Sunday, June 9, 2013


The situation is this:

For the past nine months I've been trapped in Baltimore, Maryland, of "The Wire" fame, a city which Lonely Planet tactfully describes as, "A lot of cities try to be hip, stylish, on top of the trends.  Baltimore says screw that."  I've devoted a third of my life to escaping my homeplace, and have lived in Ireland, Russia, and Finland, as well as the not-quite-so-exciting Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.  Two summers ago I lived in Galway, a smallish city on the west coast of Ireland, with two other girls in a leaky, dysfunctional, amazing townhouse with big windows and velvet curtains (we swore it used to be a turn-of-the-century bordello,) down by the docks.  In the common room there was an enormous map of the world plastered up over the wall, and we used it to plot out grandiose trips through South America.  

I'd assumed this was just us burning time before going to the pub (there are approximately four trillion pubs in Galway,) but around last November my one housemate went ahead and bought a ticket to Buenos Aires.  She quickly finagled me into meeting her in Bogotá, Colombia at such and such a date—I had recently left Ireland for the sixth time in six years and was distraught enough to swear an oath of no more traveling FOREVER, but $180 for a one-way ticket was too much to pass up—and that date, after nine months of having nothing to do but knit and languish, is tomorrow.

I have no itinerary as such, being as whenever I make plans they usually get derailed, aside from a chain of plane tickets from Bogotá to Cartagena, and from Cartagena to Quito, Ecuador.  But my current goal is to work my way down the continent, retracing Lisa's trip backwards, to Buenos Aires and then, bank account willing, fly back to the States for a friend's wedding in February.  Other goals include buying a leather jacket, exploring Cuenca and going on nature hikes with my age-old friend from high school who will be getting her ESL certification in Ecuador, visiting Machu Picchu, riding the funicular in Valparaíso, wandering through El Ateneo bookshop in Buenos Aires, and learning how to tango.

After saving up for a year and securing a few freelance jobs, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to prolong this trip, if not indefinitely, at least long enough for me to learn Spanish well enough to finish reading Eva Luna untranslated.  (I've gotten 80 pages into it over the past year, and I have a notebook full of vocabulary words, many of which I even remember.)  This blog comes in as an exercise in writing, which I need to become more disciplined in doing often and less paranoid about doing perfectly.  That and I want to use this year to find more freelance jobs, and everything I've read says to be successful at that sort of thing, you HAVE TO HAVE A BLOG.  So there you have it.  We shall see how this whole thing goes.

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