Status Report: Everything's changed.
I'm on a different hemisphere working in a foreign country where January means summer, learning to speak a new language, and hanging out with friends I've only known for a few weeks. And yet the strangest aspect about this situation is that despite all of this, I've never felt more stable in my life. I'm exactly where I want to be, doing the things I want to do. I wake up every morning, eat breakfast, then go to work not wondering if there's something else I'd rather be doing with my life. No more existential crisis.
I sat down with my travel journal this morning and reviewed my entries from the last month in hopes of figuring out how I could possibly convey my experiences via this blog post. In doing so, I realized that I've had more new experiences in the first 30 days of 2018 than the previous 6 months combined and recalling it with any degree of detail would require writing a book. Instead, here's a summary of the 3 most significant aspects of my new life: the people, lifestyle, and adventures.
Meet Aurora - a group of over 50 outstanding human beings I call my tramily (travel family). We met on a rooftop overlooking Buenos Aires for the first time on New Year's Eve to celebrate many new beginnings - the celebration continues to this day.
For most people, college is the first and last time they'll be put in a social situation where they're in a new place with new people that all share the predicament. When you move to a new city or change jobs, you often assimilate into pre-existing groups or get woven into the social fabric that was in place before your arrival. But here, we all started together at square 1 and have grown extremely close because of it.
Over the last month, I've had the pleasure of getting to know many of these brave souls at one level deeper than most people go with new friends. I'm amazed how close we've grown. We trust one another, allow ourselves to be vulnerable and honest about our faults, cry together, and have each other's backs when shit hits the fan, windows, and walls. Of all the adventures that await us over the next year, I know that the greatest journey of all will arise from the community.
Before this year, I had never lived in a big city. I visited plenty, but growing up in the suburbs and attending a commuter college sheltered me from the experience of sharing daily life with a few million other people. I awoke on January 2nd, 2018, ready to begin my new life in Buenos Aires with all the wide-eyed excitement of a child embarking on his first day of school. My backpack was stuffed with supplies as I set out on the streets, ready to finally be a real digital nomad.
The accommodations for the first month were atypical for the program in that you typically don't share a single building. In other cities, we will be spread out around the city in various apartments with roommates, but this month we were lucky enough to each have our own private apartment in the same building. This was perfect for the forming stage of group building; I'm sure it did wonders for helping people adjust and assimilate.
The rooftop pool where our group met nearly every night to drink wine and socialize
My humble abode for the first month
The balcony view was pretty awesome - a perfect meditation spot
The trendy coworking space we shared with locals
"The Forest" in the back had tons of beanbags to use for siestas
Where all the digital magic happened
Looking back, I'm amazed at how many incredible memories I've made in a single month. These are but a small handful of things I've done in January.
I played actual polo on horseback
Kayaked in the Tigre River Delta
Volunteered at a Children's shelter making furniture out of wooden palettes and tagging along for a parade through the streets
Attended a rave at 6am to welcome the summer and started the day with happiness and healthy snacks
Got to leave our mark on the city by painting our own murals with world-renowned muralist Martín Ron. This guy is incredible!
I love my life. There's so much to be thankful for and I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. This program was everything I hoped it would be and more; the bar was set high and I'm happy to look down on it from the clouds. This isn't to say that I haven't had some down days or times to be sad - I still feel a full range of emotions. But overall, I'm amazed my brain can create so much dopamine and awake every morning hungry for more.