Remember how a picture says a thousand words? This is a landscape photo of Patagonia, copied directly from a google images search. When I showed it to my dad, he said, “Wow, that looks more like a painting.” When I showed it to my boss, he said, “I bet you could catch some huge fish in that lake.” The first time I saw it, I thought of Tolkien’s Misty Mountains and the Mines of Moria glowing with gold.

This photograph has inspired me. At some point, I started telling people, “I want to find that spot and see that view in person.” It is both a challenge and a motivation.

My boyfriend, Jimi, and I have been planning a trip to Argentina for some time. His parents still live there and he claims Buenos Aires is his favorite city in the world. We looked into visiting over the holidays, but travel was expensive then and I couldn’t get large chunks of time away from the golf course around Christmas. So the plan was put on hold for a while.

Months later, we both got the “itch”. Jimi was ready to switch gears from working at Fox to finding a job in the financial world. I had enjoyed my three year stint at Annandale, but I was ready for a more corporate setting– maybe pursue an MBA (finally). We discussed these career moves, especially thinking of the grind that we would be facing as we started at the bottom of the ladder again. Suddenly, Argentina was back in the picture.

“What if we go spend like a month down there?” I asked one night. “We could coordinate with whatever jobs we get to give us a month of time in between.”

Jimi was a little more realistic: “The possibility of landing jobs at the same time and both getting a month off might be a bit of a stretch.”

I sighed. When it came to practicalities, Jimi was usually right. “Well, I could take like a week or two off work whenever you find a new job and we can just pack in as much as we can. Obviously, we want to hit Buenos Aires and your parent’s place in Tucuman, then maybe Iguazu Falls?”

Jimi laughed, “I think you are seriously underestimating the distance between those places. We’d spend the entire two weeks on buses.”

I opened my laptop and looked at the map. He was right, again. The country was huge. I started looking at the highlighted cities. “Any other places you’d want to visit while we’re there?” I asked.

He leaned over my shoulder and pointed to Cordoba. “Really great architecture there. Oh and you’d love Mendoza– it’s the wine region.” I google imaged pictures of each city and added each of them in turn to our Argentina bucket list.

“Okay, type in Patagonia,” Jimi said.

That’s when I found THE picture. The photo that made me say, “Let’s just do this. I know it’s not that practical, but we don’t have bills to pay, we have a place to live down there, we enjoy backpacking together… Let’s go.”

Over the summer we turned that idea into a reality. We bought our plane tickets (with a return date six months out). We organized our passports and insurance, turned in our two-weeks notices, and packed all our stuff into a storage shed at my cousin’s house.

And now it’s time to go! We leave next Monday, September 14. We are going to spend several weeks in Buenos Aires, volunteer with Jimi’s parents’ mission work, study (me: Spanish, Jimi: CFA exam), travel to Iguazu Falls, attend an Argentina vs. Brazil World Cup qualifier match, go on wine tours, learn to tango, visit estancias  (where the Argentine cowboys roam), and spend a month backpacking through Patagonia.

I am also thrilled to have an excuse to write again! I started blogging on my six-week trip to Israel, continued on my three-month stint in Greece, and will now resume writing again on my six-month journey through Argentina. Funny how that works…

A big farewell to all my family and friends!! I will miss you guys!

xoxo

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