My first thought when I woke up in Buenos Aires was that in the entire Southern part of this huge continent, no one gave a shit about me. Absolutely no one had my best interests at heart, no one had my back. I had no relatives, no friends, no acquaintances.
Not a very cheery, comforting thought. “But this is reality!” Feng would have assessed.
“This is just me against the world” is his mindset, not mine. In my world, we share, strangers are nice, and it’s okay to love and be loved back.
But this time, Feng’s little voice in my head might have a point. I am alone, truly alone.
Damn depressing morning thoughts.
See, I’m not a morning person. This is the moment of the day when I’m most negative. Waking up isn’t upsetting per se, I don’t value sleep that much. It’s just that every new day is a blank page, a story not yet written, and it can be kind of scary. I have no idea where I’m going, metaphorically and literally. At least, by 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., the day has taken shape—I no longer have writer’s block, the story of just another day on earth is developing. By 6 p.m., I’m ready for a plot twist. Then I get so hooked on the characters and the story that I go to bed way too late…
Okay, why am I here alone, already? Right, because I want to explore cities and enjoy summer in the Southern hemisphere.
I’m going out. Things will make sense at one point.
Oh, cool, the kiosko downstairs is selling coffee. Things are about to make sense faster than planned.
Missions and directions—that’s what I need.
Directions? Easy. I’m a freelancer, I’m used to putting myself to work. I’m good at bossing myself around—I even do pushups when no one is looking, that’s how much of a masochist I am.
Missions? I have plenty, come to think of it. Travelling is a bit like a real-life egg hunt. You spend your time looking for things or trying to make sense of your environment using clues, and then you move on to the next challenge to find a bigger chocolate egg. You’re looking for landmarks and attractions, the way to the bus station, the meaning of a word in a foreign language, you’re solving cultural mysteries, you’re buying food, finding shelter, figuring out transportation and then when you’re done, you travel to another city.
Travelling itself is a full-time job.
And I have work to complete as well, several assignments that will keep me busy.
But my very first mission is to adapt to the Latino world. After a month in Brazil, Argentina feels very foreign and somewhat confusing. Latin America isn’t a homogeneous block of “countries where people Spanish” and “that place where people are the same except they speak Portuguese.” Argentina is pretty different from Uruguay, which is different from Brazil, and then as soon as you cross the Andes, it’s yet another world.
I’m going to activate my chameleon power—and it starts with observing people.