[Remote Year] #SquadGoals Living in Buenos Aires

Color Botanico family photo taken at our last family dinner. Nice unplanned color coordinating! (instagram)

I can’t emphasize how wonderful it was to spend 4 weeks living in a nice studio apartment all to myself (*insert greedy, gleeful grin here*). Because I’ve been traveling since June 2014, I have rarely spent more than 2 weeks in one place and, until I began Remote Year, often was visiting friends and family, staying on air mattresses and spare bedrooms and occasionally couches or snuggle sessions. With RY, I at least always have my own room as part of our program fees & agreement, but exactly what our accommodations entails varies from city to city.

Our CB squad exploring the building upon arrival, VERY happy to be there. (instagram)

When our crew of 10 RY Battutas arrived to Color Botanico on March 5 on travel day from Montevideo, we almost (actually) burst into tears we were so happy with our accommodations for the month. There were 3 rooms per floor, and though the had different configurations, each had a small kitchen with two electric burners, a private bathroom (some with tubs), a balcony, a couch, a tv, and a big, comfy bed with clean sheets and pillows. It was digital nomad heaven.

We celebrated by having family dinner our first night. We took a group outing to the nearby Carrefour supermarket, stocked up on fresh food, and came home to cook and drink wine together in Stephane’s room, which became the family room for the building.

All three of the apartments on floor 5 were RY2 (Stephane, Tritico, and me), so we would open all our doors and have the other remotes over to socialize between our rooms and balconies, often using all three kitchens to cook. We had three family dinners last month, each contributing some of our favorite dishes and drinks (I made mushroom risotto!).

To be in a place of my own that was clean and comfortable, had a small kitchen (though sadly no oven), was well-located to cafes and grocery stores, and in a building with a handful of wonderful neighbors was amazing.

Although I did do some partying and exploring in BA, I also really indulged in spending time in my apartment relaxing, working from bed, cooking for myself and others, and low-key socializing.

My wonderful bed & balcony in my studio apartment at Color Botanico. (instagram)

While it was strange to be so spread out from the rest of our RY2 Battuta group — CB was fairly centrally located but overall the group was split into 5 apartment buildings around Palermo, some as far as 30 minutes walking. So unlike our living situation in Montevideo, we didn’t have the easy access to the entire group, but I really enjoyed getting more time with the CB crew. Having 10 people total in our apartment building meant we got to do more activities as a group and really get to know each other better.

I really loved being on Floor 5 with Stephane and Tritico, calling out “Hola, chicos!” when I walked into our hallway. Usually at least one of us would be home and open our door upon hearing someone else arrive back. In the morning, Tritico and I would hear the other’s door open, signaling that it was time to meet up and head out to a coffee shop. At night, Tritico might be mixing drinks for people at the bar in his room, and we’d gather on Stephane’s big balcony with anyone who was around.

Sunset one Monday evening on the balcony after hermiting in my room all day. (instagram)

Sometimes someone would send a message to the group to suggest a sunset viewing from our building’s rooftop balcony, and a group would assemble around 6:30 to sit in lawn chairs and drink wine and beer (and maybe eat snacks if someone felt generous). We’d watch the sun set over the buildings to the west, illuminating the sky with brilliant oranges and pinks. We’d share stories about work or social activities, discuss plans for the night, and then part ways off to our various dinners and activities.

I was on the crew team all four years in college, and we would spend our two weeks of spring break training in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The men’s and women’s teams would train at Briarcliffe retirement community, using their dock and rec center and staying in some rental RVs well as a several floors of the hotel next door. We’d live 4 to a hotel room or 6 to a “cabana” (RV) for 12 days, sharing beds and bathrooms, completely sacrificing our privacy. Even though spring break never included a drop of alcohol or any partying, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I loved being in close quarters with some of my best friends, spending our days doing the things we loved most: eat, sleep, and row.

January Williams Women’s Crew reunion in Texas with my mom and sister at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo: THIS THING IS LEGENDARY! [note everyone’s beautiful cowboy boots.] (instagram)

After we graduated and spending a couple years of missing each other and our spring break traditions, we started meeting up for reunion trips. The first three years we did a summer beach week in California at one girl’s family home. In January, before I left for Remote Year, I hosted 7 friends at my family’s lake house in Texas.

We spend our reunion time going for walks and jogs, cooking for each other, eating out at favorite hometown spots, soaking up the opportunity to be in close proximity for several days, and catching up on our lives — the 9 of us from my Women’s Crew Class of 2009 are spread around the US and world.

We daydream of living in a non-commune community: everyone on the same street in their own houses or the same building in their own apartments. I don’t think we’re alone in missing a community that’s readily available and a stone’s throw away. Most of us moved far from home to go to Williams, and only some of us end up living near where we grew up and have pre-existing networks established.

Even if people are in a place with friends or family around, it typically is only a fraction of the community we’re part of from the various phases and channels of our lives. Plus, coordinating activities and socializing with people, even in the same city, is a daunting task of trying to align work and social calendars. I can’t describe how many weeks would go by between seeing friends who also lived in New York because we couldn’t find a free night / weekend / meal that matched up.

So the idea of being so close to friends that you can literally borrow sugar from or share morning coffee with appeals to more than just me, I think. Getting to live that dream out with Remote Year has been a special part of the experience that I didn’t anticipate much in advance but greatly appreciate and is probably one of my favorite parts of the program. Having a space to yourself is so important and necessary as an adult individual, but being in close proximity to others is also so valuable since we are, ultimately, pack animals.

I now hope more than ever that I can find a way to wrangle my crew girls and college friends into a living situation in close proximity so that we can be there to celebrate and struggle through the ups and downs of life together as adults.

My month in Buenos Aires was perhaps most special thanks to living in Color Botanico: impromptu after-work get-togethers with my neighbors, cooking and hosting family dinners together, having someone greet me when I get home, and starting my days more often than not with a shared coffee date.

So to the CB Crew:

Thanks y'all! It was wonderful, and I miss you (and our kitchens and beds and balconies). Until our next reunion / family dinner,
Goodbye Color Botanico! Moving day from Buenos Aires to La Paz. (photo credit: Niraj Shah)

Katherine is a digital nomad, working remotely while she travels the world — living on the road since June 2014. She’s a member of Remote Year 2 Battuta, living around the world with 75 other digital nomads from February 2016 to January 2017.

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