Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed on these blog posts are solely those of the original author, myself,  Amanda Cox. These views and opinions do not represent those of any company, government, or organization I may be affiliated with.

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Feeling the Vibe in Medellin, Colombia

The first stop on our Colombia trip was in Medellin – a big, modern city.  We didn’t have that much time in the city so we had to make the most of it. Medellin is a very popular city for Digital Nomads, due to the fast internet, ease of getting around, cheap cost-of-living, and diversity of activities available.  It definitely feels the most “modern” of the three cities we went to, and we did quite a few things in the 48 hours we were there.

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View of the city from the top of the escalators in Comuna 13.

Day 1 – December 22nd, 2016

After getting off the plane from Bogota, we wanted to get SIM cards for our phones. We found a little shop in the airport, and paid about $15 each for the card, 1GB of data, and some text/call credit. There are cheaper plans, but that one seemed the easiest. My phone was easy but Steve had some issues. After a bit of Goggling on my phone we solved the problem, and we were both set up with internet for our trip (highly recommended). Afterwards, we grabbed a taxi into the city. The airport is actually quite a bit outside of the city, and you have to wind your way down the hills into the center. It was a good opportunity to see all the greenery and high-rises, quite different from my home in Sucre!

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First views of the city. Definitely a big change from Sucre!

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Why I’d Rather Be an Expat Than a Constant Traveler

Drinking Juice at a Festival in Accra, Ghana

Drinking Juice at a Festival in Accra, Ghana

People always wonder how I’m able to travel so much. Often people are jealous, but I don’t think they really understand what it involves. I’ve based my whole life around this nomadic lifestyle, which has a lot of excitement but also a lot of challenges.  Living in another country for work is a choice I’ve made. It means I don’t have a car or a house, and my friends aren’t able to rely on me to attend important life events.  However, I think it was a good choice for me, because I like to travel slowly. I enjoy being in a country for a longer amount of time to really explore the culture and see different parts of the area.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want my future to be, where I’ll live, and what type of work I’ll do. I like living in new places, but I also like short vacations. Check out my latest blog Life as a Traveler vs. Life as an Expat to hear more about the differences (preview below).


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Walking the streets of Venice

A lot of people think that traveling the world is very exciting, and it is! It’s interesting to learn about new cultures, it’s fun to try new activities you may have never even heard of, and it’s (sometimes) yummy to try new foods! But when most people picture this around-the-world adventure, they picture traveling as a tourist. Everyone is having fun all the time on vacation, right? That may work for 2-3 weeks, but after that, you will probably start to get tired, and one cathedral just blurs into the next. It can be overwhelming for some people. Continue reading

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Planning a Trip to Colombia? Here are my Top 10 Tips

When you’re planning a trip, it’s always hard to know where to start. You want to book your flights, in order to book your accommodation, but how do you know which cities to visit and for how long? What’s the best season to visit, and when will the flights be a good price? Personally, I only had a few weeks off work, and I had to coordinate with 2 people coming from other countries as well. We also wanted to go somewhere during Christmas, which reduced our options considerably. However, we had an amazing time, and I’m so glad we chose Colombia as our destination! I can’t answer all those questions for you, because it’s very personal. But I can give you ten tips that you should be aware of when you’re travelling to Colombia!

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1) Get a Sim Card – You used to be able to travel anywhere without technology. While you technically still can, having access to internet on the go is extremely helpful. For less than $15 at the airport, I saw able to get a SIM card, 1GB of data, and some small amount of credit for calls/texts. It did take about half an hour at the airport to get everything set up on two different phones, but totally worth it for the two-week trip. It let us check the hours of museums, know which bus routes to take, check out TripAdvisor for nearby restaurants, use translation apps, and order Uber to take us home. Especially recommended if you don’t speak the language.

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A Weekend in Wine-Country: 3 Days in Tarija, Bolivia

Steve and I are big believers that experiences are much more important than things. That’s why we try to buy each other activities instead of presents for important holidays. Since Steve’s birthday was this week, and the weekend before was a long weekend, we decided to go on a little getaway to see another part of Bolivia.  After looking at the options for what might be available on such short notice, in the rainy season, and wasn’t too expensive – we decided on Tarija!  Tarija is only a short 30 minute flight away, and it’s the home of all our favourite Bolivian wineries – the perfect way to relax for a few days! 🙂

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Tarija is full of statues and monuments. 

Friday – Steve met me at work on Friday, and we grabbed a taxi to the airport. When we travel just for a weekend we usually try to share just one duffle bag for all our checked stuff, plus a carry-on bag each for our book, snacks, passport, etc. We drove the 45-minutes to the airport and checked in for our flight. We still had time to spare so we went upstairs and grabbed a small sandwich for lunch. When there was about 45 minutes to go, we went downstairs but the gate wasn’t open so I was forced to go shopping (what a drag :P) and bought some chocolate from Para Ti! With about 20 minutes to go they let us into the boarding area/gate.  I bought some water and then we boarded right away. The flight was only about 30 minutes, and we arrived in the early afternoon.  We heard that if you take a taxi from the airport they’ll charge you 50 Bs. ($10 CAD) even though it’s only a 10-minute ride. Instead, we walked out to the street and found a bus into the city. It wasn’t too complicated and only cost us 3 Bs. ($0.60) for 2 people. The bus didn’t go exactly to our hotel, but we got off maybe 5 blocks away and walked there. Unfortunately, the hotel (Kultur Berlin Tarija) wasn’t actually there or at least wasn’t open even though we had a reservation? So we found a new hotel and checked-in. Hostel Miraflores wasn’t fancy, but we had a room, it was only 100 Bs ($20) a night for a private, and it was only 3 blocks from the main plaza.

