It’s hard to believe how quickly time flies. It feels like only yesterday when we moved out of our apartment in Los Angeles, CA having made the decision to travel around the world and experience authentic food. It has now been a little over 3 months or 100 days since we left for Argentina in August 2015. We thought we would celebrate this milestone of 100 days with our travel reflections and learnings to date.
Our New Job As Digital Nomads
The transition to a digital nomadic lifestyle has actually been more challenging than we expected. Yes, there is freedom in making your schedule, working from where you want and doing exactly what we want, when we want to. But there are also so many moving parts. The blog posts are only the tip of the iceberg.
Behind the scenes we are gathering content, dealing with website traffic and SEO, making sure the website is maintained, promoting Authentic Food Quest and managing social media (Facebook, Instagram Twitter and Youtube). Running an online business is still new for us. We are continuously educating ourselves and taking training programs. We are also reaching out and building relationships with other bloggers and influencers. All of these efforts take time.
Because we are traveling quite a bit, Claire is also very busy planning the logistics of our travels – where to stay, how to get there, etc. Then once we get to the new location, we are busy adjusting and organizing as well as meeting people and gathering content. We are constantly connected and always on. There is no “day-off” in this new role.
Our Relationship On The Road
We went from having two separate careers to now being together 24/7 and we love it. In the beginning we were both a little nervous about how it be would be being together so much, but we have found that it has actually made us much closer. We love tasting new foods together, meeting new people and discovering new places together for the first time.
One thing that we have learned is how to read and manage each other. Travel can be tiring and hectic. Often we don’t get enough sleep and our eating schedule is off. In cases like this we can get cranky and irritable. We have learned to recognize these moments in each other and we always plan for food, get as much rest as possible and not take anything too personally.
Most importantly, we have felt safe on the road. We have never been harassed or felt threatened about our relationship. This is probably due to the fact that gay marriage or civil unions are recognized in the countries we have visited thus far – Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.
Health on The Road
Staying healthy on the road is a big priority for us. We shared our 5 Tips On How We Stay Healthy in an earlier post and we continue to adhere to the same tips. Amongst these are exercising, sharing meals, getting enough sleep and making our own meals. We are fortunate not to have fallen sick or needed to see a doctor and we hope our good fortune continues.
Rosemary on the other hand had to see a dentist. We were in the North of Argentina and Rosemary chipped her front tooth. Fortunately, we were planning on being in Buenos Aires later that week and through a friend, Rosemary was able to secure a dentist appointment. The dentist was friendly and his office and equipment was like any modern dental office you can expect to find in the U.S.
It is always a little scary having to see a dentist so imagine in another country and in a different language. In Argentina, the care, attention and technology blew Rosemary away. The lesson here is “never judge before you actually experience it”.
Managing Our Finances on The Road
We set a daily budget before leaving the U.S. and it has been difficult to stay within that budget. Overall it had been more expensive than we expected. This has been mostly due to the fact that the majority of our travels so far has been in Argentina. Inflation is high and constantly evolving in Argentina, and as a result, we have found the prices much higher than expected.
Some of our biggest expenses are in the travel category. Argentina is a huge and vast country and the cost of internal travel (driven by inflation) has eaten into our budget. Also, the prices in Argentina for foreigners for things like museums or park entrance fees are sometimes more than quadruple the cost for locals. In destinations like Ushuaia and Patagonia that are more secluded and popular, the prices can be exorbitant.
The way we have been managing our expenses is by sharing homes and apartments with locals through airbnb. We not only get to save money but also connect with the locals. We also shop at the local farmers markets where we get the benefit of an authentic experience as well as cheap and fresh produce. We keep our entertainment costs to the minimum and soak in and appreciate the natural beauty around.
Our Astonished Report
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines Astonished as “affected with sudden and great wonder or surprise.” In our first 100 days, there have been several moments that have individually had each of us astonished. Below, we share some of those moments:
- Rosemary: I HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED and saddened by the global epidemic of obesity. Mcdonald’s and Coca-Cola have their global tentacles wrapped around South America. Sugar is another culprit.
- Claire: I HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED how many French people are traveling through South America. They seem to be the primary travelers here followed closely by Germans and Brazilians.
- Rosemary: I HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED and joyfully reminded of the generosity of humanity. The way strangers have open up their homes and hearts to us, leaves me humbled and makes me want to be a better human being.
- Claire: I HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED at how cars can have a 3rd or 4th life in South America. The mercado libre or free market allows the sale and resale of cars from the 50’s and more.
- Rosemary: I HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED by the visibility of Afro-Latinos. Not expecting to find any, it has been wonderful to see “others” like me in South America.
- Claire: I HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED that regardless of where we live or what country we are from, we see similar behaviors. People connected and looking down on their smartphones all the time – in the streets, in public transportation, in restaurants. Everywhere!
- Rosemary: I HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED by how much knowing French has helped me communicate in Spanish.
- Claire: I HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED at how much the dollar is so valued and recognized as the international currency that can be used anywhere.
- Rosemary: I HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED at how multi-layered the term “American” is. For Latin Americans, anyone living in “America” is an “American.” I learned quickly that America does not equal U.S.A.
- Claire: I HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED to find that regardless of where we live or what country we are from, everyone we’ve met aspires to live more meaningful lives.
The Next 100 Days
Our journey and quest for authentic food continues. We will keep learning and building as we go along. We have started using platforms and tools to automate parts of the business and we will no doubt continue to implement new ways to help us be even more efficient. We are exploring new products and services that we can develop to monetize and fund our travels. Stay connected with us to hear about those ideas soon.
As we continue our travels, we will adopt an even slower pace. This will include visiting fewer places, but staying longer. This will help us manage our finances better and connect with the food, people and place at an even deeper level. At the end of the day, we are having fun. This is an incredible journey and we are fortunate to have seized this opportunity. The one thing that we know for sure is that there is no second chance in life and who knows how we’ll end up. But for us, we live by the motto “life is too short not to be enjoyed fully.”
Rosemary is a writer and culinary explorer. Together with her partner, Claire, they created Authentic Food Quest to inspire people to travel deeper through authentic food. Through food, they believe, people can have more meaningful connections on their travels. Prior to creating Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary worked as a director of strategy in advertising for over 15 years. Take the quiz and find out your Food Traveler Profile.