Sunday, February 1, 2009

Why Argentina?

Many people are wondering, why is Erica moving to Buenos Aires? I've been asked that a lot lately, and it's a fair question with a long answer. So I've obviously put a lot of thought into this, and feel that you curious ones deserve a complete answer. Here it is, in list form. (Not in order of importance, btw. It's all pretty important.)

1. I love to travel! I want travel to continue to be a huge part of my life, as it always has been. I'm always looking for an excuse to go abroad.

2. Specifically, I've been wanting to work abroad (ie. get paid to travel!) for many years. As much as being a travel writer and/or founding my own international school is the ultimate dream, I realized several years ago that teaching English abroad is probably the best way to get started, and the best way to live around the world and find employment in many different countries.

3. Teaching intrigues me. I'm not big on office jobs, jobs that require me to be chained to a desk for hours on end and all that jazz. I've been curious about teaching for a while, and I think TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is the way to go, at least to start off. It seems like a great way to combine my love of travel with a profession that is flexible and creative. Plus, I'm a people person, so I think (I hope!) that I will love it and excel at it.

4. I went through a traumatic break up back in early September, and was simultaneously feeling like I needed a professional change, and realizing also that I won't be a spring chicken for much longer. It occurred to me rather suddenly this fall that if I want to pick up and move abroad again and really tackle this travel bug of mine, I better do it soon. I mean, lets face it, right now I am single, looking for a career change, childless, and I don't have a mortgage. It's kind of now or never.

5. I speak Spanish! So when I finally decided to take the plunge and look into TEFL programs and it came down to choosing a country, I decided to sacrifice higher wages (Asia) and go somewhere where I know the language, at least to start off. I figure I can always move somewhere else once I get certified.

6. So then I thought about which Spanish speaking country I should go to, and it seemed glaringly obvious. Argentina!! Why? Well, I've already lived and/or traveled in Spain, Mexico, Cuba, and all of Central America, so that pretty much narrowed it down to South America. And then I came to terms with that fact that I am a city girl and really want to stay in an urban environment, and started contemplating which cities seemed most exciting. Buenos Aires is a city I've always wanted to visit, and not only that, I have a close friend there- Ali! I'd been wanting to visit her down there anyway, and it suddenly all just clicked and made sense. Buenos Aires or bust!

That pretty much sums it up as best as I possibly can. And although it is scary and overwhelming at times, I also feel confident that this change will be a good one. How can following a dream and moving to an exciting new place be bad?

A couple of the best pieces of advice I have received recently are:

1) Just do it. I am not chained to a contract. I am free to stay as long as I want or come back whenever I choose. My friends and family will be here when I get back, and will love me when I'm gone.

2) I chose to do this all by myself, and for good reasons. Whenever I start to doubt myself and my decision, remember those reasons which brought me to this decision, and be happy that I am strong enough to follow those dreams.

Great advice. Keep it coming! I am listening.