I returned to Buenos Aires last night after spending the month of March in Medellín, Colombia with Unsettled.
It was a fast, intense and incredible month, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I quickly fell in love with Medellín — what’s not to love about a city tucked in the beautiful Colombian Andes — but within a few days, I found my love, admiration and respect for the people I was in community with taking over. So after a month, you can only imagine how deep that love is. How hard it was, and still is, to realize I won’t be seeing them on a daily basis anymore.
I’ve never been around a group of people that was so ready to dive in, especially upon first meeting one another. This group was so willing to embark on this adventure together. We were willing to embrace the unknown together; willing to be open, honest and vulnerable with one another; willing to trust one another.
Within a matter of days, 21 strangers became friends, and within a month, those 21 friends became family.
It wasn’t until Sunday evening and Monday morning as I flew back to Buenos Aires that I took time to really think about where I’d been a month ago, where my head was as I left Buenos Aires on Friday, March 3 and flew to Medellín.
Hindsight is a funny thing. I write a lot. Mostly for myself. I write to reflect on where I’ve been, where I am and sometimes where I think I’m going. I write to figure myself out. I write to work through tough times. I write to celebrate the good times, too. I write to take in and sort through my emotions and my thoughts. Writing is therapeutic for me.
So a month ago, as I was leaving Buenos Aires and feeling terribly hesitant about leaving this city and spending a month away from it, I wrote about it.
I had my reasons for going to Medellín, but I definitely had my hesitations, too — and they were weighing on me big time. You see, I’d fallen into a groove in Buenos Aires. I’d met people I valued spending time with and was finally starting to feel at home in this dense, crazy city. The first four months of living here were not a walk in the park. Adjusting to new life anywhere is challenging. Buenos Aires was no different.
A month ago, I wrote about everything that was bothering me about leaving. I also wrote about knowing I’d chosen to embark on this month-long journey in Colombia for a reason. It was a choice I’d made, and I’d done so intentionally. I had chosen to embrace the unknown and embrace the community I was joining. I had chosen to embrace a month of adventure in a completely new place with people I’d never met before.
I didn’t have any expectations. I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew I wanted to cast my hesitancies about leaving Buenos Aires aside and fully embrace everything March could and would be for me. I wanted to keep an open mind and heart and be present. I wanted to show up for myself and for the people I was about to meet, people I knew nothing about other than the fact that we’d signed up for the same experience.
Now, I look back at those hesitations — and well, I don’t necessarily laugh, but I do realize life is such a funny game. I was so torn over leaving Buenos Aires, and now I am so torn over being back. It’s eating me up. Life’s ironic in that a month ago I didn’t want to leave this city and the community I was building here and now I really don’t want to be back.
Perhaps I’m a bit bipolar in my “wants” right now. But I think the intensity of my life experiences at the moment — of moving to a new country, living there for four months and then embarking on an intentional, month-long adventure with a company like Unsettled — will leave you feeling this way. It’s not bad. I’m being stirred in what I think is a great way, but it’s always tough to be in the thick of a tornado, not knowing when or where the pieces will land.
When all’s said and done, no matter the mix of emotions I’m feeling now, I know one thing for sure. I feel so deeply blessed to have been in community — to be in community — with people who were open and honest and present from day one and who asked me to be the same in return. There was an immense amount of trust and respect from the start, and that made for an incredibly unique experience. Far different from anything I’ve done or been part of before.
The community is the strongest asset I’m taking from my Unsettled experience.
This week, as I’ve been unpacking everything the past month has meant to and for me, I read this Huffington Post article. Most of the author’s words and thoughts resonated with me, but there was one chuck in particular that encompasses my experiences and the motivations for those experiences as of late: “We explore. We travel. We grow. We meet new people. We are creating families out of connections that have nothing to do with blood.”
Sitting here in Buenos Aires, I can’t imagine my life without the past month in Medellín. I can’t imagine my life without the 21 strangers who became not only friends but family in only a month’s time. To have family and friends scattered around the world is sometimes tough yet simultaneously magical.
April 5, 2017