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Q&A: Remote Year participant Emily Mitnick on her two months in Argentina

Stylus’ New York-based strategic account director talks us through months seven and eight of her year-long working adventure around the world, which is concluding in South America.

It’s two months for the price of one in our latest update from Emily Mitnick, whose epic Remote Year adventure has recently taken her to Argentina’s first- and second-largest cities: Buenos Aires and Cordoba.

How’s she settling into South American (working) life after months of hard graft and travel in Europe and Asia? Very nicely, as it turns out…

So Emily, you’ve just spent two months in Argentina. How did you find Buenos Aires and Cordoba?

“I fell madly in love with Argentina – and I fell fast. There are endless bottles of wine, maté (their local tea), and daily outdoor asados (barbecues). There’s empanadas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s organised chaos, which at times frustrated me beyond belief. But Argentina has a unique pulse – and it’s my kind of rhythm.”

Because you’re fluent in Spanish, was it easy settling in?

“Knowing the language allowed me to hit the ground running, both personally and professionally. I was able to meet locals quickly, skip tourist traps, and immerse myself in a daily routine. I also met with clients and delivered presentations in Spanish, which I hope will open the door for future opportunities for Stylus in Latin America.

“I think understanding Spanish nuances also gave me a stronger appreciation for Argentina’s culture and people. “Hacemos un asado; querés venir?” We’re making a barbecue; do you want to come? In Argentina, it’s not just about eating, it’s about gathering friends and family around the fire pit to share an experience.

“Even drinking maté is a communal tradition. One person prepares the maté cup, passes it around to each friend, and refills the cup for the others until the hot water is gone. Pretty special, right?

“We’re living in a world where we’re constantly connected to our phones, looking at life through a small screen. At Stylus, we track future lifestyle patterns and behaviours – perhaps we need to turn to South America to remember the importance of human connection and new conversations. Trends are cyclical – perhaps there will be a retraction toward disconnect. This is a topic we discuss a lot in the states.”

How do Cordoba and Buenos Aires compare?

“Being that the cities are just a few hours from each another, they’re surprisingly different. The small-town vibe of Cordoba allowed our group to get to know the locals on a deeper level. They were always eager to spark up a conversation with us, whether it be at a coffee shop or waiting in line for the restroom. In comparison, Buenos Aires was much larger, more expensive, vibrant, touristic and commercialised. Our Remote Year group integrated itself into Buenos Aires rather unnoticed.”    

What were your workspaces like in each city?

“Remote Year organised three shared offices across Buenos Aires to accommodate our large group. Like our Stylus content, the offices were filled with different businesses across different industries. There were also so many great coffee shops catered to digital nomads.

“The Cordoba office was also a shared workspace with beautiful light overlooking the city. You could see the main cathedral from our desks. Unlike Buenos Aires, there wasn’t a strong café culture in Cordoba, so our group typically gathered at the office space – a rarity for our large group.”

Have you been able to maintain your working rhythm in South America?

“I’m travelling with about 50 people – we’re all working different jobs across varying time zones, with different work rhythms. I understand now that productivity is extremely personal and that, after nine months, you do find your groove. You have to know yourself and be extremely disciplined.”

You’ve not long been in Peru. Presumably you’re excited for everything it has to offer?

“Absolutely. I’ve heard that Peru is home to some of the most delicious and innovative food in all of South America. We spotted the restaurant Central a while ago in our Stylus research; I’ll have to taste its famous deconstructed ceviche and see what all the fuss is all about.

“My friends and I also booked a four-day intensive trek up to Machu Picchu, which I’m sure will be extremely challenging both physically and mentally. With the change in altitude, some of the most experienced hikers just physically can’t make it to the top. Am I nervous? Yes, of course I am. But as I’ve told myself time and time again throughout this Remote Year adventure, ‘Emily, you got this. I got this.’” 

Emily is spending April in Lima, from where she’ll travel to Medellin and Bogota in Colombia before her year away ends in Mexico City.