Originally posted by Nicolás Forero on his substack In the Arms of Morpheus, on June 7 2023
Born into permanent alertness, fear of failure, and not keeping up with others. The daily sight of human hunger, jealousy, and despair. A place where bums control the wealth and the smart spend their lives paying for a degree they’ll never afford. The rich laugh at those who don’t take advantage of others, and the poor laugh, too, despite not having any advantage.
I love having been born in such an imperfect but predictable place. It’s like watching a movie you know the ending of. Mugged, shocked, and disillusioned are all possibilities if you don’t keep your eyes open in South America. Bliss, wholeness, and serenity if you do.
- Too risky.
- Too dangerous.
- Too unnecessary.
Said people for decades.
- Too cheap.
- Too beautiful.
- Too unforgettable.
Say their nomad sons and daughters.
Bullshit, I say.
Our men, women, children, businesses, houses, entrepreneurs, food, parks, gyms, cafés. Overtaken. Inaccessible for the citizens they were created for, at the hands of those who talked the most shit about them. Of those who still do. Whites, Gingers and Latinos and Blacks born elsewhere. They think their money is a form of charity. That its absence is punishment.
Digital nomads think that buying daily lattes compensates for rent increases. But they ignore the family evicted so they could live near drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes. Locals whose value only decreases as Patagonia logos overhaul our streets. They don’t bring swords this time, but their keyboards slash both our physical and virtual lives in one swing.
“What would your life be without us?” They ask.
But cheaper, more beautiful, and unforgettable.
Now even our bums left us.
They and others reached out for help from relatives, friends, government, and store clerks. But their cry remained unanswered, as when you fall in a place like this, the question isn’t when you’ll get up but how deep you fall.
And you visit the rest of Latin America and act the same. You stay in neighborhoods that remind you of your land or superiority. Palermo Hollywood in Buenos Aires, Condesa (countess) in Mexico City, and Barranco, the soho of Lima.
And you talk about how cheap, beautiful, and unforgettable areas are. Too much. But not once refer to the locals because you only meet them in Ubers, airports, and restaurants.
We don’t need your knowledge, culture, money, values, religions, or bad salsa. We have all that, often better. What we need is light. Love, collaboration, opportunities, something to silence the sound of failure we were born with. To feel that we are equal to you because we also fail at recognizing it. We can learn. Together. But the authority you so much want us to feel has made it so that you must take the first step.
Remote work came too readily, too completely. We received access to the world at the expense of letting the world overhaul ours. Again. It replaced our angst about taking out our phone on the streets for that of seeing a 6ft tall person at a restaurant that we now know we can’t afford.