This travel blogger interview features Anneliese Delgado of Abroad in Colombia. An expat in South America who looks out for the aunt nobody likes.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
I’m from the United States. I was born in Florida and lived there for 23 years before moving to Colombia.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I live and work in Colombia. I consider myself an immigrant and don’t have any plans on moving back to the United States.
What inspired you to leave your home?
I was working as a radio news anchor in Florida. I loved being a journalist, but the hours were gruesome, the pay was meager and I wasn’t covering the type of stories that I had always dreamed about. I had always wanted to live abroad, so I decided if I didn’t do it then, I never would. So I left my station, gave away all my stuff and arrived in Colombia in January of 2016 with two bags and absolutely no plan.
What countries have you traveled to?
Japan, England, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, The Bahamas, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Peru and Colombia.
What do you miss most about living in your home country?
Besides my family and friends, I miss the beach and being able to drive my own car. I take public transportation now and it’s a nightmare.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
I majored in underwater basket weaving in college, which turned out to be a very useful trade (despite what my mom thought.) I sell my baskets to tourist here in Colombia. I jack up the prices since these babies were made underwater.
But in reality, I work in Colombia as a marketing writer for an online fraud prevention company (not quite as exciting as the basket business.) I am also a freelance writer and manage various social media accounts for a tour company.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
My first international trip was to Japan. I was selected to participate in my hometown’s sister city program when I was 17. As a student ambassador, I learned about Japanese culture, history and famous landmarks during that free three-week trip. It was a wonderful experience and inspired me to not just travel, but travel with the goal of learning more about the people and culture of each destination.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Bogotá, Colombia (where I am currently living) is a little different than I expected. The only pictures I saw of Bogotá before moving were on travel blogs featuring the city’s historic district. The district is charming and lined with beautiful colonial style buildings. However, outside this area, Bogotá looks like many other major cities – a concrete jungle.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
These two dummies tried to rob me and my friend while I was studying abroad in Morocco. I didn’t want to lose my passport, so I fought back and threw rocks at their head. I guess they decided we weren’t worth the trouble because they let us go, but not before slicing my arm with a knife before running off.
My long-term goal is to learn Arabic, return to Morocco, find the guy who cut me and get vengeance. It’s a good thing revenge is a dish best served cold, because Arabic takes forever to learn.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
A flight attendant in Morocco invited me to breakfast with him and his family during Ramadan. I accepted since my layover was 16 hours and the airline lost my luggage. I ended up having a wonderful experience him and his family and chowed down on some delicious traditional Moroccan food. I almost missed my next flight, but my new flight attendant buddy called his coworker and told them to stall on the tarmac until I boarded. I got on the plane with no problems and that’s how I started my study abroad trip.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I wasn’t impressed with New York City. I was only there for a day, so I know I can’t form a valid opinion of a city just from being there for 24 hours, but it just seemed really crowded and dirty to me. I want to go back for a longer visit because I know I wasn’t exposed to all the great aspects of NYC.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
In a canoe, paddling through the rivers of Florida.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
- Score a goal by doing a bicycle kick during a soccer game
- Make out with a dude behind a waterfall
- Become fluent in Spanish
- Do a pull-up
- Go on an African safari
- Be in a rap video (I wouldn’t be the one twerking, I would just be the object of the rapper’s affection.)
These are really random. I need to get some better life goals.
Can you imagine life without travel?
I mean, yeah. But it would be a very boring life.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Probably just yelling out wrong answers while watching Family Feud and eating my weight in cheese.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
My travel blog is Abroad in Colombia. It could also be A Broad in Colombia, too. (I’m the broad in this situation.) It features stories, insight and advice about living in Colombia. Check it out. http://abroadincolombia.com/
When did you begin your website Abroad in Colombia?
I started it in October of 2015. I was living in the United States and working as a radio news anchor, but I knew I wanted to live in South America, so I started the blog before moving down here.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
To support my expensive home décor addiction.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
Colombia is a pretty misunderstood country because of its tumultuous past. I try to portray Colombia how it really is, not how Hollywood depicts it. Moreover, most of my posts are centered on me trying to build this new life in Colombia. I write stories that I think resonate with anyone living abroad. Many of my posts focus on language barriers, cross-cultural dating, battling homesickness and identity.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
You mean besides my well-crafted baskets? I don’t offer any tangle products at the moment, but I do offer my writing, content marketing and social media management experience to anyone looking to grow their online presence.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
“7 Random Reasons I love living in Bogotá, Colombia” drew in a lot of readers. The post was what the title suggests. Some of the reasons included: the pretty mountains that run through this city, quick access to fruit and Colombian men. Here’s the link for the other reasons: http://abroadincolombia.com/2016/05/31/living-bogota-colombia/
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
A tour company called Uncover Colombia sent me on their coffee tour. The tour was outside of Bogotá and it was really nice to get away from the bustling city, see how Colombian coffee is produced and then write about it. Travel and writing is the ideal way to spend a weekend.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Plane. I find airports very exciting because being there usually means an adventure is about to begin. (Being in an airport could also mean you have to pick up your aunt that no one likes because your mom said making her take a taxi would be rude.)
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Don’t let not having anyone travel with stop you from traveling. Ladies, this means you. There is nothing more empowering and rewarding than going somewhere fabulous alone.
What has travel taught you?
Flexibility. I love planning, but sometimes things don’t work out as planned and you have to roll with it.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Don’t have one, although Spirit has cheap prices between Colombia and Florida, you just have to pay for baggage and snacks.
Favourite country? Costa Rica (for vacation), Morocco (for adventure), Colombia (to learn more Spanish)
Favourite city? Sintra, Portugal. The castles are beautiful and the views are breathtaking.
Favourite beach? Fort De Soto in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Favourite food? Tacos
Favourite language? English because that’s the one I don’t sound dumb in.
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://abroadincolombia.com/
Twitter handle? @soyanneliese
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/+AnnelieseDelgado