The Adventure-Less One: How I Reclaimed My Curiosity Posted on 15 Jul 23:13 , 0 comments

By Rachael Leonie.

Curiosity: It kills cats, excites children, and escapes adults.  It’s our first and last passion, yet all too easily cast aside for habit and routine.

Rachael Leonie the Curious Explorer Wanderita

When I was in kindergarten, I felt a certain thrill in the mornings, thinking about what I was going to pull over my head to decorate my petite body. At that point, I was still oblivious to the concepts of fashion, body image, and self-consciousness. I would finger past tie-dye dresses and colorful lace tops until I spotted what I wanted to wear that day: the winner being a leopard-print shirt with matching leggings, complete with a tail attached to the seat of the pants. I’d smear sparkly gel across my cheeks, snap my Velcro sandals into place, and prance downstairs to show off the day’s outfit to my fashionably-supportive mother. After school, at the swim practice I oh-so-despised, I’d watch the older girls talk to the water polo boys, noting their sheepish grins and girlish giggles. I wondered if I’d be as silly –or as filled out– as them when I grew up. Later, sitting around the dinner table with my family, I’d curiously eye my brother as he spooned peas and corn into his mashed potato volcano. My parents would urge me to eat, but my fork would stay hovering between plate and mouth as I watched Alex complete his fascinating masterpiece –the trance only broken once he delved his spoon into the edible mountain.

I’m not sure when I lost that curiosity: when getting dressed turned into a chore, exercise became synonymous with calories, and meals diminished to nothing more than a food-to-mouth transaction to satisfy hunger –or worse, a craving. But recently, I sited these digressions that transformed my previously curiosity-driven life to one of habit and routine. And I made an oath to revolutionize each habit with re-instilled curiosity.

In a city that practically pleads its expatriates to be curious, it’s easy. With each cross-town viaje, Buenos Aires offers 6 different collectivo routes to choose from: which path will I take and what interactions, protests, and street art will I encounter along the way? In line at the market, the city sticks a chatty Porteño behind me, urging me to begin a new, if just fleeting, relationship with a local. Regardless of where I go or what I do, I am pre-destined to see or hear something I never have before…the city makes sure of it. 

But you don’t need to be an expat in a new city to seek that curiosity.

My week included no radical activity, no expensive retreat, no Spanish-specific endeavor. Monday evening I spent people watching in the plaza, listening to Bjork. Tuesday, I researched the city’s best pizza and dragged my boyfriend with me on a 2-hour trip just to try a slice. Post-work on Wednesday I found myself playing Catch Phrase with co-workers and drinking our weight in wine.   Thursday I tried a yoga class in a new, far-away neighborhood and Friday I hosted a 5-person dinner party. Each nothing more than a small event done with a light heart and unfaltering curiosity.

I’ve heard curiosity kills the cat. But until I hear it hurts a human, I’ll keep pursuing my curiosity –pizza hunts, collectivo adventures, mashed potato mountains, and all.

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Rachael Leonie aka The Wanderita is a spunky twenty-something-year-old who found her way back to Buenos Aires after a series of misadventures through South America. She spends her free time talking porteño with taxi drivers and taste-testing choripán. Follow her as she bares her soul to Buenos Aires at www.TheWanderita.com.