I’m at a club in Buenos Aires, out with a few friends I met through other friends, all of us now first-tier friends because of the great night we’ve had so far.
After dinner at a 4-star restaurant and about a bottle of wine apiece, we hopped a cab to this place – not sure what it’s called…if I had to guess I would say ‘Rampage’ or ‘Stumbleshot’ or ‘Shatterflux’ or something equally intense, as if it were brainstormed over caffeine and Ritalin, not alcohol and burgers – and now I’m looking at a girl who was pushed in my direction by her friend.
‘She looks a LOT like her friend,’ I’m thinking as we go through the motions of introducing ourselves. And why is she standing so close? That’s really weird. I know this is a club, but personal space? What happened to personal space?
She’s telling me about school and why she’s wants to be a veterinarian and I’m thinking ‘Jesus, she and her friend look EXACTLY alike. I mean, that must have planned this. There’s no way it’s an accident that they look so similar. I know people are drawn to other people who look similar – it’s some kind of sociological premise I can’t think of the name for off the top of my head – but damn. That’s really strange.’
She tells me about her dog.
It’s my turn and I recite my lines.
I say lines because since I started traveling, I’ve had to explain my situation to so many people that I’ve got the words and presentation down pat. I usually tell part of the story then allow a moment for reaction. Then I clarify by telling the rest of the story and let them tell me how strange/interesting/awesome it is that I’m doing what I’m doing, don’t I get lonely, how can I afford it, where have I been, etc etc etc.
I know that if I don’t get any kind of reaction, or if it’s just a polite ‘oh that’s interesting,’ then I’ll leave out the second part of the presentation. I don’t want to bore people with the details if they’re not into it, and honestly it’s kind of a relief not to tell someone my life story right upon meeting them, which is something that tends to happen a bit too frequently these days (since a lot of background information is required to explain where I am and why…it all ties together).
I finish up the second portion of my elevator explanation and the girl looks at me slightly agog, not sure whether to be impressed or offended by my career path (a common response), and then smiles her cutest smile and says ‘Oh wow, you must meet a LOT of girls.’
This is where I’m supposed to flirt. I know this part. I kind of wanted to know about about veterinary school and how one starts their our practice (other professions fascinate me to no end), but I don’t think that’s what she wants to talk about. Ahhhh, fine. ‘Quite a few, I suppose, but you….’ and on and on and on.
Getting to the Good Stuff
It’s INCREDIBLY rewarding seeing the the repercussions of telling people what you do – I hear from people all the time who tell me that what I’m doing helped catalyze their own brazen adventures and risky decisions, and those kinds of messages really help make the whole thing worthwhile.
A big part of why I started traveling was to find out more about other people and how they live and how they see the world. Conversations like the one above give me a good bit of information, but it seems the more my story circulates the less of this kind of information I’m able to glean – instead it’s one question after another about this or that aspect of my life (or in this case, pushing right on to the flirting, which is fun but not usually very educational).
So do me a solid and tell me something about yourself, your life and what you’re up to. I’ve heard from a good number of my readers already, and so far I’ve been super-impressed by the caliber of people hanging out here, but I want to hear from even more.
I’m having a really fantastic time doing what I’m doing, and I think that I’m able to do this is pretty crazy awesome, too, but what you’re doing with your life and where you want to be and how you see the world…that’s the kind of thing that really inspires me and keeps my perspective fresh and well-rounded.
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