I suck at travel. I am objectively bad at it.
How bad? I arrived in Cordoba, Argentina less than a week ago. Since then, I have almost lit my hand on fire with a gas stove, was chased through the streets by a family of stray dogs and shot myself in the face with a bidet.
But give me a break; I'm new to this.
While my Facebook friends spent the last decade casually showing me exotic vistas and #nofilter selfies with delicious meals, I was living at home. Or taking too long to finish university. Or paying off my OSAP while working as a contract journalist. You may recognize many of those scenes from your own life.
And I don't regret it for a second, because despite what badly Photoshopped and misattributed quotes over pictures of horizons will tell you, you are not "wasting your life" if you're not travelling. There aren't holes in your soul that only a EuroRail pass and an Osprey backpack can fill.
Travel is a very lovely way to spend your time, but it's also 10 types of privilege rolled into one, and I had made my peace with the idea that I was never going to really travel in a significant way.
Four months ago, I was accepted into Remote Year, a really cool year-long travel program that I didn't apply for because I was convinced long ago that I wasn't the kind of person who gets to travel.
I know what that person looks like: They look good in tank tops, can live comfortably out of a backpack for weeks at a time and probably don't count "Borderline Infantile French" as their proud second language.
I didn't even apply for the program; my best friend entered my name and email for me. Several weeks later, I was in, and suddenly I had to face the reality that I was about to start living the exact type of life I was entirely prepared to never have.
No Adele album can cover the breadth of emotions I've lived through in preparing for this trip, but I somehow got through it, and now I'm living in Argentina.
I believe the phrase we're looking for here is "failing upward."
If having the opportunity to travel is 10 types of privilege, then travelling enough to be good at it is another thing entirely.
To get good at anything, you need to do it enough times for it to be a one-off. I'm sure that certain types of people are more naturally inclined to be good at travel, but in general, it comes with repetition and practice. The more you see of the world, the more at home you'll be in it as a whole.
And I hope to be there one day, I really do. In a year, I expect to come back home sporting a full-on Drake Beard, a stylish unisex indoor scarf and the ability to effortlessly weave compelling references to The Argentinian Sunset into casual conversation. I'll be insufferable, I'll be enviable, I'll be the exact mashup of Indiana Jones and The Rock that I've always aspired to be.
(Sometime this year there I'll put on 30 pounds of muscle. It sounds easy, and I'm pretty sure all of this will sort itself out.)
But right now, I'm not there. Not even close. And I realized: That's OK. I can't compete with Anthony Bourdain when it comes to being A Travel Guy, because I'm fairly sure he could take me in a straight fistfight if it came down to that.
So instead, I'll be writing what I do know: An ongoing travel column from someone who has always wanted to travel but got to it really late, and because of that, he kinda really sucks at it. Over the next year, I'll be spending four months each in South America, Europe, and Asia (in that order). I'll spend a month in a different city.
I speak exactly one language. I brought far too many items, most of them undershirts. I look weird in shorts. To call me "out of shape" would be a cruel insult to the idea of shapes. If I know anything about the cities we're visiting beforehand, it's because of video games or exotic action movies. The first thing I did upon arrival was check to see what Argentina's Netflix situation is like (it's solid).
I'm not what anyone expects a traveller to look like, but here I am. Travelling. Hopefully it'll wind up being Remotely Interesting.
Mike Sholars is currently residing in Cordoba, Argentina as he travels the world for a year while working remotely for the Huffington Post Canada. Remotely Interesting is his weekly travel column. Follow @sholarsenic on Instagram and Twitter to be assaulted with his bad jokes and shaky photos.
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