I’m penning this sitting on my porch, sipping tea, in the middle of a vineyard overlooking the Andes in Tupungato, a small town in the Uco Valley, a couple of hours drive from Mendoza, Argentina, known to the world as the Malbec capital. I haven’t really blogged in a while, I’ve been busy and generally not very inspired. All of the sudden I get here, in this sleepy town at the border with Chile, after a little detour in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires (but that’s for another time) open my bags, unpack my books, get ready to seat by the fireplace and chill, and there… the need to write a blog post hits me. I picked this remote and cute little 4 bedroom hotel, Tupungato Divino, because it’s a place with almost non-existent wifi and intermittent mobile signal so that I can finally try to stop, and relax. Something that admittedly I’m not very good at. I get here, in this remote valley and all I feel like doing is blogging. Oh Irony of life!
This year has been a good year. And no, I’m not quoting Frank Sinatra, tough I love him, and I listen to him much more than I should. Yes, I’m cheesy like that. But I’ve never really taken the time to appreciate. I’ve lived, did and travelled beyond my expectations, from hypermodern and minimalistic Japan, to noisy and punchy Bangkok and the breath-taking nature of Malaysian Borneo, edgy and classy NYC, then Nashville, aka country music central, to sunny and latin Miami, down to vibrant Mexico city, the tropical beaches and huge waves of Puerto Escondido and the bright colours of Oaxaca. And then, the skyscrapers of Chicago, NYC again, Thailand again, down to serene and zen Bali with a few European capitals in between. So it just seemed logical to end 10 solid months of travel here, and force myself to stop and breathe. And I thought, failing that… wine could help.
This is the plan, spend the days learning about wine, eating good food, then go back to my ‘finca’ read a book by the fire, whilst the sun is slowly going down on the vineyards and the Andes, have a glass of two (or four) of Malbec – not sure how to break the news to all the wine experts I’m meeting this week that I fancy a glass of Malbec, even with my salad – not a lighter blueberry scented Pinot Noir – and then watch the stars. Breathe, talk to people, hear their stories, meet more people on the way. Counting my blessings.
I am a lucky girl, and I’m realising the life I’m living is the life I want, and every so often it exceeds my expectations. This doesn’t mean that shit doesn’t come my way. It does, just like for everyone else I guess. When you genuinely trust human beings you can get hurt by people who aren’t that genuine, or are selfish and have an agenda. But I still feel lucky for every day I’m living, which is hardly the same as the previous one, even the shitty ones, everything I’ve learnt and I’m learning, the incredible people I meet, all the places I see, the memorable experiences and pretty amazing opportunities I have. This is probably why I needed to come 14k km from home. To realise this, and appreciate it.
I could say that I do work hard, and I make my own luck, and I work on myself everyday to be a decent and honest human being, someone I can be proud of, to always see the positives on everything and in people. But I am extremely grateful for everything I get to do, to see, the amazing meals I’m privileged to experience; for the amazing people I have in my life – you know who you are and I’m sorry I don’t tell you this often enough! – and even for the ones who have let me down – you know who you are too – and I forgive you because you made me discover sides of myself I wouldn’t necessarily be aware of, and because you are fighting your own life battles and are a bit lost, and I hope you will find your way soon.
So, I guess now that I came all the way here, I have a fire, Malbec to drink, it’s finally time… to breathe, seat back, have a glass of wine, and relax.