This October, I went to Buenos Aires for my vacation. It was a big deal for me because I decided to take a ten-day vacation all by myself. Most people I knew were frightened for me, and I'm glad to report I came back in one piece without being harmed in any way. Outside of taking a vacation alone, the trip was important for me in a number of other ways.
Primarily, I planned the trip to do research for my novel, Tango on the Heart (working title). It is set on a gaucho ranch outside of Buenos Aires, and I needed to experience the real settings of the novel for myself. I did just that. I interviewed a gaucho on a ranch. I visited the Confiteria Ideal where my protagonists met in 1923. I danced there just as they did. I ate at the epic Cafe Tortini like they did and strolled the Avenue de Mayo in their footsteps. Finally, I visited the chapel where they marry in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires. It was profound to feel the atmosphere and the energy of each space. Now, I can incorporate all the learning into the novel.
Secondarily, I went to Buenos Aires to dance tango. Camille, the female protagonist of the novel, is a tango dancer, so I've been busy diving into tango lessons because I love the tango and want to get into her shoes a bit more. Once in Buenos Aires, I immersed myself into lessons and milongas and danced every moment I wasn't being a tourist in other ways.
Through the course of dancing and talking with teachers, one of the teachers helped me make a very important connection between tango and life. She told me that tango exposes everything about you. I thought about it at first and started to see the many the many ways that my tango dance has exposed things about me to myself that I was unwilling or unable to see.
For example, I spend my life rushing. I need to slow down. Consequently, I've been rushing my dance, too, afraid not to keep up or get every step in. Dancing the tango has showed me when I lack confidence and when I put a wall between me and trust. Seeing my lack of trust inspired me to write post about it, and now I'm consciously deciding to trust much more, which makes both my life and my dance better.
Feeling exposed can be frightening because we don't always want to face things about ourselves, but I find it engaging to walk head first into learning about the self. I don't always like it, but it is good for me to see.
Buenos Aires was magical for me to experience being with myself in so many new ways. I never regretted the decision while I was there and see how writing Tango on the Heart lead me to experience Buenos Aires tangoing on mine.