Cordo{home}bese

Oh, my Lovers… I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. It would seem that for the first time, I have lied to you. Not intentionally, of course… I would never betray you like that. But I had previously promised posts on New Zealand and BA, and, well, my faithful, that is just not going to happen.

After my last post, a fellow Earhart reached out and told me it was a good read – and asked me if I knew why. I had an inkling, but I asked him to share just the same. This particular individual and I had previously discussed my disgust with some of my previous posts – they didn’t possess my usual energy, my style of reminisce, my passion for the the journey and the desire to share it with you. I got behind and felt obligated to rush it, to catch you up, at it was more of a chore than a labor of Love. Anywho, his reply to me was “Because you’re writing about what’s important to you and it shows, not just breezing through what happened to stay caught up”.

He’s 100% correct, and you deserve better. You’ll not get a post about New Zealand, my Lovers. I was already hesitant to write the post… NZ was such an epic journey, an experience of a lifetime, a journey into a new world, a two week adventure with some of my favorite souls….. I tortured myself for not wanting to write to you about it… but I want to keep NZ for me. I hold the trip so near and dear to my heart that I could never do it justice with words, and a half hearted, forced post would just diminish the most amazing two weeks of my life. So, I’m being stingy. NZ is mine. You can’t have it. Sorry, not sorry.

As for BA – arriving late, severe jet lag, a skydiving back injury, being away for my nephew’s birthday and the holidays all topped with the impending departure of my best mate Kis made BA a very tough month for me. The good moments of that month are limited to Slack jaw competitions on the rooftop, sunrise at a club that didn’t get hopping until 4am and a farewell go kart race for the ages. We spent Christmas in the parque, attended an epic drum concert, and I sacrificed a night of sleep to catch up with My Saving Grace on her way through to Cordoba. There was steak and Malbec… everywhere… and I even found a bar with Bulliet Bourbon (no rye though).

Cue Cordoba. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the glorious parts of this lifestyle is the fresh start you get every 4-5 weeks. I had convinced Kis to come spend NYE with us before jetting back to his honey empire, and My Saving Grace was awaiting my arrival so that we could begin and end 2017 together. It was a rocky start after aforementioned Bulliet contributed to a missed flight, but I arrived in the capital city of Argentina and kicked it off with a stroll around the university town with MSG. I had heard a lot about Cordoba, and most of it not good…. opt out, they said…. boring city, not much to do… our expectations coming from KL and BA had been prepped for a “sleepy town”….. but Cordoba stole my heart from second one with it’s tree line boulevards, expansive parques and friendly nature. I was in love – it felt a lot like Birmingham. A college town, big enough to have everything you need, but not so big it is overwhelming. The weather was pleasantly mild (this would change), and the people were as nice as they could be – especially considering my extremely limited Spanish. There were fountains. There were squares. Couples danced on corners. How could you not love this place?

The Earhart crew arrived a day after I did, and we set to preparing a NYE feast. After months of hot plates and microwaves (sometimes), we were treated to full kitchens in our spaces and we set to making use of them with an Italian NYE. The Remote Yogi made Vegan Pesto, Starbucks whipped up his carbonara, and I committed much more time than I anticipated to my dad’s famous meatballs and my lasagna – but it was all worth it to see the look on my fellow Harts faces as they lined up to devour the goods. Around 10pm, we started a round of toasts that went well past midnight – there wasn’t a soul that didn’t participate in one form or fashion, even if it was only to raise a glass, shed a tear, or utter a laugh as we all recounted the past 7 months and planned for the rest of our lives as a tramily. It was a moment you had to be in to truly understand, but hopefully you get the idea.

I spent the next day or so exploring with MSG, saying my see you later to Kis, and settling into the Cordobese lifestyle. It wasn’t the hustle and bustle of what we were used to. It was mornings of CrossFit.. dinners at home… days in a workspace with expansive windows displaying the cathedral Iglesias de Sagrado Corazon de Jesus… Tupperware club…. weekends at the river… the most normal of “normal” lifestyle I’ve experienced since leaving for Remote Year. In the realm of #newnormal, we mountain biked through the Sierras chicas and hiked to a waterfall fed swimming hole…. we learned how to make empanadas…. twice. We drank Fernet and Coke from plastic bottles with the neck cut off. The steak…. some of the best steak I’ve ever had in my life…. so tender, so juicy… from the corner market.. and costing less than $5 per portion. Oh, and it took me four attempts, but I mastered eyeballing homemade chocolate chip cookies.

