How Living Unsettled Led Me To Settle In Patagonia

By: Clara Mastronardi 

2017 was the year that, through Unsettled, I discovered the magic and delight of living and working remotely. It was then that I began intentionally choosing for myself where and how to live my life, and started to discover a community of like-minded humans who also wanted to design their lives in unique ways, like me. 

It was in September that year that I joined my first ever Unsettled trip as a participant in Bali and I had no way of knowing at the time how drastically my life was about to change. From working for the Argentine Ministry of Culture to full time nomad. And I spent the remainder of my 2017 reading, listening, researching different philosophies and ideologies. I learned how to notice things in my life like unhealthy patterns and destructive habits. And, through it all, I began to broaden my understanding of how I can live, work, and show up in the world.

One of the first realizations I made on that journey of self-discovery was my intrinsic need to be surrounded by nature. Up until that point, I’d lived in Buenos Aires for almost 30 years! I had gotten used to the bustling energy of the city, of its book stores and restaurants and live music. Until then, I hadn’t really even considered the value of living in a place where I have to wear my hiking boots to get to the grocery store. 

But since then, I’ve made living in and traveling to places of extraordinary natural beauty a priority in my life. Luckily, becoming a Location Manager and later, a Global Experience leader for Unsettled in 2018 gave me plenty of flexibility to travel, work remotely, and explore new places. I’d successfully uprooted my life in Argentina, and it became just another stop in my travels. 

In those years, after particularly long trips, I would sometimes return to Buenos Aires to visit family and friends or to run Unsettled Buenos Aires. Whenever I could find a free weekend, I would escape the city for a few days to Bariloche – my favorite mountain town – to go hiking or rock climbing. Bariloche is located in the Rio Negro province, at the northern tip of the Argentine Patagonia. It’s a small, unassuming alpine town, bordering Nahuel Huapi, a huge glacial lake nestled in the Andes Mountains. Bariloche was my way of unplugging from the chaos of Buenos Aires and recharging among adventure and joy and beauty. 

In 2020, after calling Bali my home for almost a year, my life of nomadism and adventure was cut temporarily short. International travel had, at that point, become nearly impossible, and like so many others in the world, work-from-home became standard practice for the Unsettled team. I had to choose: do I return to the community and relative safety I once knew in Buenos Aires? Or, in the absence of travel, is it possible to design a life of newness and adventure here in Argentina? 

I thought back to all my weekend trips to Bariloche, with its Swiss-inspired downtown, its meandering mountain trails, and its challenging climbs. And I was struck by a moment of clarity — of, again, broadening my understanding of how I could live, and work, and show up in the world.  

So, I decided to design a life in Bariloche that allowed me to work from a little cabin overlooking the Nahuel Huapi lake. Each day, I take breaks from my computer screen by walking around Cerro Otto, and I spend my weekends exploring the National Park either camping, hiking or rock climbing. I’ve also been able to find a community of fellow nature-lovers here, who share adventures with me. Plus, I still manage to visit Buenos Aires every other month to see family and friends and do some networking. And, of course, I visit Palermo, my favorite neighborhood of all. 

I think if we were to go back four years ago, after my first Unsettled trip, when I felt all that energy and clarity to unsettle my life — if someone had asked me then where I saw myself in 2022, I wouldn’t have even entertained the idea that I’d be living in my own home in Argentina. It took me years and hundreds of thousands of kilometers to realize I could be unsettled even in my own home country, that work/life integration can be closer than I’d ever imagined. But most importantly, no matter what else is happening in the world, no matter where I find myself, I have the power to design my life with intention and joy.

Eager to work remotely in Argentina with us? Join us in 2022! 

Unsettled is a global community for those who embrace the unknown and value meaningful human connection. Our mission is to inspire a lifelong pursuit of growth, meaning, and adventure through travel and shared experiences.

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