An audio and video podcast of my trip hitchhiking around the world by sea.
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To Speak or Not To Speak…

The two questions most often asked of me are as follows:
1.    Do you travel alone? Which leads to the “isn’t that scary?” and “doesn’t that get lonely?” questions.
2.    Do you speak any languages? Which leads to the follow-up “isn’t that hard?”

At this time, I’d like to address the second question, albeit, my last entry may have effectively done so. In the event that there is confusion, no-I don’t speak any other languages… and in follow-up, yes, it can be quite difficult.

There are a few ways of dealing with this fact.
1.    Acknowledge you are one of those ignorant Americans who has shamefully never learned more than the minimum.
2.    Hold your head high and walk with purpose, knowing you represent a large percentage of society who also speaks only one language and questions whether it is possible to travel as such.
3.    Learn a language.

While some may assume the first option is the most honest, I would counter that although true, it most likely will lead to a lack of self-confidence. This then will affect one’s ability to meet new people and result certainly in a self-perpetuating shame, which is not good for anyone, especially travelers! Others will argue that option 3 make the most sense. However, the problem with option 3 is you have to decide on one language, and there are SO many. When finally you do decide on one, you will inevitably want to focus your travels on areas that accommodate your new tongue. So in the end you are more limited. Furthermore, learning a new language is much harder than options 1 and 2.

Therefore, given my options, I feel quite strongly that it is my duty not only to not know another language, but to be darn proud of it. Now that we’ve cleared up any confusion on my stance, we should get back to Argentina.

After a long frustrating day playing charades and pictionary, I found my home for the night. Wet, hungry, and still recovering from a 20 hour bus ride, I knew it was the right place when the lovely Argentine faces gave me a discount and a beer with my bed, then told me the steak and wine was almost ready if I was. And I was. $7 for all the steak and wine I could handle was just what I needed.

Once settled, I met a couple like-minded travelers, Max and Anaïs. Max was from Germany, Anaïs from France. We start chatting and shortly after I realized how cool my new amigos were, a light bulb goes on. We tell each other our stories, and when it gets to my turn, I share my day. I joke about the not speaking Spanish, then laughingly throw out the ol’ “so if you’re not doing anything tomorrow”… I scan for reactions, for even a spark of consideration… “We’d be happy come translate if you like?” And just like that we’re back in business.

Over a great meal of Argentine meat and wine, we set a time to meet the next morning, nice and early. But for the rest of the night we sat round the table like a Thanksgiving family, catching each other up on the most interesting parts of our lives.

And that my friends, is why you should still travel even when you don’t speak any other languages…

The end.


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