While there isn’t much to report on the super exciting from from Cordoba, I can report that I am continuing to shock and amaze myself at my own potential – and in that same tone, the love and support from the community around me that facilitates this growth. I’ve accepted that I’m human and I have feelings, and I’ve accepted the fact that the possession of such feelings is not a weakness. I’ve made a move professionally that I never would have had the stones to make a year ago. All things made possible by the community of fantastic souls that I surround myself with on a daily basis. Amazing humans that push me to be better… or just to be the me that I’ve always been and never had the courage to embraced. A caring, brave soul… a bad ass professionally… a leader of my life if I would only get out of my own way. “Vincit qui se vincit” has always been one of my favorite quotes – the translation literally is “(S)He conquers twice who conquers him(her)self when he(she) is victorious – the popular interpretation is to stay humble in victory – don’t be arrogant, smug or cruel – I like to think of this as a broader theory that you are your biggest obstacle – or maybe more so your pride. Humility serves us all. Don’t believe me? Travel the world for eight months with 40 beautiful souls and I dare you to not have it change you for the better.

Specifically Yours,

SR

The Only Constant is Change

Hola mis Amantes!  Last weekend, I took a quick jaunt over to Mendoza to hang out with the ever so lovely ACs while they were on their South American Tour.  Determined not to repeat my Aerolinas Argentinas error from my departure from BA, I left my Còrdoba apartment with ample time to get to the airport…. but without my (forgotten) iPad, my usual method of entertainment on flights, even one as short as this one.  After a quick check-in misunderstanding clear up, I quickly realized my phone was my only method of distraction from the boringness that can be solo travel.  So I pulled out my notes app and typed up this gem for you.  Its not the epic adventures I usually portray, but instead a depiction of the journey between who I was when I left for RY and who I am now – a trip just as read-worthy as the rest imho.

How has Remote Year changed me?

This isn’t the deep stuff or the monumental growth – both personal and professional – that I’ve achieved on this trip.  Its not the life changing moments I’ve had, or the self realizations that have made me a better version of myself.  This is the superficial stuff. The day to day.  The shit that you might not give two flying fucks about, but hey, its my blog and I’ll write what I want.

Schedule

What’s changed

So far on this trip I’ve been fortunate enough to live in the future from my friends, family and co workers, and the only time it really bit me in the ass was New Zealand when I was 21 hours ahead and therefore starting my days at 4am and working “weekend” days.  Overnights in Asia were rough too, but Europe and South America are kinda my jam, where I am/was 3-6 hours ahead of the curve. This means that the girl who used to routinely rise for 530 am Iron Tribe classes now doesn’t dare rise before 9am, which is beneficial because here in Argentina, nothing starts before 10pm. Dinner party? Show up at 930 and you’re early. Empanadas are served at midnight and goodbyes are said in the wee hours of the morn. We showed up to a club in BA at 2am one time and it was devoid of souls besides us and about 15 others… within an hour you couldn’t move in the place…. and by sunrise, it was a madhouse with no signs of slowing down.  Europe wasn’t much different.  It seems the US is the only place where ‘early’ is a thing.

What hasn’t changed

No alarm weekends.  I cherish at least one day a week when I don’t have to be risen by the bleating chirps of my phone. Tomorrow is one of those days, and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to get to sleep and not be woken until I’m ready.  Do not disturb is your friend, especially when a good portion of your friends live in worldwide timezones and text you at all hours of the day and night.

