Move to Buenos Aires with 500 dollars and whatever will fit in a rucksack. Learning the language beforehand or finding a job over the internet is cheating!
By the way, I don’t actually recommend this.
Here’s how it went:
Before leaving England: Excitement
I told everyone about my pending adventure. So much so that my mate said I bored the girls with it when we went out clubbing together. But I was so sure of having taken the right decision like never before in my life. This was the time for adventure, this was going to be the motorcycle diaries of 2010, this was where only the audacious succeed.
Arrival in Buenos Aires: Physically sick and homesick
I walked through airport security feeling like I had contracted SARS. Maybe it was SARS, a virus anyway that left me bedridden in a 6 man dorm. I felt terrible. I felt a foolish as well for having left a great country like England where I had good friends and family. The hostel had a great vibe, but I knew I had to stay in and save the money.
Two weeks in: Reasons for optimism
In my second week I found a job teaching English after responding to an advert I read in the paper. I also moved into a colonial house in the old part of the city to share a room with a girl from the Dominican Republic. It was expensive (even to share a room!) but it was the cheapest place that I could find. After paying the first month and the deposit, I was down to very little money for the rest of the month.
Two months in: Momentum building
Gradually the money started coming in, albeit slowly. Life was tough, but I was doing what I set out to do, and that was the only thing that mattered. Sometimes you get fixated upon an idea, and you can’t stop until you see things through to the end. By now I’d got through the worst of it and I had a few friends. I did it all because I wanted so badly to succeed. There was only going to be one outcome, no matter how hard it was. You need motivation to do something or whatever you’re doing will turn out a half effort: Motivation and audacity.
Five months in: I’d hit a ceiling
Time had gone fast, my social circle grew and I started enjoying the nightlife and seeing the city. After a while life wasn’t getting much better and I’d seen most of what is to be seen in the vicinity, without spending everything I’ve earnt on trips down south/up north. When you’re this low on cash, you spend a lot of your time figuring out how to save money on food. Everything you do spend you rationalise in teaching hours, because you fight for the precious teaching hours available, this is your currency here: A pack of crisps (15 minutes), nightclub entry (2 hours), taxi ride (1 hour) etc.
Six months in: One last adventure
I moved to the coast to enjoy the summer parties and live out my tent. I was there for three weeks working in a bar, but the pay was dire, 2 dollars an hour! Because I was working in a nightclub I now rationalised my time in alcohol, 3 hours to buy a Heineken! Definitely not worth it. At least I was using a skill I hadn’t before, which was communicating in Spanish. I was a low intermediate at this point, but the challenge was a lot harder in a nightclub. Award for the worst waiter ever? It was beyond me to continue for another two months there so I took my scrapings of 200 dollars and moved to Chile…