South America, Here We Come (Yes, We're Still Doing This RTW Thing)

I’ve been writing a lot about past and current travels lately (such as going cross country with strangers, and having my ass kicked by a mountain) you might be forgiven to think that we’re chickening out of our plan to travel around the world and hoping people would forget 🙂

But we finally gave our 3-week notice at our respective jobs last Friday.

Start of our RTW trip
April 18th. Check.

So… yeah, despite what you might think we’re still doing this RTW watchamacallit.

On quitting our jobs and telling our parents

My parents took the news relatively well (not without questions, but much better than I expected). But maybe I shouldn’t have been too surprised?

See, when I was 16, due to political situation at the time in Indonesia, my parents decided to send me to live abroad (alone in Australia — what were they thinking?!).

14 years later, they have definitely become more immune to the distance separating us and my so-called un-Asian behaviour (which they like to blame the ‘Western influence’ for :p ).

But it still did surprise me. Which made me wonder if that they didn’t truly get it. Then again, they thought I already quit my job a long time ago and I didn’t hear a peep about how I’m going to ruin my life.

Parents. They’re so hard to predict sometimes.

Jack’s parents took the news a little harder.

But I’d like to think that they’re still supportive of us (while deeply convinced we’re going to get mugged as soon we step onto Colombian soil, forever ruin our careers, and at the same time ruin their chance of having a bountiful of grandkids in the near future).

On telling our friends and colleagues: Why Colombia?

We're going to Cartagena
We're going to Cartagena -- by picconcito

Up until this week, only a handful of people outside of our families knew of our plan (even fewer knew of the blog). When told of the news they were very supportive and excited for us.

Until the inevitable line of questioning comes:

So, where are you heading out to first?’

Colombia

As soon as we said it, we could see what’s going on inside their heads: images of drug mules, Escobar’s henchmen guarding fields of coca plants, guerillas on the street gunning innocent tourists and passersby.

Disbeliefs and concerns plastered on their faces,

Why the hell Colombia?’ is of course what followed next.

We didn’t choose Colombia to be controversial of course. Everyone I’ve talked to who has been there (and survived!) gushed about how much they loved the country.

And Colombia is visa free for both of us.

And one way ticket costs only 200 bucks ea!

Why not Colombia?

On a side note: would love to thank all of our friends, virtual and non, for the well wishes, offers of hooking us up with friends in South America, offers to store our stuff, and advices. We’re really touched!

On learning Spanish: Been slacking…

'Spanish Without the Fuss'

I’ve been trying to teach myself Spanish. My method is sporadic at best and haphazard at worst 🙂

But I’ve always loved learning new languages so I don’t see it as a chore.

I’ve been slacking off lately due to the many side-projects I’m working on but I’m going to start picking it up again soon.

I love listening to music in Spanish while I’m at work and I’m constantly looking for beginner friendly Spanish singers.

So, if you know of other Spanish singers you think I might enjoy, let me know in the comment section below.

Unfortunately, Jack doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm for learning Spanish.

He knows how to say ‘Dónde está la pizzeria?‘ though as well as “A mi me gusta el queso y la cerveza“, so I guess he’s set in terms of finding things to eat and drink.

On the blog itself: Updates and Changes

I’m slowly doing some changes to the blog such as cleaning up the front page and the sidebar.

Other changes include:
– a new-and-improved “About Us” page
– a “wishlist” page <-- *big hint to friends and relatives
– and a few of minor tweaks here and there.

Do you like the changes? Hate them? Let me know in the comment section below.

*Bonus points if you can point out the changes I did*

It’s crazy

It doesn’t seem like it was a long time ago when arbitrarily decided that 2011 was going to be ‘the year’.

And as of today, ‘THE day’ is a mere 5 weeks away.

It’s crazy, alright.


We would love you to come along with us (virtually and quite literally). Care to follow us along on our journey?

Follow us on @jacknjilltravel
Or on facebook.com/jackandjilltraveltheworld
Or get email updates/subscribe to our RSS feed

Feedback on the new changes? Got favorite Spanish singers or bands you want to share? Words of wisdom? Just want to say ‘Hi’? Leave them on the comment section below.

32 Replies to “South America, Here We Come (Yes, We're Still Doing This RTW Thing)”

  1. I love to read about people going to Colombia-such a great place to visit!!
    You guys are really going to have a great time. I have such great memories from both times I've visited….and I've got a great recommendation for an awesome hostel in Cartagena. Happy travels and I look forward to reading about your Colombian adventures!

  2. Eeeee!!! So exciting =) You're going to have a blast. Re Colombia, I think people who aren't connected to the travelling world really only have their old outdated ideas about the country to rely on. Everyone I speak to who has travelled in SA always wholeheartedly recommends it.

