New Adventures on the Horizon

So, let’s face it. I haven’t written a blog in forever. I’m sorry… I suck!  When I’m looking for work, or preparing for a new job, I tend to make that my primary task when I have free time in the evenings – hence blogs get thrown to the side. So, this is me, making an effort to tell you what’s going on in my life!

What’s new with me? Well, I’m working a desk job at the government on contract (in typical Ottawa fashion) for the summer.  I got to see my sister (who lives in Vancouver), last week, so that was really nice. We’re bopping around town in my mom’s old car, since she has retired to Mexico (and is living the life!). We’re enjoying the beginning of festival season in the city (Glow Fair, Doors Open Ottawa, and Italian Fest, anyone?).

Oh, and I have some exciting news in my life. After much consideration and an extended hiring process:

Steve and I are moving to Bolivia!


Last time we were in Bolivia we visited a mining town called Potosi, where we got to gear up and explore the silver mines. We also met a lot of other cool people there.

As you may remember, we’ve been to South America before.  In the spring on 2014, Steve was wrapping up his residency, and I had just defended my master’s thesis.  I was invited to speak at a conference in July, in Ottawa. So between May and July we had 6 weeks to kill (as long as we were both willing to miss our graduations – sorry mom!).  We decided to go on an epic back-packing adventure around South America.  We went through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. It was an amazing trip, and we always wanted to go back. In fact, Brazil is on our top 3 list of next places we’d like to check out (along with Kenya, and Tokyo!).

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Some highlights from our last trip to South America. Left – at the airport in Ottawa before leaving. Right – A beautiful day at Machu Picchu in Peru.

If you’ve been following along, I’ve been working in the scope of international development ever since I started my Master’s (with a focus on designing products for people with physical disabilities in Uganda) in 2012. Since then, I’ve been on internships in Ghana and Bangladesh/Nepal. Bolivia would be my first chance to live in a country for  a full year, and to apply my actual Industrial Design background to the work I’m doing.

Wow, what? When did that happen? Tell me more!

Since the fall, I’ve been applying to all sorts of jobs: in the Canadian government, with the UN, at various NGOS around the world, and local charities in Ottawa and Toronto. That’s how I got my current job (with the census).  I also like to stay active in my networking (even though I hate the idea of networking), so I attended an event called about women in politics at the Hub Ottawa (a co-working space focused on social impact). I met a new friend there who works for CUSO. She mentioned this Industrial Design job in Bolivia they were going to post and how they were unsure how to fill it. But the job needed Spanish, and I only had one year from high school. I saw the posting next day and told my coworkers about my disappointment in not being qualified. But they told me to apply anyway, with a “You go girl! This is perfect for you” attitude.  I’m so glad they did, because it’s about 2 months later and I officially accepted the job offer! 🙂

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Having some fun with Steve in Uyuni – the Salt Flats in the south of Bolivia.

Bolivia is a country of contrasts (see pictures below). It’s right in the heart of South America. It’s known for it’s salt flats and the beautiful culture of the people. We’re very excited to explore the country more (as well as possibly visiting some of the neighbouring countries during our days off). We were only there for less than 2 weeks last time, so there’s a lot more to do and see when we get there.  We’ve also never been to Sucre, which is where we’ll be based. My next blog is dedicated to telling you a bit more about the next city I’ll call home (Sucre)!

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Left – the deserts in the south of the country.

Right – A marching band during a festival in La Paz.

We’re so excited to take you all along with us on our journey. Please follow this blog if you want updates about all my newest posts. Who knows what the world has in store for us over the next year? I’m expecting lots of challenges, but also lots of amazing moments that make me grateful to be alive. 🙂

P.S. If you’re looking for a job in international development, CUSO has more than 60 positions currently posted. Some are only for 3 months, some are for 2 years. They’re around the world, and have sent over 15,000 volunteers (so they know what they’re doing!). You won’t make tons of money, but it’s great work experience, and a chance for adventure! 🙂

Stay tuned for more blogs about my upcoming move to Bolivia:


About Amanda

Hi, I’m Amanda! Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I am currently living with my partner (Steve) in Sucre, Bolivia for the next year. I work in the unique space between industrial design and international development – but what does that even mean? I’m passionate about working WITH marginalized communities in a way that utilizes design to improve the lives of different types of people around the world. I have worked, studied, traveled, and researched on every continent (except Antarctica), and most recently I lived in Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal. I love exploring new cultures and learning more about myself along the way.
This entry was posted in Bolivia - CUSO (2016/2017) and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to New Adventures on the Horizon

  1. Pingback: Sucre, Bolivia you say? Yeah, I totally know where that is… *Looks around in confusion* | The World… Thoughts, Books and Adventures

  2. Pingback: So, are you like freaking out? You leave in less than 2 months! | The World… Thoughts, Books and Adventures

  3. Pingback: What will you be doing in Bolivia when you arrive in August? | The World… Thoughts, Books and Adventures

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