Tomorrow we are flying to Buenos Aires, Argentina to begin the next phase of our year-long adventure. We plan on being in South America for six to eight months to learn Spanish, volunteer and travel. Why did we choose South America? Learning Spanish is one goal, as is exploring new terrain. And to be honest, we’re also looking forward to a warmer winter this year. We look forward to connecting with locals and exploring the natural beauty and cultural offerings of South America.
We are flying from Miami to Buenos Aires via Houston and Santiago, Chile. Our twenty-four hour flight is courtesy of frequent flier miles so trust me when I say that we’re not complaining. We got one way tickets so we don’t have a return date right now. Taking life one day at a time for the past 3 months has been really nice and living with less stress is something we both aspire to do long term.
During our month long stay in BA we will study Spanish, explore the city, and research places to visit. It’s our goal to find volunteer opportunities so we can connect on a deeper level with a family or a local organization.
Here are some fun things that will make our stay in Buenos Aires pretty special:
1. Harry’s niece Emma spent last spring/summer studying abroad in Buenos Aires. Her enthusiasm, tips and recommendations have been invaluable. Imagine being in Argentina during the World Cup!
2. One of Emma’s Spanish teachers, Melina, actually used to live in Portland and teach at Reed College! What a small world. We look forward to spending time with her both as a friend and as our Spanish tutor.
3. Melina’s boyfriend is currently working in Chile, so we will be renting his BA apartment in the Palermo neighborhood for a month upon our arrival. His place looks really nice and it’s in a great (read: safe) neighborhood. We can’t wait to hunker down in one place for an extended period of time. We look forward to frequenting local markets and exploring the city.
3. My cousin Maureen’s friends, Linda and Frank, work at the American Embassy in BA. Linda has been a great resource for us. She and Frank invited us over for dinner Friday night and we look forward to meeting them in person.
4. Linda also e-introduced us to her taxi driver who will pick us up at the airport on Wednesday. We were going to take the public bus (a seventy minute ride) but after twenty four hours of travel I imagine seeing Don Julio holding a sign with our names on it might feel a little bit like we won the lottery.
5. Harry’s cousin Ellen is a retired Spanish teacher. She and her husband Amin — get this! — are also flying to Buenos Aires tomorrow! We did not coordinate our efforts, people…. it just happened. They will be staying in our neighborhood as well… another coincidence. It will be fun to kick around with them for a little while before they head out of town.
The number one destination on our list is Patagonia. The best time to visit is January through March when the weather is hopefully more hospitable. Our thought is to take a bus down from BA, more than a 30 hour journey. Ideally we’ll stop at a few little towns along the way to break up the ride and meet some locals. Driving will afford us the luxury to experience the vastness and incredible landscape that you miss when flying. Too bad Moby can’t join us.
How we’ll spend the reminder of our time in South America is still up in the air. Our travels across the US have been day-to-day and that’s how we plan on rolling down south, too. Our journey will be shaped by the people we meet along the way.
Please keep in touch, friends! We’d love to hear from you.