‘Any laptops, ipads, liquids?’
This all too familiar airport chant did nothing to reassure me as I went through security before boarding my flight to Buenos Aires. Argentina had been number one on my travel list for years but as I stood there in my ultra nerdy hiking boots, a Northface fleece and a oversized rain jacket, I really questioned what I had got myself into. I had booked to go over for three months by myself and had organised nothing except for the first night’s accommodation.
To fully comprehend my growing horror at this situation, it’s important to understand that I had a pathological fear of doing anything by myself. If a friend wasn’t able to make a gym class, I wouldn’t go either. If I found an evening or weekend course that looked interesting, I would never consider doing it unless I could enlist a friend to do it with me. And as for having a meal by myself- I would rather go hungry.
While sitting at the gate, I began for the first time to think of the logistics of the trip ahead. For over three years I had been determined to go to Argentina and I had quit my job at Google three weeks before the departure so I’d had plenty of time to devise a plan. For so long I had been drawn to the ‘Paris of South America’ and all that went with it- tango, steak, red wine and lots more steak but I hadn’t worked out the practicalities like what I would spend my time doing over there.
The panic slowly set in- how was I going to fill 12 whole weeks? Would I make even one friend? Would my Spanish be sufficient to communicate with the porteños?
While on the verge of having a panic attack, a man who must have been the twin brother of Mexican heart-throb Gael Garcia Bernal sat down next to me. Ok, I thought, things are looking up.