Traveling is not about seeing as much as possible within a certain time frame. Traveling means more for real world nomads. We are no holidaymakers. We are curious, we are excited, we are adventurers and we are like sponges that want to take it all in.
My beautiful soul friend Regina is most definitely a hell of a world nomad traveling by herself through South America. After seeing so many pictures of her journey, I asked her to tell us about her adventure so I can share it with you. Luckily, she took her time to write this beautiful and very inspiring story. Enjoy!
Hi, I am Regina, a curious wanderess currently living and working in Colombia.
My journey is mainly driven by a love for the outdoors, which always brings me back to my favourite two elements: the oceans and the mountains. Soon I will be slowly heading south towards Chile and cannot wait for all the breathtaking sceneries along the way somewhere between the Andes and the Pacific. Soaking up nature’s beauty while climbing mountains, catching waves, camping in the jungles and sleeping on the beaches, this is how I love to travel.
“Give me a backpack, a tent, some waves and mountains and I will take you on an adventure.”
Besides nature, I love meeting people, spending time with them and learning about their culture. Activities such as couchsurfing, hiking, hitchhiking, and working or volunteering have always brought me closer to the people and helped me to understand a country while actually living there.
There is only one thing you have to bring: Time.
After two months of travelling along the Colombian coast and another month in Panama I was filled with so many wonderful impressions that I wanted to reflect my journey. This is why I decided to settle for a moment in order to teach English and take Spanish classes at the same time. To me this is such a great way to get to know a culture while enjoying the beauty of a steady place. I love wandering along the streets of this little town in Boyaca, exploring the markets and trying new food, talking to the street vendors or simply just taking the dogs up to the local mountain overviewing the town in the morning before my classes. I have my favourite juice lady, fruit store and coffee shop where people know me and hand me special treats, once in a while. This is a wonderful feeling while being on the road on my own and it makes me feel at home.
During the last couple of months, I met people that grew up in a country that is still known for its past and that still has its problems. But these people invited me to their homes, let me be part of their culture and told me their stories.
While living with a local family, I have learnt so much about the simple lifestyle and the strong sense for solidarity. People here stick together because they have to and it creates such a wonderful community. The lifestyle I live right now is totally different to what I experienced before in fast paced western societies such as my previous home Canada, which is still one of my favourite countries to live, but for other reasons.
“You are still in Colombia?” My friends are asking.
“Yes and I enjoy it so why should I rush my journey?” I love staying at certain places for a little longer, to dig deeper and get a real feeling for a country and its culture. I meet a lot of backpackers that try to cross as many countries off their bucket list in a short amount of time. To me traveling is about adventuring and about getting to know remote places, that often only locals will know.
Create stories you will remember.
Later on I want to tell stories of all the moments I sat in nature and soaked up these landscapes that made me feel I am the only person in the world. Places, that are so remote that the journey itself is most of the adventure already.
And of course I will tell stories of people, that invited me with their smiling faces to their homes and let me be part of their daily lives: Sharing trucks with 21 Colombians on bumpy desert rides, swimming with locals in the middle of the jungle under waterfalls just while hitchhiking along the coast, celebrating Christmas in this little mountain town where everyone gets together, dancing on the marketplace, all dressed up like other countries only do on carnival, getting invited by local farmers for lunch and mayors for dinner, being taken into the wild where cowboys celebrate all night long and I could go on with this list…
Nevertheless, these experiences were only possible, because I took my time and was open to trust locals while being on the road.
Get lost in the jungles, the mountains or the deserts. Try every single fruit or dish that you can find. Be curious and ask your way throughout your journey.
Working in another country?
So ya, my background is in commercial production, but since Colombia is not known for these industries yet, I thought what else could I do? I love languages and I love kids – so why not teaching English while exploring a country and learning the language. In my opinion this exchange it is a benefit for both sides; it gives you and them at the same time better insight into a culture while speaking a different language. Honestly, I would have loved that when I went to highschool, having a geography, culture and language class all in one – you learn through actual stories.
If you want to do the same get your English Teaching Certificate – TEFL – and knock on the doors of schools and Universities, or make use of certain websites such as http://www.eslcafe.com/
Learn to trust yourself and others.
This is something I learnt early on – If you wanna do something – do it. There will be nobody knocking on your door and hand you opportunities. No, you have to head out there present yourself, make decisions, fail, work harder, start again. There is no wrong or right – you decide and you will learn and grow. Simple as that. Part of it might be downfalls, broken hearts and you will have to get up again. But hey, that’s exactly the beauty of life – it’s full of surprises and it will give you many more wonderful moments later on that are worth the struggle. This is why I think traveling solo is one of the best ways to learn and trust yourself, something everyone should do at least once in their lives.
Don’t forget there are so many people out there that are worse off than you, they have it harder in their lives than all of us, but guess what? They are fighters, these are people that inspire me – the political situations they grew up or their countries of origin has given them challenges in their lives some of us cannot even imagine, they were treated with little respect from people like us just because of their origin or skin color, but once we are visiting their countries doors will be opened and we will be treated with so much warmth. Think about it – life is sometimes unfair, but we can all contribute to make the world a little more human.
And make your own decisions even if people advise you differently.We are able to work almost anywhere in the world these days, learn new languages and volunteer. In the end:
Most of us have more opportunities than any other generation before us.
You just have to let go and try. Trust me you will find yourself stronger and happier as before.
I had a great job and a wonderful life in Canada and I left it, for a new experience, to challenge myself once again to become a better person, because I felt I had to move before falling into a routine.
I guess ever since I was 12 years old people kept on telling me how to live my life, well every time I decided differently, I proved them wrong. Of course I never had a stylish apartment, car or anything like that. But this is also not a lifestyle I fancy, because it is my current life that makes me happy. This being said I never regretted any of my letting go phases as the only thing I won is freedom, friends and more places to call home.
I agree with Regina in every word. She and her life attitude are really inspiring to me and I found it so delightful to have found another like-minded soul that I can call my friend. Of course you can follow her and her adventures on her instagram profile and on her websites: reginaroeder.tumblr.com and regina-roeder.exposure.co
Have a beautiful day,