¡Me largo! is Spanish for “I’m outta here”. Largar is a fun verb, for instance: ¡Lárgate! means “get away from me!”, ¡Lárgamelo! means “just spit it out!”, the word “largo” simply means “long”. It’s Portuguese meaning is similar, although not exactly the same, but it does throw in the bonus interpretation of “letting loose”.
That’s just what I’m doing. After many years employed by big, global companies, I’m changing tack to become a journalist.
Channeling a 2004 me that turned down a corporate job to intern at an Argentine newspaper, I’m going to travel in and around Latin America to reconnect with the topics and issues that inspired me to start this blog six years ago. And I’m going to write about them for news outlets, for this website, for myself, and for my loved ones.
I deeply appreciate everyone who has followed my blog through the 6 years I have been working on it. No doubt you’ll have noticed that the last few years have been a time of infrequent activity and sporadic updates, mainly because of work limitations. That’s going to change!
I know what you’re thinking: “Wait, you’re just leaving it all behind?”. Yes, and no. At a superficial level, what I’m doing with my life may appear to fit all the largar colloquialisms. Deep down, it’s actually none of them.
Anyone who sporadically looks for escapism online can’t help but notice the proliferation of blogs and websites in the last few years featuring people who just left it all behind and embarked on a seemingly permanent “nomadic” exploration of the world. Blogging about far-flung resorts, vlogging inside Indian markets, or Insta-spiring people through bare-chested photos (likely ads) designed to make you feel jealous. These people have the life, don’t they?
I’d say no.
Call me a grump, but I’m sort of sad to see our amazing world — now ever more accessible through air travel, online connectivity, and new ways of working — reduced to clickbait through the eyes of these “nomads”.
I’ve noticed that these nomads use all the tools, abilities, resources they have to put themselves in focus rather than putting the world in focus. They do it without speaking the languages of places they visit, and without any deeper interest in an individual location than it just being somewhere new.
Between endless identical pictures that could be as easily green-screened as original, to the strange obsession with “checking off” countries as if it made anyone well-traveled, I’m over it.
You won’t see any photos of me on this blog. You won’t see any luxurious hotels. You won’t see any questionable bravado of enduring days under a tent. You won’t see a checklist of places, ever.
What you will see is me trying to reconnect deeply to places and people that have mattered to me for a very long time, and draw out stories about those people and places that I hope you will find interesting, too.
You will see someone revisiting a city he has avoided for 15 years because he was robbed on his first day there. You will see stories of the happy solitude of people living in some of the remotest regions of the world. You will see islands that influenced the history of the entire American continent that next to nobody thinks about today.
I am not looking to show readers how easy and wonderful it is to visit all the destinations where I’m going. I’m looking to show readers how easy and wonderful it is to understand all the stories I’m about to tell. There are lots of reasons why people travel and why people don’t. People have kids, people have disabilities that limit their mobility, there are budgets, and then there’s just simple fear. And that’s OK.
The people who impress me most are those who do not or cannot travel but who know a lot about the world. I am least impressed by people who travel frequently but don’t seem to know anything except which global Marriott property has the best swimming pool.
I’m hoping my exploration will help others understand and appreciate a corner of our world that means a great deal to me, even if they can’t make it there themselves. And that’s why I hope you’ll enjoy the point of view I bring to Avenida América and the other publications I’ll be writing for over the coming months.
And I hope I’m never called a nomad.