15 Minutes of Fame

“The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy, and passion.”

It has been a while!  For those of you that don’t know, I decided to buy another Anytime Fitness in Springdale, Arkansas.  As you can imagine, this has kept me pretty busy.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back in WI in a couple of months, but I’m headed down there for a while to make sure that things start off on the right foot.  I’m still training for the CrossFit games that start in March of 2013, so that’s why I haven’t been able to dedicate some time for this last blog post.

I’m a little disappointed to write today because it means that my travel adventures are coming to an end – for now.  I will still shoot for my goal of at least two consecutive weeks of travel each year in 2013, I’m just not sure when I’ll take off.

I went through some of my past blog posts, and I’m happy that I decided to write everything down.  Not only did that keep you guys informed, but it also allows me to relive each city that I visited when I read about my thoughts and activities.  Rockstar!

It seems like I’ve been back from Argentina longer than a month for some reason. Nevertheless, I have a few closing thoughts about the country.  I learned a lot of this stuff through talking with several locals on my trip.  Thank you for the insight Stephanie and Luana!

For starters, going to university in Argentina is free, so there are tons of people who enroll. The crazy part is that only about 10% graduate, which seemed really low to me. Apparently it’s difficult to get good grades, and students obviously fail classes often.

One thing that the government does is control how much money you take out of the country when you travel.  What you do is ask them how much money you are allowed to take, and then they approve a certain amount.  If they don’t allow you to take any money, there is a way you can go around this in the parallel money exchange market, but it’s more expensive to convert Argentine pesos into US Dollars.  The reason the government does this is because they want to keep the funds inside the country to help grow the economy.

In Argentina, it’s not uncommon for people to live at home until they are married, similar to some European countries.  If the children have moved out of the house, sometimes families will get together on Sundays to eat and spend the day together.  As you can see, there is a huge emphasis on the nuclear family in Argentina, which I think is great.

I’m always interested to learn about the economies of each country that I visit.  In Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, many people are concerned with fashion and clothes. Some natives would rather spend ridiculous amounts on a trendy jacket and pair of shoes but still live with their parents because they can’t afford to live alone.  Another interesting facet of the economy is that allegedly 80% of business is done under the table.  This was crazy annoying to me because I couldn’t use my credit card for a lot of purchases, and getting cash out of an ATM proved challenging at times because they ran out of bills.

As I’m sure you realize by now, I absolutely loved meeting so many diverse people in all my travels this year.  It doesn’t matter how amazing a place is if you don’t have someone to share it with.  Luckily I was able to meet so many awesome people along the way that traveling alone turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done in a long time.  I think it forced me to meet far more people than I would have otherwise.

So I started thinking to myself…..how many people do I actually meet when I travel alone? And what is a significant amount of time to talk to someone?  I decided that you can get to know someone’s personality decently well after chatting with them for 15 minutes.  Of course you aren’t going to know them like your best friend, but you have a solid feel for what they are like.

What I did from the beginning of the trip was keep track of how many people I talked to for at least 15 minutes.  Now it’s not like I whipped out a timer and said, “Go!” when we started conversing, but I estimated.  How many new people do you think I talked to for more than 15 minutes each in nearly four weeks?

I had the pleasure of meeting 87 new people for at least 15 minutes in South America. They say that each person has their 15 minutes of fame, right?  The way I like to think about things is that you get your 15 minutes of fame with each person you meet.  During that time, you might learn something interesting, help them make a tough decision, brighten their day, or make a positive impact on their life.  The choice is yours.  The next time you meet someone new, how are you going to spend your 15 minutes of fame?

“A person’s toothache means more to that person than a famine in China that kills a million people.”