CASE STUDY: SALLY BLAKE, HOW MY TANGO COURSE PROGRAM IN ARGENTINA CHANGED MY LIFE COMPLETELY!
Sally Blake (49) talks about her life-changing experience in Argentina
I am British, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire and now split my time between the UK and Buenos Aires.
I first travelled to Buenos Aires to learn to dance Argentine tango in 2006. I was freshly divorced at 43 (after 16 years with my husband, who left me in June 2006 - we are on good terms now!) and I came from a quiet housewife life in the Hampshire countryside. We had no children.
When my husband left we'd been due to take a tour of Mongolia's Gobi Desert by motorbike (a dream of his). He suggested I go alone, and despite being terrified, as I did not myself ride a motorbike, I went. There, in a bar in Ulan Bator, in perhaps the most incredibly synchronous moment of my whole life, our Mongolian guide told me of his Italian girlfriend who danced Argentine Tango. We promised each other we would learn to dance it too!
I was quite desperate to shift my depression and the dread of what seemed like an empty life ahead, and when I returned to Britain I went to my first class in Southampton. Within weeks I was hooked, and knew I must go to Buenos Aires to dance. It was a point in my life when I knew I must grab the moment with every last ounce of strength I possessed and just GO! I was effectively a complete beginner in tango, I didn't know anyone in Argentina, had not travelled abroad alone much before and didn't speak Spanish. It was scary but years before I'd read Susan Jeffer's book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, and I thought, Sal, just bloody well do it. Honestly, I felt the call to wake up and LIVE rather than simply exist.
I booked one month in a hostel, and some tango and spanish lessons with Traveller's Worldwide (this is how I know Letitia) till I found my feet.
I fell in love with tango here and with Buenos Aires, and eventually with a gorgeous Argentine, Carlos! I ended up staying and now base myself between the two countries. At first I wrote a blog about my experiences. Then in 2010 I self-published a guide book for foreign tango dancers coming to Buenos Aires called Happy Tango: Sallycat's Guide to Buenos Aires (recommended in the new Buenos Aires City Guide Lonely Planet), see book's website at http://sallycatway.com/happytango I wrote the book to try to help others like me, coming to Buenos Aires to dance for the first time. It's a guide book with a lot of soul, and seems to be doing its job well - has 17 five star reviews on Amazon UK which is great. I am more than happy to send a PDF copy of the book to you if it helps you in any way.
I've changed my life completely over the past six years since my divorce. I am now 49 years old. I still dance tango several times a week in the tango salons of Buenos Aires when I'm here. I'm writing a second book, working title The Happy Hearts Quest (26 practical Tasks for those who want to discover more joy) , you can read the first Task here if you are interested, and it actually contains the start of my story in words and pictures: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=179581572062877
I started a UK company in 2010 to publish my own books and now, with skills learned through my own blogging, website work and book making, we're beginning to do a range of work for clients. I've also begun to paint. Mine is a 'portfolio life' and a creative life now. I've learned that I thrive on adventure and variety.
I've no idea what the future holds but I whatever it is, I'll embrace it as fully as I did the dance that began it all. I'll be 50 next year and I'm happy. I've got the life I would have dreamed of, had I known it existed!
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