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The Paleontology Museum has a very impressive collection.

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Traveling in Bolivia: A Great Way to Work on Your Patience and Flexibility!

I highly recommend that everyone travel to Bolivia. It’s an underrated country that many people ignore when traveling to more “exciting places” in South America like Rio, Buenos Aires, or Machu Picchu. But it has a lot of exciting things to see! The salt flats in Uyuni are unlike anywhere else on earth, and it’s really cool to see the desert scenes (including flamingos). The walls around Sucre contain more dinosaur footprints in one spot then any other place on earth! The death road in La Paz is an adventure filled day of mountain biking. The islands of Lake Titicaca highlight the culture of the region while allowing you to see the majesty of the stars at night (without any light pollution). However, if you’re going to travel to Bolivia, you will also run into a few bumps in the road!

There are many things that you can do to prepare for a trip. You can learn the language, book your accommodation, understand cultural norms, and pack all the medications/clothes you anticipate needing. But that’s not enough in Bolivia. Even though Bolivia has a big tourist industry, it’s not well set-up to avoid unexpected delays, cancellations, and disappointments. I believe that you will still have a great time, but it’s important to keep expectations low so you don’t get disappointed. If your whole trip is centered around one activity, you may be in for a rude awakening. Here are a few examples from just three days of traveling in Bolivia (considering I also live in Bolivia).

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We’re used to taking the bus in Bolivia.

• Booking a bus – Originally, we wanted to take the bus to Tarija. The buses in Bolivia are super cheap (about $4 for a 3-hour journey) so we thought we could save some money. Unfortunately, all the buses from Sucre to Tarija leave and arrive at super inconvenient times. Who wants to leave the city at 3 pm (if you can even get off work early to leave at that time) and then arrive in a new place at 4 am? Not only will it take up your whole day, and you won’t get any sleep, you also have to book a hotel for that night because nothing is open at 4 am for you to do. Couldn’t the buses leave at 8-9pm and arrive at 8-9am? I wish… We decided it wasn’t worth it, so we were going to take the plane instead.

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Only Have 6 Hours in La Paz, Bolivia? You’ll still have a blast!

Going on holidays is always exciting.  You might be a little stressed about work, nervous about making your connecting flight, and dreading the lack of leg room (if you’re a tall guy like Steve), but mostly it’s supposed to be fun.  You’re going somewhere new to explore.  It’s an adventure!  Since you only have a limited amount of time off work, you decide to leave as soon as you can after your last work day!  Is this the best for your sleep?  Probably not.  But it gives you chance to see the most you can of the cities you’re visiting, so I think it’s worth it!

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Left: Last views over the hills of Sucre from the taxi window. Right: Steve and I in front of the plane on the runway.

Sucre, Bolivia – December 21st, 2016

I have to get up pretty early for work.  Thankfully my commute is just a 15-minute walk, so I can get up at 6:30, leave the house at 7:15, and still make it to work for 7:30.  Although I have a really early start, I also have shorter work days, and I’m able to finish by 1:30 in the afternoon – totally worth the early mornings!  Originally when I asked my boss he told me that we have holidays from December 22nd to January 9th, so I booked my flight after work on December 21st.  It turns out he was wrong, and the week actually went until Friday for the school, but I already had my flight booked so I was out of there Wednesday afternoon!  After work, I walked home, took a shower while Steve made lunch, ate some food, did some last minute packing, and we were ready to go by 3:30.  Since our street is super narrow, we walked with our luggage to the corner with the bigger street and flagged a taxi to the airport.  Thankfully, since it was a local flight we only had to get there about an hour in advance.  But the actual drive is about 45 minutes through winding country roads.  We got to the airport, checked our bags (mine was exactly at the correct weight, Steve’s was way under – as usual!), and bought some chocolate to bring for my family.  We paid the airport tax, went quickly through security, and got on our flight to La Paz no problem.

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Left: Steve is too tall for Bolivian planes and hits his head on the ceiling if he doesn’t duck. Right: You can see that El Alto is a huge city, with tons of small buildings that stretch out as far as the eye can see.

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Blog Award 2016 Nominations Announced (NEPALIAUSTRALIAN)

Apparently, I have been nominated as one of the Best Travel Blogs of the year (2016) by NEPALIAUSTRALIAN.  It’s definitely a nice feeling. 🙂 I know that she’s been following my blog for a while, and her blog is visited by thousands of you from all over the world.  Her blog features lots of interesting content, like guides to visiting 119 different cities in 23 different countries(!), how to travel as a mom, food and fashion from around the world, and even a guide to learning Nepali!  It’s an honour to be appreciated as a blogger.  There are 5 of us in the “Travel” category, so if you’d like to nominate one blog as your favourite, please make sure to comment on the original post of her blog with your choice. If you’re interested in looking for more blogs to follow about a specific topic (such as fashion blogs, food blogs, photo blogs, etc.) then make sure to check out her original post below for some great inspiration.  Thanks NEPALIAUSTRALIAN! 🙂

Read below and click the link if you’re interested in finding out more information or want to vote for your favourite!

Thank you everyone for getting behind Nepaliaustralian Blog Award 2016 and nominating your favourite blogs. So now the nomination has closed and it’s time to vote for your favourite blogs to win t…

Source: NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2016 Nominations Announced

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