About

We spent 675 days travelling around South America (with a little foray into Central America too). Along the way we stopped to work, study and volunteer. We both love exploring on foot, hence the name of this blog. We began by blogging with an iPod touch. Now that we’re reunited with our computer (it feels great after almost two years of separation!), we’re using the desktop version of wordpress.

Where are we?
Our journey began in January 2012, with a flight to Brazil. From there we headed south, zig-zagging through Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. We made an extended stop in La Paz, Bolivia, then continued up the continent through Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, with a final stop in Costa Rica to visit some friends.

What we discover, we’ll share with you. You can read our Tips & Advice for reviews and recommendations about where to stay and what to eat in South America, as well as a few other travel-related things. We’ll write postcards from places we really enjoy – museums, small towns, shops – that we think might be inspiring for others. We hope you enjoy our Photo Essays as much as we enjoy taking them.

We’d love to hear from you if you have questions or want to know more. Or maybe you just have advice about where we should go and what we should do the next time we head down south. If you have contacts for volunteering or EFL teaching, get in touch.

Who are we?
A one time archaeologist and sometime teacher, Rosie likes ghost stories, bright windows and lazy mornings. She studied travel writing at MatadorU and occasionally blogs about her life in Asia at Awaiting A Name. Follow her on twitter @RosannaBird

You can find her published work elsewhere on the web:
Why I live in…La Paz: Interview with The Working Traveller
Photo Guides: 6 Beautiful Panoramic Landscape Photographs from Uyuni, Bolivia
Travel Narratives

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Jon majored in linguistics. This has led him into learning many languages poorly, and a couple of languages well. He’s never encountered a food he doesn’t like, except 100 year old egg. His tangled recollections can be found somewhere in the ether or on his blog.

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After graduation, we left our respective countries to teach English in Seoul, South Korea (where we met). After a couple of years and a bit of travelling, we made the move to Jhunan, a small town in Taiwan. A couple more years passed and we decided to leave Asia (although we both miss it very much) and follow the trail to South America.

Although right now we’re living a ‘settled’ life in Boston – with furniture and a cat! – this probably won’t be the end of our expat adventures. There’s so much of the world we haven’t experienced yet! Plus we kind of like the simplicity of living out of a suitcase.

32 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Rosie and Jon! What a great story! Rosie, I would love to learn more about your experience at MatadorU – I have been thinking about travel journalism a lot… Do you think we can connect somehow to talk about it?

    Thank you,

    Yulia

  2. Looks like an interesting weblog, I’ll tune in periodically and see how things progress for you. I spent years traveling through S. America, starting when I was 16 when I moved to Jujuy, Argentina, and then Tucuman and Salta from there. Not sure if you’ve passed through these areas yet. If not, I would highly recommend some of those northern reaches of Argentina near the Bolivian boarder.

    • Thanks for visiting our site. We have visited Salta, though only for a week, and really liked it. In fact, if we hadn’t ended up with work in Bolivia we’d have gone back there to find somewhere to settle. That area was one of my favourites in Argentina.

  3. That 100 year old egg must’ve been in Taiwan? My hubby and I live in Seoul, where he teaches English, and we miss it too. Look forward to reading more of your adventures!

  4. I’ve just been dipping in and out of the posts for South America and have to say: your travels sound amazing. Through words and pictures, you conjure up a continent that has so much to interest and inspire the visitor! I’ll be back, no problem. Glad you like “In search of unusual destinations”, by the way! Phil.

  5. Just discovered your blog and it’s offering up some great inspiration for my trip to South America – I’m moving to Ecuador for five months to teach and then setting off on the travelling circuit afterward 🙂 Happy travels to you both, I’ll be reading more!

  6. Congratulations exploring for South America. It is the continent which I love very much. When I was young visited many times in Lima, Bogotá, Quito and Caracas, But I bought only Cumbia music from those places. I am sure that I have the biggest collection of Cumbia music in Finland.

    Happy travel.

  7. Top of my list is the Calendario (colonial) district including the mercado and Monserrate – but those might be on your (and everyone’s ) list already! There was a REALLY good homemade taco-empanada place by the mercado. Across from Hilton Embassy Suites is a very good tipico restaurant called Casa Vieja; also Casa Santa Clara on top of Monserrate – be sure and order ajaico while in Bogotá. If you have a chance to go to my blog I have pictures and comments ” Monserrate in the clouds above Bogotá”; “The streets of Bogotá”.. and a couple of other mostly reminisces.
    Happy travels.

