Those who know me know I’m not the type of traveler who likes to kick back and leave the details to someone else. I tend to obsessively research a destination months in advance; looking for the odd and the arcane, the off-the-beaten-path adventure, all the while delving into the history, literature and culture. Maybe that’s why people tend to stop and ask me for directions when I’m abroad – by the time I arrive, I’m already well-steeped.
This trip to Argentina, however, was the rare exception. When the subject of my visit was originally discussed, I was told to not worry about any of the details. The hotels where I would be staying would take care of all of that and send me out on a raft of excursions. Basically, I should just show up in Buenos Aires and hang on for the ride.
Now my control issues would, of course, never let that happen, and I did venture significant input in the weeks leading up to my departure. However, the vast majority of what I’ve posted about was coordinated with extraordinary savoir-faire by Maita Barrenenchea and her specialty travel company, Mai 10.
I never really understood the benefits of working with a travel specialist. (Wasn’t the internet supposed to do away with travel agents and their ilk anyway?) Not to mention the fact that paying someone for help pretty much ends any Road Warrior street cred I may have had. But then again, there are benefits: a private tango lesson in a historic cafe with dancers from the national academy, birdwatching with a condor expert beside a nesting area, shopping the antiques district with a noted connoisseur. Every day I was privy to some new raft of factoids and bits of insider information. When the airline lost my luggage, Mai 10 quickly made sure it was found and delivered to my hotel. When a flight was delayed, a car and driver were miraculously waiting to ferry me across the city to catch a connecting flight. It was like being looked after by a friend. And friends of that friend, too. Trust me, it made life easy-peasy. Thank you, Maita, for making it all seem so effortless. And hasta luego, Argentina; it’s been one heck of an adventuresome ride.