After a month here in Buenos Aires, yesterday was my first difficult day. I couldn’t figure out what exactly how to do what I wanted: buy some headphones and some shoes. The clothing stores seemed all be closed and the headphones were all prohibitively expensive. I just couldn’t seem to find the cheap stores. I felt lost in a city that didn’t understand me. That night I had a dream about traveling.
In the dream I had just finished traveling for awhile in South America but for some reason I had to take a break. I was in my parents’ house so I probably returned to the USA for an event. Now the field had changed and it might be easier for me to travel in Europe than in South America. But I was torn on where to travel and I asked my dad for advice. He responded in tersely like “get with the program, buckaroo, why aren’t you just doing it?” The dream ended with my mom asking how many people would be eating tomorrow and my father saying something like “there’s Nathan cause he will never finally get out of here” and I said “I won’t be here for dinner. Tomorrow I’ll be traveling.” And everyone got upset because they wanted me to stay and they wanted time to say goodbye.
Why this dream… and why now?
I’ve decided to do something similar: stay in Buenos Aires for at least a year or so. I will be just living here and working, no plans, just sopping up the city.
Luck comes and goes. When I lived in Seattle I felt hard pressed to find a lucky break but here in Buenos Aires luck seems to grow on trees and the streets are lined with it. Joe’s parents say that lots of serendipity points to being in the “correct place.” After a month and a half I have a good paying job and a great place to live. I seem to be making some friends and already have a location for my first murder mystery party, to be written entirely in Spanish. I am aiming to have it in February in El Tigre. All are welcome.
Another stroke of luck was a couple weeks ago when, by chance my, mom’s dental hygienist was visiting Argentina and brought me a new camera along with my laptop. Both items are twice to three times that of the price in the States. I’ve noticed that writing has been very difficult without photos to illustrate it. This is conspicuous because in the month between the time I lost my camera and the time I received my new one I blogged perhaps only once or twice.
The other windfall was my laptop, which I am writing on now in my room. When I bought my laptop a month before I left on my trip I had thought it a “mistake.” When you measure a laptop against two and a half months of good travel, the choice is clear, especially when you can’t reasonably take a laptop backpacking. There’s no internet connection so it’s perfect for me now. I have a place I can sit, reflect, write and read email without having to be connected all the time. Also Lisa is lending me some amazing speakers and combined with downloading songs on the internet at work I have an amazing stereo. After 3 months without my own music in my life, it’s wonderful to have it here.
On it I had done my preliminary planning for the trip. I had Excel spreadsheets that inaccurately laid out my budget for my time abroad, lists of things to do before I left and final farewell emails. And there was music. I remember before my trip my mom telling me that all my music was sad. And she was right! Take for example the syrupy sad Jackie Green album “Gone Wandering” that I listened to nonstop before I left:
I woke up Wednesday morning with bad weather in my brain
I laid awake awhile just ignoring all the rain
Cause everybody’s talking about who they want to be
Everybody’s talking everybody except me
And I got a little money and I got a little time
And I got myself a pickup truck that I can call mine
I got myself a guitar and I got myself some friends
Some folks say I’m lucky but I think it all depends
On the lens that you are looking through and the music that you hear
‘Cause sometimes you don’t recognize your own face in the mirror
And I can’t help but think about what I done wrong
To deserve this roaming, this traveling song…
The notes I wrote reflect this same confusion.
bring stuff to sharon’s house
-bring stuff to devon’s house
-steal pie and meet with sharon’s friend?????
pack up car
move big stuff
meet with felix and cindy, say bye and thanks
– mostly nature stuff
– meeting people
– learn some peruvian music?
– english language schools
good map of south america
relax before the trip
enjoy being somewhere at home
it’s ok to relax
-contact SERVAS people
-bike into choices
-play games with jolene
I left on 6/28/05 and I have not looked back. I am not even sure if there is a back anymore, it seems that returning the United States is just another step on the journey.