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DSC03061My last thoughts here were about exploring the concept of ‘home’. Five months into my journey towards ‘location (in)dependence’, whichever it might turn out to be, I was surprised to realise that I needed a sense of home more than I had expected. But I wanted to persevere, for I still want to create a future in which I can travel and work according to my own goals and dreams. I started to think about how to create that stability within me, something that will remain unchanged regardless of where I am. And, so far, I think it’s working. I’m writing this from Buenos Aires, my home for two months until early 2014. I’ve come here to develop my Latin American Spanish, with the aim of translating from it in the future, and to work on a special translation project. Each morning, I walk 45 minutes from my flat in Villa Crespo to the language school in Palermo, taking a different route every day so I can get to know the streets. Occasionally, mostly on my afternoon walks after class, I intentionally lose myself. It feels invigorating to be in unfamiliar territory, to be seeing new sights every single day. And I know this is having a positive impact on my work, too, because I feel more creative when I sit down to translate. Learning about the idiosyncracies of Argentine Spanish inspires me to question the choices I make in English all the more.

Slowly but surely, this city is drawing me in. Over the last few days I’ve started to see its pulsing heartIMG_20131203_165526 (2), the quirks that make so many people speak of it with an enchanted gleam in their eyes. There are reflections of so many other cities I love here — Rome, New York, Berlin — yet at the same time it’s unique. Today at sundown, the circular track in the Bosques of Palermo was filled with movement and colour shimmering in the heat; runners, skate-boarders, in-line skaters, people strolling along. Music echoed around from portable CD players — cumbia, salsa, reggaeton… There is an intense focus on friends, family and food over here, and in Latin America in general, and these things are part of the all-important sense of home. In London, I sometimes forgot to live. I would get so swept up in my work that everything else, and ultimately my work too, began to suffer. Despite my struggles a few months ago, I’ve started to recognise one of the greatest things about switching locations — it makes me stop and look around. In Berlin this summer, and now here in Buenos Aires, I remind myself that I won’t be here forever, that I need to get out there and look around, see thing, do things, experience things. But shouldn’t that have applied in London too, and anywhere else on Earth? Hopefully I can find a way to carry the urgency with me regardless, but for now, I’m very happy to be calling the streets of Buenos Aires my ‘home’. For the first time in ages, I’m living in the moment.

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3 thoughts on “”I think that one of these days you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there.” — J. D Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

  1. Hi Jamie,
    This is an interesting idea that I’m still turning over in my mind. I love the way you write!
    Having just moved to a new country (although the one that is theoretically my “home”) I am dealing with this issue now too. I just read your earlier post on the topic and for me, I’ve noticed that having the same routine (or as many elements of it as possible) has given me that sense of stability. Also an unexpected source of help with this was some sentimental items (old soft toys!) I brought along. I didn’t choose to bring them for this reason but I realized the other day that they really make this house I’m living in feel like home for me. They wouldn’t be enough on their own though, and I’m still trying to figure out the missing ingredients.

    • Hi Katherine, thanks for your message, I’m very glad to hear it resonated with you! I couldn’t agree more, routine and a few sentimental items can do the world of good. To start with I disregarded the latter as I thought I was being too attached to material things (I was being a little extreme, I think!), but now I’ve realised that material things with sentimental meaning attached are something else entirely. Best of luck with settling in there!

  2. Jamie…I have been looking for the quote from Catcher in the Rye and found your beautiful message. I am in Panamá, just completed several tours in Latin America, and the quote was what got me on the road. Un fuerte abrazo para vos…Stay focused, Bob, aka FlacoBob.

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