A real sign of maturity is being able to identify and embrace your true nature without fear or concern of outside judgement. Córdoba is a beautiful city, one that I'll be leaving at the end of next week. And so many of my friends have had amazing and life-changing culinary experiences here in some of the finest restaurants in the continent. But, just like wine tasting, I can't help but feel that Michelin star establishments and their equivalents around the world would be wasted on me. It's never really been my scene.
Deep down, I've always been a street food guy.
Maybe it has to do with my personality. I am far too riddled with ADHD to really enjoy sitting down to eat over an hour or two without outside stimulation. Street food gives me options that no sit-down food can ever afford me. It's honest in a way that only a person creating your meal right in front of you inside a poorly-ventilated cart can be. It's the culinary equivalent of working from home in your underwear -- you accomplish what you need to in the best possible way, on your terms.
(Also, yes, that is how all of my best writing is done. Gaze beyond the curtain and despair.)
So when I found out Córdoba would be hosting the World Choripan Festival while we were staying here, my soul did a backflip and my stomach quietly resigned itself to its fate. While others were going to Mendoza, Argentina's wine country, I would be making makeshift bibs out of napkins at a world of meat. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
Choripan is fairly self-explanatory once you parse the word: It's a chorizo (chori) sandwich (pan). It's an actual sausage sandwich with some funky dressings on top, and it will change your life if you let it into your heart. And I did, because I ate four of them in a night.
More accurately, I let cholesterol into my heart, but that's for One-Year-From-Now-Mike to deal with.
(Side Note: Dear Future Mike, Please don't be too much of a dick to the Americans about the whole President Trump thing. They'll be your new neighbours in Toronto soon enough.)
We're nearing the end of our first city, and it's still hard for me to really comprehend what the next year will be like. It's one thing to say "BRB gonna c the world bai" to your entire life, and it's another thing to live that every day. When you leave home, you take a snapshot of everything you love there and store it somewhere safe in your brain. You hope that when you go back, everything will mostly be where it was, give or take some new fashion trends and haircuts.
And that's just bullshit.
Travel changes you. I have literally been told that, to my face, by dozens of people. Various versions of "You'll be so different when you come back" have been repeated to me for months.
Which really makes me wonder how long my friends and family have been waiting for me to revamp my personality. Anyway.
Time changes you. Life changes you. New experiences change you. And travel can be all of that, bundled together and super-sized. And that's good and beneficial and hopefully leads to you ending up in a better place than you started.
But your life back home changes too. Your loved ones won't freeze in place and wait for your presence so they can continue their development as humans with you around to enjoy it. I'm excited and kind of scared to reintroduce myself to the people I love in a year. I hope 2017 Them is a fan of 2017 Me. I hope they're not too freaked out by how full and well-trimmed my beard is, or that my washboard abs make wearing and owning shirts a cruel and needless habit.
Maybe travel is easier (or less prone to bouts of melancholy) if you fully embrace where you are and where you're going. If each new place is home in every sense of the word. But for all of my travels, I'm coming back. I have a place and a date of return. So I will always keep one foot back where I came from.
I am changing, my home is changing, and the former never feels further from the latter than during weeks like this.
A week when a man who dominated the tone of my city and was the first story I ever got to professionally follow as a writer, died.
A week when I watched, via shaky phone footage, a person I know and respect be thrown to the ground by Toronto police for participating in the #BlackLivesMatter protest outside police HQ.
A week when Jian Ghomeshi walks free, and it seems to be both inconceivable and inevitable.
And that's just a week looking at my home. I have a friend from Belgium, and his home changed this week too.
Change happens whether you're there or not, and that truth isn't always advertised front-and-centre by everyone who encourages you to chase your wanderlust.
So, in closing: LOCAL WRITER EXHIBITS STUNNING AMOUNT OF PRIVILEGE, COMPLAINS ABOUT LIFE-CHANGING WORLD TOUR. MORE DETAILS TO COME.
Next we'll talk about football. It's kind of a thing here.
Mike Sholars is currently residing in Córdoba, 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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