  3. Heya!

    Thanks for stopping my blog. Love what you guys are doing – April 18th is very close, you must be excited! I just came back from 3 months in South America, and absolutely loved it. Are you heading to Argentina and Peru too? Those were probably the stand out countries for me out of the six I visited.

    I'll have to go back for Brazil, Venezuela and Columbia! Keep us updated. xx

  4. Try Juanes – lot's of fun music and you can download all the lyrics to sing along and translate. Also Shakira – an obvious choice but she's Colombian and she does use lots of Colombian slang so will be helpful for your first stop! For online Spanish, check out notesinspanish.com – you can download heaps of podcasts. One of the founders is English and he moved to Spain so he's really easy to understand.

  5. People who have never been to Colombia always ask why, people who have been (like me) are so excited for you to go.

    I know it´s cheesy but listen to Enrique Iglesis, his lyrics and super simple so I usually read them while listening.

    Shakira is a must to listen to in Colombia, she´s a mega star there.

    Emily is right Juliete Venegas is super clear and her lyrics are almost too simple. Also google HTV, it´s the music channel there and there´s a top ten list on the home page.

  6. Yay! How very exciting!!! Things are really picking up now- there's no stopping you! I will contine to follow along. Love it!

  7. I think Colombia is a great country to start your trip – many people (especially PARENTS!) still think of it as a country ruled by drug cartels where you most likely will get kidnapped. However, I've read so many beautiful travel articles and I don't think it's more unsafe than any other South American country. Can't believe we're so close and not going there right now 😉

    1. Thanks, Dani… yeah, it can be hard to shake off that stereotype. Unfortunate. Can't believe you guys are not going there either… you're heading back to Europe, isn't that right?

  8. Seriously, my trip around South America ended in Colombia. The reports before I got there were mixed – 'don't bus at night' – 'the border is scary' – 'the south has hijackings, the north has guerillas'. Others looked knowing and just said 'you'll love it'. And they were right. I was gutted that I basically ran out of time and only had two days there – I could (and will hopefully next year) spend so much longer. From those I've met and talked to, you'll love Bogota (as I did), Cartegena is where my ex-flatmates are this week, Cali is the party down and salsa capital, and Medellin sounds brilliant. Embrace, experience and enjoy!

    1. We've heard many good things about Colombia… and can't wait to see it for ourselves. Hopefully we'll love it too! Thanks for coming by!

  9. I can barely get the word "Mexico" out of my mouth before my mom starts to worry, much less Colombia (where it is exponentially safer due to the cartel issues in MX). We WILL catch up to you guys so be prepared!

  10. I think Colombia sounds amazing, and it is somewhere I'd love to visit!!

    That's so great that you have such a supportive network of friends and family! My friends have been great about this and it's really helped – Especially as my parents have been much less so. My mum spends everyday telling me she doesn't want me to go and worrying and panicking I'm going to get killed and never return!! I don't really tell my parents much of my plans because of this, which is a shame as I actually want them to be really excited and share this adventure with me!

    1. That's unfortunate… but that's what parents do, I guess. Hopefully she'll come around especially after hearing all the good times you're having on the road.

  11. My parents did not freak out either when I told them I was giving up my career to become a holiday rep so I could travel. I remember wondering at the time if they were eager to get rid of me. I had their total support and it really helped.

    1. Sounds like you've got yourself wonderful, supportive parents. I agree, it's very validating to have your parents' support.

  12. I know this is cliche, but Shakira is the best! All her albums come in spanish editions and you can also dance your booty off too!

    1. Oooh, Shakira's a good one! Sometimes she speaks a little fast, but the fact that I can dance to it… big bonus point!

  13. Glad to hear all the support you've gotten from letting your friends and family know your plans! I know I'm excited to read about your travels, so I can't even *begin* to imagine how excited y'all are!

  14. Awesome, it's getting so close!!! So excited for you guys and you will love Colombia. We got/still get the same reactions when we tell our stories about Colombia.

    Here's some good latin music on my playlist at the moment (if you don't have already) – Jarabe de Palo, Cafe Tacuba, Hector Napolitano, Enanitos Verdes.

    The countdown is on and we can't wait to hear all about your adventures. Cheers!

    1. Ooh, thanks for the suggestions on latin music. Thanks for being so supportive and following us along on our journey!

  15. I suggest listening to Juliete Venegas if you aren't already. I like her music, and most of her songs are pretty clear and I think would be good to use to learn Spanish.

    1. Oooh, thanks for the recommendation. Will listen to her songs at work today, I'm hoping I'll like her too. Definitely need more Spanish music in my collection.

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