For the past month I’ve been living in Mendoza, Argentina. Granted, I sleep in a room no larger than Harry Potter’s bed below the stairs and my bank account often reads negative, but still I´ve grown to love this beautiful, Argentine city.
Leaving my latest volunteer gig and moving into an 18-person exchange house changed my traveling life. Although I lost a free month of CrossFit training, I gained access to a whole new world: a college world in which students study for a minimum of 6 years — for those of you craving more college parties, South America is your answer.
Living with international students aged between 20 – 33, has taught me so much more about the world. For example, I learned that the French have never seen Reeses before. Not even Reeses cups or Reeses pieces! I also learned that the Spanish, Mexicans, French, Argentines and really everyone else in the world cooks better than myself.
More importantly, each day we all share a part of our lives and grow closer as a family. Whether it be a potluck dinner with patriotic foods, a random Independence Day celebration or a thrilling game of cards, we constantly exchange our cultures and customs.
While I love talking about America, I can honestly say I’m sick of answering questions about Donald Trump.
Living in one place for a month has given me more time to write as well. In the past few weeks, I’ve submitted my first novel for publishing, acquired recording time with the famous travel podcast Extra Pack of Peanuts and completed my first job as an outdoor equipment product tester.
That’s right, after a successful application process, a budding outdoor adventure company hired me to test their products. For my first assignment, I traveled into the mountains with some friends and reviewed my own backpack to showcase my abilities. I planned the event all week but come Friday night, my American friend Collin “pressured” me into hitting the clubs.
We arrived home at 6 a.m. but remained confident in making our bus two hours later. Somehow we succeeded, but it wasn’t after oversleeping an hour and sprinting across Mendoza in 15 minutes before we safely boarded our micro.
To make matters worse, just after the bus dropped us off in the middle of nowhere, we realized that we forgot to pack food. Luckily Elie, the coolest French guy I know, stuffed a half-loaf of bread in his pack before leaving the house. That sweet, chemical goodness served as our only source of energy for the day.
Despite our less than optimal conditions, getting paid to hike, skinny dip and enjoy nature was a dream come true. I cannot stress this enough: find what you love most in the world, then make your mission to monetize that hobby. Whether it’s fishing, reading and traveling the world, with effort I truly believe anything is possible.
In the meantime, I’ve been killing my days eating rice, bungee jumping and playing music. After watching a band perform in the city’s center, I introduced myself to the lead singer who later invited me back to perform. I arrived the next morning with my saxophone and belted nervously into their microphone.
Turns out, the band liked my sound and inviting me back for more. This week, the guitarist/singer and I have our first gig together at a local restaurant — coincidentally the same restaurant where I worked as a waiter….for just one day.
In other news, it looks like I might have to put my Aconcagua expedition on hold. The park remains closed and entering without a permit is too illegal. I would consider it, but I alsodon’t have any of the necessary equipment. Fortunately, last week I met an argentine who said we might be able to organize a trip to the summit with his friend. I guess we will wait and see how that turns out.
Currently I’m debating whether or not to renew my lease in Mendoza or continue on throughout South America and return to hike Aconcagua later. There’s a lot of great people here, amazing friends and exciting opportunities, but I can’t help but scratch the itch to travela. I’ll keep you updated, but until next time.
Live without Limits,