I had just returned to the town of Bariloche from a 4 day trek in the nearby mountains, when I met Igor. He had just returned from days of rock climbing in the same range. We were both in love with the nature surrounding us and in love with the fact that we had narrowly missed the crazy winds and rain of Patagonia that graced us for the next week. So over long, lingering breakfasts drinking mate and looking out over the lake we talked about authors, spirituality, cultural differences; we traded stories of our current adventures and dreams for the next steps.
Many things were inspiring to me about about this equal parts French and Swiss adventurer, but two things struck me the most, perhaps because these things are on my mind with my current adventure.
- He is in love with rock climbing and surfing. He lives in Switzerland now and every chance he gets, you’ll find him hiking the mountains for some back country skiing, finding a wall to scale, or getting after a break up the coast. Many people go around the world to travel and I respect that for a passion in itself…it certainly is for me. And on this adventure, Igor was combining his passion for travel with his passions for climbing and surfing. The experiences he is having and the connections with people he is making are extraordinary, and for me, a reflection of what happens when you get completely lost in what makes you feel the most alive.
- I also noticed him soaking in all of the nuances of the Argentine culture, adopting them as naturally as if it had always been his way of being. …Taking mate in the mornings and afternoons, passing it around to share with anyone interested and sparking conversations in the mean time. …Relaxing into the night with the late setting sun to simmer for a while before thinking about a late dinner, 10pm at the earliest. Something about the way he did this seemed so natural, like he wasn’t just immersed in a different culture, but like he had actually melted into it, taking it as his own while he is here in a way I had not noticed the masses doing.
A talented photographer to boot, it was easy for me to get carried away in his experiences too. To me he is having a unique, very deep, very personal trip, journey, adventure. I really wanted to give him a crane to thank him for his company, for making me think about some things, and for the inspiration. What are the passions that I get lost in home or away? What do I seek out when I go to explore a new place? How do I melt into a culture?