bar for hours at a time.
Understanding Argentine History, Pride, Resilience
The history of Argentina, the tumultuous political and economic landscape that has shaped the country, is mind boggling and eye opening to someone who has grown up with the luxuries of Democracy and economic stability (albeit recessions.) Anyone over about 30-years-old has lived through a brutal military dictatorship in which an estimated 30,000 Argentines, including many university and high school-aged students, “disappeared” at the hands of the government. Of course this was characteristic of oppressive governments in the Southern Cone at the time (Operation Condor).
I learned that Argentina took on the second most amount of immigrants as any country in the world (#1 USA!), that tango arose in the slums of the immigrant hub of La Boca (also home to the Boca Juniors soccer club) and that inflation has plagued the country for decades to the point that there are four different 100 peso notes out there (easy for counterfeiters). I became enthralled with the story of Eva Perón, of the greater populist movement and the evolving psyche of a marginalized people, as I remembered my university courses in Latin American studies.
I observed a classic, oftentimes bothersome and yet typically attractive Argentine pride that I couldn’t quite place my finger on. I saw parallels to the U.S. (and the rest of the world) regarding xenophobia, wealth disparity, and consumerism, and I also felt inspired by BA’s melting pot filled of a resilient people. Yes, I was catcalled, but I was also welcomed and befriended and respected by the majority of people. I appreciate their freedom of expression, the absence of “awkward moments,” “filters,” or need to get drunk in order to have a good time and let it out on the dance floor.
P.S. I want to acknowledge my extremely general and biased thoughts on an entire group of people made up of incredibly diverse individuals. I am shaped by my preconceptions and still naïve to the entirety of the true porteño experience.
Exploring Unique Culture and Nature, Based in the Comforts of a Modern City
I had the luxury of hanging out at craft beer bars and high-speed internet cafes, while also exploring the neighboring milongas (tango clubs) and boliches (night clubs) open well past 6AM. I spent 10 days trekking marathons in Patagonia, walking with penguins, whale watching, hiding out in glacier caves, watching icebergs form, making my way to the southern most city in the world and meeting a hodgepodge of interesting, for the most part extremely friendly, travelers. I took a ferry to Uruguay, where I was welcomed in by a family in Montevideo, taken around to Carnaval shows and given serious lessons on mate-making.
I am so grateful to have spent this time here, as I understand that the seemingly open-bordered world in the eyes of U.S. citizens can cause us to take for granted our highly privileged position. I’m thankful for everyone and everything that has made this experience profoundly exceed my expectations. (Although I’ve learned that no expectations are typically the best to have.)
I’m committed to spreading the notion that we can and should live our lives in ways that make us happy, many times outside the constructs of what has been deemed normal. It’s not the 9-5 that’s the problem but the lack of excitement for life and aspiration to be a part of a greater purpose and understanding.
I write for countless reasons, often with no reason at all. To open up new insights and keep myself on track. When I send positive messages and posts, they are as much intended for me as they are for Loopy Scoop readers. Positive reaffirmations and reminders. Sometimes limitless options both scare me and excite me – it’s my choice how I chose to look at my situation. It’s my responsibility to mold my future, nurture my relationships, stay present and find balance. Responsibility can be fun, empowering and creative.
Life is really freakin’ good.
Thanks for checking in and please feel free to contact me!