I didn’t expect to love the first destination of my year. I didn’t expect to feel heartbroken over leaving. I didn’t expect to feel so at home in Buenos Aires. I didn’t expect (although I should have—we are talking about me, after all) to find people so quickly that I didn’t want to leave behind. I didn’t expect to wonder, after my first two months abroad, if I’d lived the pinnacle of my year. I didn’t expect to fall in love with Buenos Aires.
Granted, me traveling with Hacker Paradise and staying in an Airbnb for two months is not the same thing as me moving there and owning property and trying to get mail and dealing with machismo and an ever-volatile economy. Perhaps the people and the tree-lined streets and the art and the history and the architecture would be swallowed up by the monsters BureauCRAZY and Corruption, but there’s a lot to love about Buenos Aires.
A lot of people live there, and a lot of people love it. I was chatting with my new Airbnb host in Lima and explaining my year of being a digital nomad and that I’d just come from Buenos Aires and that I loved it and she said, “Lima has better food, but it can’t compare to Buenos Aires.” Buckle your seatbelts, err’body, cause this might be a rough transition!
To commemorate my last week in BA, I was able to host the first international Discussion Dinner. Discussion Dinner is an event I started two years ago in Austin with the purpose of moving past small talk and exploring meatier subjects. While there can be value in discussing sports and tv shows and the best coffeeshops in town, if that’s all we talk about, we’re missing out on truly getting to know each other, how we think, what we value, and how we make decisions.
Before I left the US, my friend Sunni encouraged me to take Discussion Dinner global. At the time, I was skeptical that I’d have the capacity (emotional and time) to invest in anything else. I’ve realized, though, that the dinners are perfect for this global adventure. The dinners are made for groups of people from different backgrounds who don’t really know each other but want to.
So, last Thursday, four friends—one from the US, one from Buenos Aires, one from Holland, one from Finland—and I gathered around my table and discussed ‘What Does Travel Mean to You?” We talked about solo travel versus group travel. Some preferred solo travel because it forces you to meet new people. Some hate traveling if they don’t have another person to share the experience with. We talked about our methods for meeting locals: language lessons, professional events, and mobile apps. We talked about our biggest fear abroad is that someone we love back home will die. We talked about food we miss from our home countries. We talked about how travel, simultaneously, expands what you know and shows you just how much you don’t know. If I had taken notes during the dinner, you’d be hearing even more.
Here's to the first Discussion Dinner: International Edition. Thank you, Niels, for being my partner in crime and making that delicious Indian curry. Thank you, Ali, for representing Argentina and the insightful way you talk. Thank you, Spencer, for your support and understanding the reason behind my airplane banter. Thank you, Dixie, for being brave and attending something with a host you didn't even know! To many many more this year!
This one is a shorter update. I’m still adjusting to the fact that I’m in Lima and not BA. How many times can a girl write about goodbyes? We shall see.
What have you said goodbye to lately? Comment below and let me know.