What does a nomad stuck in a house in the middle of Bolivia, with a spouse on bed rest do? Go to the market and listen to the best podcasts ever! If you came to this page only looking for the best podcasts – scroll to the bottom. They are worth the scroll.
DAILY MARKET RUNS
First thing I do is a daily walk to the market. It is only a few blocks away. I take off with my Rachel Kendall tote bag and our Airbnb home marked on Maps.me. We left the USA with this good old tote bag and it has become invaluable. We use it almost every day, a great item for any long-term travel packing list.
On travel days it works great for carrying our water and snack. When we are staying put somewhere it’s so much easier to carry the groceries in it, and then I don’t end up with a plastic bag for each item we purchase. The use of plastic bags though is not completely avoidable here.
LOST IN SUCRE
During the first few walks, I got lost, not surprising. That’s why I marked our place on Maps.me so I could find “home” again. While I was lost I found a great place that sold chicharon and bought it for Trin’s lunch. Unfortunately, despite multiple attempts to locate it, I never did find that place again. A bit sad since he really liked that lunch.
It has really been a change for us to buy food just a little at a time. When we were still employed and had a home in North Carolina, we went grocery shopping as few times as possible. Besides, I really don’t like shopping, except for camping gear.
We used to buy bulk items from Sam’s Club. We purchased eggs by the dozen or two. In the USA buying in bulk was often a better unit price, so we bought large quantities of items even though there was only the two of us.
Our freezer and pantry were full. In fact, when we decided to sell everything and embark on a life of travel, we immediately stopped buying any more food except perishables. I think it was a good six months of only buying fresh vegetables, milk and eggs and just trying to eat up all the food in the house. Yes, a bit ridiculous.
EGGS IN A BAG
Now I buy eggs two at a time, which you can do here no problem. I just name the quantity and the vendor will put them in a little plastic bag. Oh, and milk comes in a bag too. I ask for a liter, the lady dips her measuring instrument into the bin filling it with milk. She then pours it into a plastic bag for the transport home.
We have also found it interesting that smaller quantities often have a better unit price in both Central and South America. Two 200g bags of tomato sauce are cheaper than one 400g. When we first started this journey we really had to get used to this. In fact every country we kept figuring out the unit prices and kept being surprised that smaller quantities had a cheaper unit price.
It took us a few countries to stop being surprised by this. I love it because we really don’t want a large quantity of anything. Extras and leftovers would just be an additional weight that needs to be carried in our backpacks to the next destination. Somehow though, we always seem to have a supply of rice and soy sauce to carry along with us. Priorities!
BEST PLACE FOR A GOOD DEAL ON FRESH FOOD
Shopping in the open market is the best way to get a good deal on food. It is also often where the freshest food can be found. Going to an official supermarket – you know, a building with aisles and shelves full of items – is like shopping at Whole Foods in the USA, it is that much more expensive. But unlike in Whole Foods, the food sits on the shelf a lot longer waiting for a gringo or the small percentage of the upper class to come buy it. Meanwhile, all the locals are buying things in the open markets, the turnover keeping fresh items on their carts.
THE VENDOR WITH A SMILE
On this daily walk, I found a couple of vendors that I have come to really like. I have my favorite fresh vegetable cart and my favorite stall where I buy canned milk and dried goods. My fresh vegetable vendor now recognizes me. She smiles and says hi when I see her somewhere else in town. My dried goods vendor is really patient with me. I still don’t know the Spanish words for everything so I tell her, “Discuple, yo hablo español un poquito,” – Sorry, I only speak a little Spanish. She smiles every time I walk up and always tries to comprehend what I am trying to say.
Maybe you think this is not a big deal for her to smile at a repeat customer, but here, it is. Even though there may be five carts in a row selling exactly the same thing at exactly the same price, it is not uncommon to get ignored or treated like a nuisance when you ask the price of something. I always walk to the next vendor when they do this.
It is not that the people here are unfriendly either. Everyone we personally get to know has been wonderful. I think it is just the cultural facade. Still, even though I don’t think they are doing it to be rude, I go to the next vendor.
SPLURGING ON LUNCH
I also have a favorite lunch stop. So, confession here: I hate cooking. Sure, I used to make and sell wedding cakes – but that was art for me, and baking is different than cooking dinner (IMO). Since Trin is supposed to stay off his foot I have been making breakfast and dinner. But for his lunch, I’ve been splurging on buying his meals from a small restaurant down the street.
The place is a little cement room with a front that rolls up every day like a garage door. All the locals crowd the place around tiny little round tables. I ask for lunch in a bag, yes in a plastic bag. It includes a large portion of rice, some potatoes, and a large portion of whatever meat they are serving that day, usually chicken, sometimes beef. All for $1.45. Yeah, big spender! 🙂
So the market run doesn’t take long. Even on the days that I get lost it is never been longer than three hours. When I do get lost I really try to figure out how to get home without using Maps.me. Sometimes it works. I’ve not gotten lost for a week now 🙂
So, what have I been doing with the rest of my time?
I have to admit this has been a really fun week for me. I’ve been learning all kinds of social marketing techniques and tips and I’ve also spent a fair amount of time listening to podcasts about finance and social media tips. It’s really the numbers I love. Spreadsheets are fun!!!
So which websites am I watching and reading and what are the best podcasts that I listen to? Check out my list below. You might really enjoy them too.
Listening to Financial Tips
- 2 Frugal Dudes: This is really one of my favorite podcasts right now. I’ve been listening to episodes every morning as I make breakfast. Just two down to earth dudes sharing their frugal lifestyle and tips
- The Money & Media podcast: It is put on by a “FinCon” group. They are a group dedicated toward working toward financial independence together.
And because I love a good story
- The Moth: People from all walks of life sharing personal stories, good stories.
- Snap Judgement: Similar to Moth with stories, often with a moral. Like last week was about how unforgiveness impacted people their personal story about it.
Also, another great podcast is Exponent. I’ve actually been listening to them for a while. My friend Jerry who hikes in the North and South Carolina area every chance he gets introduced me to this one. I love how they take apart an issue and really talk about what is going on. They discuss topics like Net Neutrality, so if you really want to know the issue, go check it out. It’s very informative.
Andrew and Pete are also great to follow on Twitter. All of the rest are podcasts that can be found on your podcast app if you have an iPhone or you can google them. Feel free to ping me on facebook if you can’t find one of them or you have a question.
FOCUS ON GOALS AND DIRECTION
No, this is nothing like the “goals and objectives month” in the corporate world. That month that we all spend endless hours reviewing long lists of goals trickled down from the top – the ones we never looked at again until review time and really accomplished nothing? No, not those.
This week has also been a great time to focus on our goals with this blog and make sure we are headed in the right direction. What do we want to give you through this blog – what can we provide. We might be retired but we are not dead! I still love to learn and DO something, contribute something. So much fun.
Oh and I also was asked to join the JimJim’s Reinvention Revolution show for an interview – I’ll be sure to post a link in the blog when the show comes out!
So it has been busy, but a really fun week. There are many more doors of opportunity still to walk through. The more you know, the more opportunities seem to appear. What will you learn today?
Retired from Corporate America at the age of 43 along with her husband Trinity. In 2016 they sold their home to begin a nomadic life of slow travel. Bonnie writes of their experience on the road in each country. Subscribe to follow her stories here.
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