Solo Travel: The People Who Cross Your Path
July 22nd, 2019
Journal Entry: I never thought I would love traveling by myself as much as I do. It gives you the freedom to go, eat, do, and see whatever you want whenever you want. However, today has been the first day that I do not want to be alone. I really want to eat a big Argentinian meal, but I do not feel like eating by myself. I really want to walk around Puerto Madero, the business district, but I do not want to do it by myself.
I decided to tour el Teatro Colón, the national theater, because not touring this magnificent edifice was my biggest regret from my first time in Buenos Aires back in 2017. I went online to purchase my ticket, but all of the English tours were sold out. With my essentially non-existent Spanish theater vocabulary, I purchased a Spanish tour ticket with the knowledge that I would only understand around half of what was going on.
After ordering a cab via Cabify, I proceeded to obtain the unofficial history of the theater from my driver on the way.
We crossed the legendary Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world, and pulled up to the massive marble building that boasts having the best acoustics in the world. I made my way inside and the tour started.
It was spectacular. Handmade mosaics covered the floors. Everything was gilded in gold, and we passed under fresco after fresco of heavenly depictions.
The guide said something about the materials used to construct the building that I did not know the words for, but I noticed that an Argentinian man behind me was translating for a woman. I went up to him to ask him what the guide was saying. He immediately invited me to stay with him (Jorge), his wife (Matilda), and the woman for whom he was translating (Tanya) the tour. They were so much fun.
After the tour was over, we were about to go our separate ways when Jorge invited me to have lunch with them (I am not making this up). I assumed Tanya had hired Jorge and Matilda to be her tour guides for the city, so I asked her if she would mind if I joined. I did not want to intrude on something for which she had already paid.
After a few laughs, Tanya explained to me that Jorge and Matilda were not tour guides. Her husband was a businessman, and Jorge was his partner. We crammed in a cab, and Jorge proceeded to give the driver directions to Puerto Madero (I am not making this up). We arrived at a very fancy traditional Argentine Parilla and ordered traditional appetizers, steaks, Malbec, and desserts. Over the course of our meal, I discovered that Tanya was from New Zealand, and her husband played for the All Blacks, the national rugby team of New Zealand. After her husband retired, he started a kinesiology tape company, and Jorge was the head of his distribution for Latin America.
It was such a crazy moment because I was in Argentina for the sole purpose of meeting entrepreneurs, and I just met them in such a crazy way. Matilda gave me a few Argentinian Spanish lessons and even tried to set me up with her son.
As our meal was coming to a close, I was about to pull out some of the money I had saved for this trip when I found out that they had already paid for my meal.
During my cab ride back to my Airbnb, I had tears of joy in my eyes as I watched the sun set over Buenos Aires because I could not believe that I had the opportunity to do this.
Thank you tekMountain. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Travel Tip: Solo travel gives you freedom and opportunities that you would not have if you traveled with a group. Make the most of it! Be open to the people who cross your path. You never know who you will meet.