Last night I met up with Gareth Leonard of Tourist2Townie, a really interesting blog about making an attempt to come down to Buenos Aires and set up a life in which he’s not just a tourist living overseas for an extended period of time. The name says it all, really. Gareth suggested we meet at Buller Brewing Company in Recoleta, just across from the cemetery and where he worked for eight months. I’d only been there once before in May, and we sat outside shivering while enjoying some honey beer. This time, in the middle of winter, it was obvious that we’d be sitting indoors.
We pulled up a couple of stools at the bar and talking loudly over the music, shared experiences on traveling, living in Argentina as expats, and the blogging process. I always like meeting with other bloggers because it’s so interesting to me to find out what works, what doesn’t, and what drives them. Gareth comes from a business background, having worked with a start up for several years out of college. His marketing and networking skills are excellent and that’s one of his best points. He amazed me with the amount of contacts that he’s made in his time in Buenos Aires, deeply immersing in the expat society, which is a market I’ve not necessarily shunned, but avoided getting too involved with at the same time.
Just in our time in the bar two friends of his pulled up to chat for a while. There was Kent, a 60-something quality control engineer for a car company who, as he put it, “Gets paid a lot to do shit.” Then there was a Marine who works security at the U.S. Embassy and was all set to go to his next assignment in Tel Aviv until they told him at the last minute, “By the way you’re going to Beijing now.” Working at a bar doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to meet people, and it’s clear that Gareth has had a great time down in Argentina. It’s enviable, and though I’m been more outgoing with trying to meet locals, maybe I should try to meet more expats as well. That’s where the money is, anyway.
There are tons of opportunities for native English speakers out there, and anyone with a clue could put their educations to use for something. I make a locals’ salary but pay a foreigners’ rent, and while I pay less now, I’m still not living the good life that other expats get away with. These realizations from time to time put me in a negative mood, and the only console is that I’m doing something which will be really worthwhile in the long run, not just financially but mentally as well. And at the end of the day, at least I’m not teaching English, which I didn’t want to do at all.
We ordered a couple of rounds of Octoberfest beer and a pizza with fried eggs and bacon. So basically, it was a nice night out. There’s nothing like getting a good beer after drinking Quilmes or Brahma for too long. It’s a shame that I just got to meet Gareth now because he’s headed back to the States on Tuesday, but there’s always the possibility that he’ll be back in a few months. I recommend you check out his blog and see his stories, and check out his many videos. It definitely provides a different look on Argentina than I have given, which I think is a good thing.