Marcello: Wandering Trader
- Recommended Expat Blogs: Colombia
- Chris: See Colombia Travel
- Michael and Graciela: Michael and Graciela
- Katrin: Cartagena Gringa
- Richard: Richard McColl
- David: Medellin Living
- Courtenay: Barranquilla or Bust
- Karen: Flavors of Bogota
- Naomi: How to Bogota
- Patrick: The Cali Adventurer
- Danielle: No Longer Native
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Colombia, etc.
My name is Marcello Arrambide, I am from the United States, I have been traveling around the world for over 6 years. I have visited over 80 countries and have lived in 12 countries spanning 5 continents. When I first arrived in Colombia it really felt like home. From a person that has been traveling from an early age I always felt compelled to come back to Colombia when I decided to settle down. Now that I am focusing on my business and recently opened a day trading center in Medellin, Colombia, I officially call that my home.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started traveling in 2008 and started blogging about my traveling in 2010. I have been very humbled by the positive reaction I have seen with my blog over time. The home that I purchased in Colombia was featured on the House Hunters International TV Show.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
- Getting kidnapped and shot at in Caracas
- Petting and walking cheetahs in Africa
- 24 travel tips after traveling the world for 5 years
- House Hunters International — I bought a penthouse!
Tell us about the ways your new life in Colombia differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
The style of living in Colombia is extremely high compared to that in the United States. Considering that one can hire a full time chef, maid, and home for pennies on the dollar compared to prices in the United States. My monthly expenses are roughly 500 USD with all of that included (I did purchase the home in cash). One of the great things about living in Medellin specifically is that I am able to live a much higher standard of living on 1/10th of the price. After traveling the world for over 6 years I can say that Medellin is the best place to live year round right now.
One of the things that I find hard getting used to is the formalities in the country. I am a fluent Spanish speaker but being from the United States I am very direct when I am in a conversation with someone. The social aspect of the people in Colombia is something that I definitely have had to get used to.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Colombia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
The bureaucracy is something that I definitely needed to get used to. Other than the fact that things take a little longer and you have to “get to know people first” I would say that I was definitely prepared for life in Colombia after traveling around the world for so long.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I think the best way to talk about this is the previously mentioned post I that I wrote on getting kidnapped and shot at in Venezuela. This post is very satirical and most people have found it hilarious.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Colombia?
- Be patient... things don't work as quickly as they do in the States.
- Adapt... things are done differently in Colombia. Make sure to adapt and try not to go against the grain.
- Observe... to see how others behave so you can integrate into their society.
How is the expat community in Colombia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Currently Medellin is blossoming with all kinds of great entrepreneurial people. I have met a great amount of people that have similar mindsets. While many cities in Asia like Saigon and Chiang Mai are packed with backpackers and many expats that are just getting started with their careers, Medellin seems to be picking up steam with expats that already have thriving businesses. It is great to connect with those kinds of people!
How would you summarize your expat life in Colombia in a single, catchy sentence?
After 6 years of traveling around the world, if I had to choose one place to live year round it would be Medellin.