Thursday, October 21, 2010

southland in the springtime

Spring is one of my favorite seasons in Bariloche… Along with summer, winter and fall.

In that order.

The sun is out in full force. The clouds are keeping their distance. Snow capped mountains glisten and reflect in the pristine blue waters of the Patagonian lake district. Shy buds are spouting petals and littering the flip flop stroll down to the beach with magical blues, pinks, purples, whites, and yes, reds also. The smells of slow-cooking meats waft and linger from nearby afternoon asados. Familiar smiles are emerging from hibernation as friends gather to celebrate new freedom acquired with the close to the winter season’s long houred work shifts. Yes, spring in Bariloche is here and it’s magical.

Upon my return to Bariloche, a small gathering of friends raised a glass of Malbec for my birthday asado. Matias, the facon-wielding and glowing-coals-maneuvering extraordinaire, produced a finger-licking asado as I embarked on my 26th revolution of life. Having previously undergone a relatively benign, but perspective-giving quarterlife crisis, I was left to thoroughly enjoy the sunny Sunday October 3 and all its adventures.

Now officially unemployed, I have a lot of free time on my hands. Lots of time and lots of disorienting scattered semi-developed goals. These goals include:

1. Learn to crochet.
2. Learn to ride a motorcycle.
3. Research and compile a comprehensive database of edible native plants, their nutritive properties, and recipes.
4. Find a part-time job.
5. Improve quality of life for myself and those around me.
6. Cook and cook and cook. Using local whole-foods and creating as little waste as possible.
7. Be outside and active in the stunning countryside and mountains.
8. Plan my next trip.

Yes, that’s right. I think I’m finally ready to put a close to this Bariloche chapter of my life. I’m going to try to ignore all the eye-rolls at my constantly-changing plans. Tentative travel plans look something like this…

Departure date: sometime in March.
Direction: North.
Mode of transportation: Motorcycle.

Why March? I would like to work the summer season in Bariloche before heading out. A little money in the pocket would be quite nice. Also summer temperatures are brutal in the north, so it makes sense to leave after the heat subsides a bit. Which leads me to… Why North? Last summer I followed my hitching thumb south to Ushuaia. Without a doubt, a new and unforgettable experience. Now I want to explore northern Argentina which promises a completely different cultural scene, but this time I think I’ll tuck away my hitchhiking thumb. Which leads me to… Why motorcycle? Because WOW… what a way to travel! It offers me the freedom of movement. I can go anywhere… and at my own pace. I will be in control of when, where, with whom and for how long. Unlike bus rides, I will be completely immersed in, enveloped by, and at the mercy of my surroundings. One of my goals of traveling is to constantly reinvent myself as a traveler, push limits, and grow with every new experience. And I have never driven a motorcycle. Talk about a new experience.

And along with new experiences comes responsibility. I understand that this is not an adventure I can take lightly. It involves an extreme amount of research and planning. That is why I am allowing much more time for travel preparation this time around. I will take all necessary precautions, purchase the necessary safety equipment, practice practice practice riding a motorcycle until it becomes something fluid and confident, research routes and destinations and weather forecasts.

That being said, a lot can (and probably will) change between now and then. So I will provide no more information except to say that mostly likely my next blogpost will include a picture of my new wheels. :D

In addition to allotting energy, time and focus to my list of goals, I’ve been celebrating spring. Going out on short sunny morning jogs losing my head to the impeccable Patagonian vistas. Spontaneously hiking breathtaking mountains. Hanging out with my new fabulous temporary housemate, Yanina. Cooking (Springtime means that great veggies… mmmm… asparagus!… are starting to appear in my local wonderful verduleria). Ornamenting my nose with a subtle blue piercing. Mate and homemade empanadas at the best kept secret beach behind my house. Hanging on to the back of Matias’s recently and spontaneously purchased motorcycle (It looks like my travel-plan-idea is catching on and I may have a travel companion afterall…). And simply living!

Life is everything. Good and bad are subjective human terms invented to help us describe, divide, understand, and conquer. And sometimes it helps to remember that they do not exist outside of our head. Everything simply is. The judgment starts (and ends) from within. When we accept and embrace the all encompassing interconnecting oneness of the world, we will be at peace. Life is for living. Go out and have fun with it!

No comments: