I’ve traveled a lot in the past. I’m jumping on a plane at least a few times each year to head somewhere for either business and/or pleasure.
Mostly, however, it’s been pretty domestic. I’ve been to Mexico, the Caribbean more times than I can count, and have been to almost every Canadian province, and a fair number of U.S. states.
The most exotic place I’ve been is Turkey, and that was just a day trip during a cruise. I’ve been to a couple of places that had sketchy English (parts of Greece and Barcelona) but never so much that it was difficult to communicate. And… I was always with friends or family.
Registering for a month-long trip with people I didn’t know was a pretty big leap for me. It was WAY outside my comfort zone and I even surprised myself by jumping in.
I’m so glad I did. It was an extremely impactful experience.
Why you ask?
Well, first of all, I learned pretty quickly that there are very few people who speak English in any big way in Buenos Aires.
I flew into the domestic airport there. It was recommended by the organizers at Hacker Paradise. I think I was the only one that paid attention to that recommendation. It was about $1k more to fly there than the international airport about 30 minutes further away. Thankfully, I used points to get my plane tickets but it sucks that it blew them all. Now, being that it was a domestic airport, there was like, ZERO English all the way through customs and collecting my luggage. Talk about culture shock. Thankfully, once I got out to the main area in the airport and visited a kiosk to get a taxi, they semi-kinda spoke English. Enough that I got one ordered and made my way to my home away from home for the month.
My taxi driver spoke no English. That was ok – it allowed me to relax a little and take in the city for a half an hour until we arrived at my condo. He helped me with my luggage and took me to the door. Even rang the bell for me and waited until it was answered. Sweet! He certainly got a nice tip from me. 🙂
I’m proud of my courage to travel with people I didn’t know.
I’m proud of my courage to get out of my own way and try to speak Spanish. It’s pretty intimidating when you know pretty much nada. But the more you practice, the more you learn. (That, and hand signals and cheat sheets work wonders!)