Workouts

What’s changed

Your girl was a beast when she left on this journey – everyone said exercise routines would be the hardest routine to keep up with, and despite locating Crossfit gyms in each city I traveled to before even leaving AND running TWO separate fitness challenges (Lisbon and Thailand), I only find myself back in a regular gym routine here in month 8, where I’ve found a box that I really like and there are 6-8 of us going a day and shaming each other for not making it to class.  To be semi-fair, I injured my shoulder in Lisbon, and without access to my favorite orthos and PTs, it was more of a self-med sitch, and we all know I’m not the best at ‘laying off’…. but it has really been more of the side tripping, partying, and general exploring that’s contributed to the demise of my former cut AF physique.  My return to the barbell has been humbling to say the least, and not just because I’m nursing a back injury that I can only trace back to skydiving… or sleeping in a camper van for a week.  Having a core group that pushes each other helps, but even then I still find myself hitting snooze on the workouts sometimes…. and the rule is if you don’t Crossfit, you can’t talk about Crossfit…..

What hasn’t changed

I still have desire and the will and the want to participate in physical activity. It is still my best form of stress relief, so I swam the Adriatic in Split, ran the sights in Prague, trekked the river in Lisbon, traversed the parks in BA, snatched axels in Thailand (ok, it was just that once), and gotten in what I can where I can.

Water

What’s changed

I used to be the biggest water snob in the world. If it wasn’t Smartwater or Evian, I turned my nose up at it. At the very least, it had to be filtered from the fridge. Now, when I get to a country, my first question is whether or not the tap water is safe to drink, and I’m usually ecstatic when it is. I have no problems filling my water bottle up in an airport bathroom sink, something that I would have found appalling before. Water is an important thing to all of us, and knowing the boundaries of that staple in each country is imperative. Just ask Duffs about Bali Belly.

I also used to load my water down with ice.  Tons of it.  I spent the first two weeks of Croatia looking for ice.  Turns out there, they make it in plastic bags.  In Budapest, we had *an* ice tray for three of us… by Lisbon, ice was a thing of the past.  Here in month 8, I realized I had an ice bin and three ice trays… and didn’t even use them until two weeks later after the ACs gifted me with a fun size pack of Heaven Hill whiskeys.

What hasn’t changed

My love for water.  Cold water.  In lieu of my ice failures, I still attempt to keep my water as cold as possible while chasing summer.

Beauty

What’s changed

Because we are chasing summer, embracing the flip flop lifestyle has been one of my favorite parts of this trip.  Top that with walking almost everywhere, and you can get some rough soles.  When I lived in the states, I wouldn’t dare bare my feet without biweekly pedicures, and if I was treating myself, a nice shellac mani. It’s month 8 and I’m pretty sure the last pedicure I had was month 3 (despite wearing flip flops every day) and even then I was scolded for the status of the skin on my feet.

Additionally, my level of give a fuck about the status of my mane has dropped dramatically.  Although I do have my favorite shampoo and conditioner muled in from the states, my general attitude about the tameness of my curls has decreased immensely.  Most days I don’t wash my hair and just throw a little water on it and hope for the best.  Managing this mop in a myriad of climates had generally produced what Marky refers to as my lion’s mane – a heap of golden curls that are messy and tangled a far cry from the carefully crafted ringlets I strove so hard to achieve while living stateside.  Oh, and anything but curls?  Forget it…. my straightener died with a pop that blew out a fuse in Thailand and my curling iron decided to stop heating up in BA… I’m left with my travel hair dryer, but most days I don’t consider it even close to worth the effort.  So lion’s mane it is.  Roar.

Make-up…. ugh make-up, shmakeup… what’s the point? I throw on some eyeliner and mascara if I want to feel pretty, but it’s mostly reserved for nights out. In this heat it mostly just melts off, so, like I said earlier –  what’s the point?

What hasn’t changed

I’m still a product loyalist.  Ever since Birchbox sent me my first sample of Beauty Protector, the only time another shampoo and conditioner has touched my hair is when I’m in the salon and don’t get to choose.  I’ve had friends restock me and even risked Vietnamese customs to have my signature product in my possession, not to mention the precious suitcase space and KGs I’ve sacrificed for that delectable scent.  Don’t get me wrong, I tried in Split to use something I could find on the road, but some things are with the hassle, and BP is one.

Another item worth it, my Forever After Lotion.  I’ve been using this product for over 15 years, and as long as I can still get it shipped from Amazon and muled to my location, I’ll pay a decent price for the comfort of my favorite skin product at my disposal.

