The Start For The Expat Experiment

South America has always been the continent we wanted to visit first on our adventure. Where to start in South America has changed a few times. If we had sold our house 2 years ago it would have been Cafayate, Argentina or a year later would have put us in Ecuador. We searched Ecuador, from Otavalo to Cuenca then up the coast as far as Esmereldas and settled on Salinas.

Makai in Buenos Aries,  Argentina
Makai in Buenos Aries, Argentina

We have read and researched, pouring over countless blog posts, books and travel articles trying to settle on the first destination. We even went as far as visiting Cafayate, Argentina in Salta province to see if all we’d read about “Salta la linda” (Salta the beautiful) was true.

It was.

For one reason or another (time being the major one with the house not selling) we kept or minds open and our radars searching. We were still looking for something we hadn’t heard about in Salinas or Cafayate. What that “something” was we didn’t yet know but one country kept popping up in our reading, whispering to us, it’s here, look here…

That place was Colombia.

Mapa de América del Sur (Sudamérica) - mapa da América do Sul - map of South America

We initially put Colombia out of our minds, concerned about safety, but something kept us coming back.

We were intrigued by the diversity, the weather, the mind blowing beauty found on the beaches, in the mountains and throughout the forest of the Amazon. Colombia seemed like uncharted territory, the road less traveled, the place with boundless opportunity and optimism.

As we’ve learned more about Colombian people, their culture, I have almost forgotten all of my initial fears. One traveler we met said Colombia is a country not spoiled by tourism. She told us stories of time she spent there and how she felt so welcomed, people on the street would smile and stop to thank her for coming to visit Colombia. Everything we have read or watched about Colombia has kept drawing us in.

I can’t remember when the search changed course and began within the borders of Colombia. All of the reading and planning to visit Ecuador seems a distant memory now, fading in the rear view, Colombia is the road before us now and we have dialed in our destination.

Cartagena will be the first stop for the Expat Experiment. We don’t know how long we will stay or if what we are looking for exists there, but I feel a connection to Colombia already. Colombia seems to be like a kindred spirit, in search of change, working tirelessly to get back to a simpler life.

Seems like the perfect place to start I think.

Change and a simpler life are what inspired our adventure.

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  1. says

    Cartagena! What an awesome place to start. We spent a few months in the north of Colombia late 2012 and had a great time. The culture is much more Caribbean than other parts of the south. The people, the music, the colors and the food. Ahhh take us with you haha. Don’t forget to visit the ‘volcano’ mud baths. An interesting adventure. Look forward to following the trip.
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    • Tracey says

      Jules, we can’t wait to finally get there! We considered staring our “experiment” in 3 other places but after reading about the culture and the glowing comments from travelers we decided to start in Colombia. We will check out the volcano mud baths for sure and ya, come along with us, the more the merrier;) Hope to see you on the road.

  2. says

    Such exciting news! At this point South America is not on our radar so I am really looking forward to following this next chapter in your life and learning about South America through your experiences. How will you travel? Did I read that you’re planning to drive? I can’t quite remember. When do you think you’ll be taking off?
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  3. says

    Great choice! Though I haven’t seen much of Colombia, my husband and I did live in Medellin for one month. It’s such a cool city, so many things to do, see, eat and discover. We lived in Envigado (just south of the city center) and the people were a stand out, so friendly and welcoming.

    At the end of 2013 we had a tough choice between whether to return to Colombia to live for a year or head to Bolivia to live. We ended up choosing Sucre in Bolivia, and so far it has been absolutely wonderful (like Colombia, the sun is nearly always shining). There are just so many places in the world to discover and to soak up! Hope Colombia treats you and your family well, enjoy :) h

    • Tracey says

      Thanks Brigid. I am so excited we will be able to experience Colombia first hand soon! We plan to stay in Cartagena 3 to 6 months at least (longer if it feels right to), we really want to get to know Cartagena. We want to travel within Colombia as well, don’t know when or where to but we definitely will. You are so right about so many places in the world to discover! I hope we will be able to stick to our plan to slow travel and not give in to our wanderlust to soon. I have heard lots of wonderful things about Bolivia as well. You never know maybe we will cross paths:)

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