March, 2012 . Drive from Roca —> Neuquen
So this is the end. I’m astonished at how quickly these past two months have flown by. Thursday marked my last day of work at the winery and I’m spent, both mentally and physically. As enchanting as things were in the beginning, reality managed to make itself at home fairly quickly. People often equate life abroad with some version of a fairy tail, and often times it is, but you can certainly argue both sides of the proverbial coin. With fascinations come frustrations and like anywhere, there are good days and bad days. But the one thing that remains unquestionable is that you learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible. This is why it’s always worth it in the end.
I committed to come here last summer. I remember the conversation I had with Piero like it was yesterday. I was wrapping up my summer travels in Norway, visiting friend and former roommate, Kjetil. I was in the sticks overlooking the Fjords outside of Bergen when I called P for our informal interview. And by interview, I mean he broke it down for me in laymen’s terms. ‘We work 12-15 hour days, seven days a week. It’s tough and our cellar master is even tougher. She’s been known to make boys cry. And everyone speaks Spanish. Do you speak Spanish? You honestly think you can handle this?”
March, 2012 . Neuquen
The minute I feel I have something to prove, it’s on. I don’t know why but I opt to put myself in difficult situations. It’s like my mouth beats my brain to the punch or something. My dad always told me to never give up and evidently it resonated somewhere deep within me. Theoretically this is sound advice but when paired with my stubbornness and slight case of OCD, it can make for one exhausting motto.
Fast forward to November of last year. For the first time since moving to the City, I was completely content. It’s possible it was because I had just returned from being gone for three months and barely had time to catch my breath before I was to do it all over again in February. Or perhaps it was because everything had fallen into place. In addition to my ideal living situation, I landed the job at Slanted Door and it was just as terrific as I had anticipated. It’s a feat to be down with your living arrangement in a place like SF, but to love your job too? It’s a rare existence. Of course I had second thoughts about taking another three-month-long hiatus. Hell, I had third thoughts. It might sound simple to jet set but I can assure you it’s much easier said than done, especially when your rent is through the roof. Though at the end of the day, I felt fortunate to be faced with what I believe was a beautiful dilemma. Ultimately my decision came down to one little word: regret. Something I knew I would face down the line if I didn’t pursue this challenge and honor my commitment.
Turns out I made the right decision.
The Crew [from left]: Federico ‘Chiquito’, Marité, Luciano, Ricardo, Hj
This adventure’s peaks of fulfillment were balanced by certain vales of void. That’s the deal in the game of all or nothing. This pursuit was unforgettable and all things considered, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. I came here to further my knowledge re: wine and wine production and while doing so, managed to gain some invaluable life experience as well. Apparently there really isn’t a substitute for hard work. Go figure. Exercise your integrity. Take the initiative. Don’t take things personally. Keep going, because long after you think you can’t, you can. Slow down. Be accountable. Be dependable. And above all, be yourself.
I’m currently in Buenos Aires, sitting outside in a cafe in what is the equivalent of New York’s Soho. It’s shaded by beautiful trees and the breeze is calming. I depart in a few hours for six weeks of travel. Next stop: Peru. Nothing like winding down two months of back breaking labor, no pun intended, with a four day hike. I don’t even like to hike. Here goes nothing! Or everything.
My daily walk from my house to the winery
Ciao Chacra. It’s been real. xx