Out of all the amazing people in the world, I always wonder why I don’t seem to end up next to them on flights, on chairlifts, or on the bus…places where I have spent a lot of time. Or perhaps I just haven’t asked the right questions or I’ve put my headphones in too fast. When you’re on a bus ride from Buenos Aires to Bariloche in Argentina, you have plenty of time to take an 8 hour nap and still talk to your compañero for several hours, over dinner, and share side by side bus seats that double as your beds for the night.
This is how I met Lucho. I saw that he was reading a book that I love (The Four Agreements o Cuatro Acuerdos) and several mates later, I had a new Spanish teacher and a new friend.By the time we got to Bariloche we were making plans to meet up throughout the week. Each day he and his friends would pick me up from my hostel to take me along for their adventures.
Sebastian and Luciana, quite possible the cutest couple alive were just as welcoming and friendly to me like I had been part of the plan the entire time. On one particularly special day, we went to a rocky beach of a spectacularly blue lake and spent the day playing and creating and following the rays of the sun. We made games out of rocks and sunken logs, we snorkeled, played card games, picnicked. When the shade took over, we picked up and found a new sun soaked beach and they kept me entertained with headstands and juggling. Read about our day and check out pictures here!
I was bursting with gratitude for meeting such friendly, generous, genuine people. What I have experienced and learned from them is this intense sense of living in the present moment perfectly balanced with playfulness and creativity. When I am with them, I think I know what is going on, only to find out that none of us do because it is all about being spontaneous and going with the natural flow. I feel so relaxed and not worried with them. It is the antithesis of living in a manner where busyness is glorified. They also seem to see art everywhere and their imaginations manifest into real life to be shared and enjoyed. This has taught me to let my imagination out to exercise too, and to share the joys that show up when I do.
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?