Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Tag-A-Long Traveler

I almost forgot that I am within days of Buenos Aires. By this time next week, I will be settled into my apartment in a foreign land and will have already experienced my first “sola” milonga. (I get a little flutter when I think about it.)

I’ve been easily distracted from my upcoming big adventure by the Pacific Northwest at my doorstep for the past 11 days. I am getting pretty proficient at being a tag-a-long traveler. It’s been my good fortune to be able to adventure with Matthew on many of his work trips this past year—Curaçao, Jamaica, Quebec—and, this week, the islands of Puget Sound.

 We had a week of down time with Matthew’s family in the burbs of Seattle before heading out to the islands for his grueling travel writer itinerary. (OK, it’s not that grueling, but his job really is much harder than it sounds.)

 Last Saturday night we found a milonga called Tango Underground in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district. “This is our last milonga together before you leave,” Matthew pointed out before our last tanda. I gave him my weepy-frowny face—a common expression lately as my big trip draws near.

 So many "last things" have happened in the past few weeks and it makes my heart a little heavy. It’s not that I don’t want to go, but every new adventure means giving up the familiar and comfortable in exchange for the unknown. Will my pets be OK while I am gone? Did I pick the right apartment? The right Spanish school? Will the locals dance with me? I have no answers to these questions yet.

 My trip last year to Buenos Aires was wonderful, but I had a definite advantage—Matthew. I had a dance partner for every milonga. He speaks Spanish. He had been to BsAs twice before. He already knew the best tango schools and milongas, the layout of the city, the quirks of the taxi drivers, where to find an apartment. I just happily followed along. I like being the tag-a-long traveler. It’s a pretty easy gig.

 So why have I decided to go to Buenos Aires alone? It’s not the most convenient time. I will be a bit lost without Matthew. I didn’t retain the Spanish I learned in high school and college. I will miss my dog and cats. It may be difficult to run my business from Argentina. (OK, these aren't the answers, these were my excuses not to go.)

 So why am I going? My heart told me to. That’s the only answer I can think of. I just need to go. For me. Now.

 On Thursday, I will be brave. I will get on that plane by myself. On Friday morning, after my red-eye flight, I will go through customs, get a cab from Ezeiza Airport and head to my new apartment. I will get my keys and ask about the nearest grocery store and laundry services. I will walk to my language school and take a little tour of the facilities. And then...

I will find a milonga, and (hopefully) I will dance.

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