Travel 

What’s changed

I used to despise traveling, and god forbid there was a bump in the road concerning my travel plans. Delayed flights, forgotten items, and crying babies used to send me into a travel tizzy. 8 months in, nothing really phases me anymore. I just left an airport where my reservation had been cancelled because the airlines domestic site had not accepted my foreign credit card despite sending me a confirmation. NBD, head downstairs and re-book the flight. Volcano erupted and stuck in Bali? Ok, book another flight and contact your travel insurance. Flight delayed 8 hours? Leave the airport, find a bar and taste the local brews. Got drunk the night before and missed your flight?  There’s another one in a few hours. Pay your stupid tax, grab a hangover nap and try again (this has happened to me twice now – whiskey is the devil).  Didn’t get the window seat you wanted on a 13 hour flight? Take a whole xanax instead of a half and sleep that sucker out.

Grabbing a taxi to my destination from the airport (or anywhere at all for that matter) used to make my heart race, but now I walk out with ease, locate the taxi line, negotiate the rate and hop in. Uber isn’t always a thing and taxis will try to rip you off, so of I want that extra empanada or glass of wine, I have to be able to show the local chariots I can’t be pushed around. It’s helpful to know flat rates to and from airports, and ALWAYS have the meter running otherwise.

I’ve begun to work as many travel hacks as possible too. How to sneak your overweight carry-on onto any flight.  Most airlines only allow 7kgs of carry-on, and my tech alone weighs that.  When not traveling alone, leave your carry-on with a friend and check in without it.  The alternative is getting caught by Air Asia in Osaka and getting smacked with fees for bags you now have to check. How soon do you really need to be there beforehand? You’ll learn more from the fails on that one. Figuring out if said airport has food and/or drinks once you pass security – not always a thing. Best packing job to have the items you want accessible. I’ve also abandoned the use of my Apple Wallet for boarding passes too. It’s much easier just to have the paper pass. Travel pants – complete with pockets for phone and passport so I always know where those are. Displaying said passport in key moments to convey I may or may not speak the local language. Always have a pen handy for customs forms. Always – ALWAYS – be nice to customs agents, even when the scold you for not speaking Spanish after aforementioned 13 hour flight in a middle seat after being delayed a total of almost 10 hours (I’m learning, damnit).

What hasn’t changed

I still carry my script of low dose Xanax for two reasons: hangover anxiety and travel.  I don’t care how used to the travel mishaps I am, airports are still stressful places.  Judge me if you want, but it is in everyone’s best interest and enhances travel experiences for all for me to down that half of a little blue pill that brings me back to zero from a seven or eight. I’m not the only one taking advantage either… I’ve facilitated a much more enjoyable flight experience for more than a few of my fellow Earharts by prescribing to the sharing is caring method (see what I did there?).  Also, my travel essentials: a bottle of water, a bag of Sour Patch Kids and noise cancelling headphones.

Reliance on technology

What’s changed

Sometimes you land in a country and for whatever reason, your phone doesn’t work.  Most airports have wifi, but having a game plan in place regardless is a fantastic idea.  T Mobile had a worldwide outage last weekend while I was roaming Mendoza with the ACs.  We grabbed a map and did it old school.  Worldwide data is great, but 2G speeds are bullshit.  I have recently cut ties with my US based SIM to go the international route VIA Google Voice, Hangouts, porting and local SIMs… I’m not exactly sure what this means for my text messages yet (even though Johnny Boy has tested it and explained it numerous times), so to be safe, if you need me, hit me on WhatsApp.  Its how the rest of the world sends text messages.

That said, when landing in a foreign country that’s not on the itinerary, grab a local SIM, find an ATM and get moving because there is limited time and lots to see.  Always.

What hasn’t changed

My need to rely on technology.  I am a digital nomad after all.

There you are my Lovers, a little insight into the changes in your SR that aren’t really important, but fill up the space of a short flight to Mendoza (plus a bit extra for editing).  Stay tuned for more adventures along the way – Abuela’s empanadas, mountain biking the Sierras, Asado and more…. all in the next episode.

 

Until then, as always
Randomly Yours,

SR