- Personal Stories & Opinions>
- Finding a Land Different from Home
Growing up in Iowa.
It’s a land that is relatively flat.
A Mississippi river that stretches for as long as you can see nearby.
Agricultural crops growing nearby.
Mostly corn and wheat.
A lack of mountains.
Mostly flat land.
With a few caves here and there…
And a few mini waterfalls here and there.
With a few cities scattered about.
And smaller communities around the area with small towns and all.
That’s Iowa in a brief description in terms of physical geography.
Of course, I could elaborate beyond that but that is largely what it is.
It’s honestly not a bad area.
Maybe it sounds boring to most…
But I like it.
When I see films like Field of Dreams below here…
I watch the entire film.
And, being honest, the film has made me cry a tiny bit.
Mostly out of nostalgia for a land I grew up with.
As I wrote in this article, I never forget where I came from.
With each year, I become prouder of my roots.
But would I move back to my roots?
The Iowa in Latin America
I was living in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the time.
Anyway, I took a trip from the capital to the north of the country.
To a part of Argentina known as Misiones.
For the trip, I had to interview some folks that were part of a cooperative that produced yerba mate.
Yerba mate being a type of tea that is popular with some South Americans.
Anyway, I went there.
And traveling by bus through the province…
It dawned on me how much similar it looked to Iowa.
A relatively flat land that is considered boring to most…
With plenty of agricultural crops nearby…
Replace corn and cheat with soy and yerba mate.
And English with Spanish.
Cherokee with Guarani.
Less white and more brown.
An Iowa in South America?
I remember looking outside of the bus window as I was taken to the north of Misiones.
Going to Iguazu Falls.
“It looks like Iowa.”
That sentence alone probably doesn’t mean anything to most folks.
When you haven’t been away from home for so long….
It doesn’t mean much.
But it meant something to me.
As I identify more and more with my roots each year.
At any rate, it meant something to me.
To see a place that looked so much like home.
I could see myself going back there.
Live in Paraguay.
Or Misiones, Argentina.
Or maybe Corrientes, Argentina.
But I’m doubtful.
Canada in Latin America?
It’s ironic mentioning my own relation to Paraguay and north-eastern Argentina.
A guy I know about who calls himself Vance who is from BC, Canada…
Posted something on Twitter about some other part of Latin America.
I responded to the post….
“How come you don’t consider Puerto Williams, Chile?”
It was a post he made about some random part of Latin America that he could, in theory, see himself relocating to.
Anyway, he responded with how “if he would move there, he might as well stay in his part of Canada.”
Of course, his part of Canada is different from my part of America.
Though Puerto Williams looked quite nice to me.
And the surrounding scenery.
At least when I was there some years ago – it looked like quite a nice place to settle down in.
But perhaps that is what Vance thought when he travelled to Paraguay.
To me, Paraguay is Iowa.
To him, southern Chile is Canada.
You can argue it is a part of living abroad for most foreigners that is rarely touched upon directly.
Though most foreigners, when asked why they like living down here, they bring up the beaches and the weather perhaps.
The beaches in Mexico or Costa Rica.
And maybe those who prefer the beaches and warmer weather come from a place like Wisconsin.
Obviously then the scenery of the new home is important here for those who choose to relocate south of the border.
And so I get it.
Why move so far away if you already got it at home?
You can find Vance’s website here by the way.
But what is the larger point at work here?
Finding Home Away from Home
As said, it’s an aspect of living abroad that seems to be overlooked.
As conversations about dating and finances abroad seem to overtake much of the conversation…
Any conversation about the location itself and the scenery that comes with it seems to not given much attention.
Outside of the occasional mention about how Costa Rica, Mexico or whatever Latin country has warmer weather with more beaches.
Perhaps than it is a minor aspect of relocating abroad.
One that not too many folks consider…
Especially as most tend to see all of Latin America as one very large tropical place.
More so to those who have never been down here before
I can say anyway that in my experience…
I have looked at places like Paraguay or Misiones, Argentina and thought “it looks too much like Iowa.”
Same thing with Uruguay.
I’ve always seen Uruguay as a Hispanic version of Iowa where everyone spoke Spanish instead of English.
Where I’d still have to go through very long flights back home several times a year.
Which is another aspect to all of this…
In regards to what you have to endure to enjoy your home abroad in Latin America.
If home in Latin America is too much like home back home….
Is it worth it then?
For me personally….
A place like Uruguay or even Paraguay would be a solid no.
A place like northern Argentina near the Paraguayan border would be a no also.
Unfortunately, that’s a no also.
Though the last option has more to do with other reasons than being too similar to Iowa…
It’s a fair point anyway.
Why live in southern Chile when you are from Canada?
Why live in Misiones, Argentina when you are from Iowa?
It’s a thought to consider as you put more thought into which part of Latin America best suits what you are looking for.
For those who recognize Latin America is more diverse than a tropical region full of just a bunch of beaches.
Would be appreciated to hear your comments also.
Drop them below in the comment section.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.