  8. Rosanna – I got to thinking and have to write more! Another place I really like is Usaquen – which is a small colonial town that has been engulfed by the sprawl of the city – but is still great. It is located in the NE corner and easy to get to by bus. There is a flea market there (check days) where you can find gifts.
    The small supermarkets named Carulla are good places to shop for food – and specialty items; there is one in Rosalia district in Bogotá .
    Another very nice colonial town (not in Bogotá but maybe 2 hrs by bus to the north) is Bachira. I didn’t get to it this time – but heard it has become a weekend “destination” (thus I fear prices may have gone up).

      • Hello Rosanna –

        How was Colombia?

        I am starting a “blog tour” this month to promote my new novel and wonder if I could make an appearance on your blog? Because of the setting I think it is appropriate. The book is called A Place in the World, and is set in the cloud forests of Colombia. The story is about a young biologist ex-pat who marries a Colombian and goes to live on his family’s remote coffee finca. Calamities strike one after another and Alicia ends up running the finca alone. But the novel is essentially about the interactions of an international cast of characters and an excuse to write about the culture and the rainforest. It has pretty good reviews so far ( see at: http://amzn.to/19wSFfX ).

        I am attaching a press release with pertinent information, including a bio. I can write this up as a feature article or we can go for a different format of your choice (interview or you could reblog a past post or___). I also attach the book cover and can send a head shot of myself if you wish. I’m happy to send you a digital book if you are interested. I will post a list of host blogs (I hope to get 6-8 related blogs) when I get responses and schedules from people. (Right now I have a yet unscheduled spot as Featured author on Displaced Nation.)

        Hope this is agreeable to you; hope to hear from you soon,

        Cinda

        Cinda MacKinnon

        http://cindamackinnon.wordpress.com

  9. I just stumbled upon your blog and I love it! Great information. We are traveling South America for the past year too-it’s nice to see others doing the same and keeping a great record. Cheers!

  10. Hello

    I’m Jin from South Korea ^^”

    Just like u, i had been to Latin america about 3 months last year (2012)
    from Brasil->Uruguay->Argentina->Chile->Bolivia->Colombia->Cuba and i like every cities
    but actually i do like ‘La Paz’ (!) most of all and do hope to move to La Paz and live there
    if possible 🙂

    So now i’m googling stories about immigrants(?) to La Paz, finding your blog a few days
    ago and i will keep visiting yours frequently to get some information ha ha ~

    Thanks
    Gracias

    • Hi Jin,
      Nice to hear from you. I’m very happy the blog has helped you. I know there is a community of Koreans in La Paz, some centred around a church in the Zona Sur area (sorry I don’t remember the name). Maybe you can look them up to find out more information about Koreans moving to Bolivia.
      Good luck with it! I wish I could be there still to say hi. 🙂

  11. Hi, Rosie!

    Great blog! I really enjoy reading about your travels. My boyfriend and I are leaving to South America on May 1 for a 4.5 month trip. We plan to visit as many countries and cities as possible. From reading numerous blogs, we have been advised to not book too much in advance since prices will most likely be cheaper once we are in South America. We have only half of our trip planned and going to wing it once we arrive. We will be traveling from the beaches of Cartagena all the way down to the ski slopes of Bariloche. I already read your packing list (which is going to be life saver when I actually get around to packing) but I am stuck on a couple of things. What type of backpack would you recommend for me to purchase? Any specific hiking boots I should buy now or wait until we arrive to Bogota, Colombia?

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    –Catherine

    • Hi Catherine,
      Thanks for reading and commenting – I’ll try to answer as best I can!

      Buy your hiking shoes now and try to wear them in a bit before your trip. You can buy specialised shoes and outdoor gear in South America, but it’s not necessarily cheaper (I guess because the demand just isn’t there). How much hiking are you planning on doing? You may not need to buy proper hiking shoes if you’re only planning on light day hikes. If you do want something a little more hardcore, get waterproof ones as there may be rainy weather in some places at that time (although your feet will get hotter and eventually smellier wearing them!).

      I don’t have any recommendation for a backpack – I’ve been using the same old one for years. Maybe just lay out all the stuff you’re planning on taking and see how much space it takes up. As with the shoes, decide if you’re gonna be carrying your backpack around for extended periods of time, in which case cut down on size and weight. My packing list was for two whole years of living, working and travelling. I think you could easily cut it down by half.

      One final piece of advice: don’t be surprised if you get three different answers to the same question and then find them all to be wrong. ‘Information’ in South America can be a slippery thing so try not to rely too much on what any one source says!

      Have fun! 🙂

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