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Recently, Spencer and I had the opportunity to visit Bolivia – where Spencer lived for two years serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Spence has been home for almost three years now and has been dying to go back ever since he got back from there. And we finally had the opportunity to go!
We played around with the idea for awhile but were not going to be able to go because at the time I had just had Tatum. A requirement to visit Bolivia included getting the Yellow Fever shot and since I was nursing Tatum, I wasn’t able to get the shot because it’s a “live” vaccination. So we sadly thought we were not able to visit.
Well, funny enough, my milk supply ran out when Tatum was three months old. My friend asked me if we were going to go to Bolivia now that I was done nursing. I brought it up to Spence and he jumped on the idea! So we looked up the cost of everything to go, the requirements, and all the details of having Tatum stay with our families.
And it just worked.
Many of you know from one of my recent posts that I paid off my $19,000 student loan. Check out that post here! Well, awesomely enough, we also had enough money to afford going to Bolivia too! (For those who know me, you know I LOVE organizing and that includes organizing and planning finances).
We booked our flight and hotel through Expedia and it cost about $3,680 in total for the both of us to fly American Airlines round trip to Bolivia and to stay a whole week at the Hampton by Hilton hotel (which, surprisingly, was WAY nicer than any hotel I’ve ever stayed in here in America!)
When we got to Bolivia, it was cheap from then on. To ride a taxi somewhere, it costed about $3. To buy a souvenir, it costed $10 or less. And to eat dinner at a fancy restaurant, it cost about $20! And that was for FANCY food! (And by fancy, I mean Spencer got alligator tail nuggets haha!) But honestly, everything there was very affordable. The most expensive part was the upfront cost before going.
We had a BLAST in Bolivia! Everything there is so green! It was quite a different culture than what we’re used to here in America. There are ZERO rules to driving in Bolivia. Well, actually, there are rules, but no one follows them. And people just build wherever they can fit and throw their trash in these metal baskets, but mainly just on the ground. Everyone there is very friendly and they have the biggest hearts. They give so much even when they have nothing to give. I can’t count how many times a family that Spencer knew from his mission gave me gifts.
I learned just how little money they actually make every day from their jobs. Their jobs pay about $10 A DAY. It got me thinking of how truly blessed we are here in the United States and how much we take it for granted I think. And then it made me want to help them. These families were some of the best families I have ever met in my life. They take you in, even if they just met you, and offer you everything! They are the best hosts! Right when you sit down, they already have a drink waiting for you and even refill it if they see that your drink is even remotely “empty”. All they really drink there are Coca-Cola products because that’s the cheapest available. We drank lots of Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Orange Fanta.
And don’t get me started about their food. They all eat about the same things all the time. This consists of: rice, chicken, plantains (which are actually VERY delicious), lots of breads in different forms, french fries, really chewy meat, more rice, and more chicken. And their portions are HUGE. But even after you’ve finished, they offer you even more! Haha! That just goes to show how generous they really are!
But back to what I was saying about how little they make in a day. I just thought how much it would have helped if we could have given them just $100. That would be TEN days of works for them! That could have helped them so much. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that while we were there, but Spence and I did talk about it our last night there about what we could try and do to help them out just a little. So maybe that’ll be a project for the future! 😉
I had the wonderful opportunity of spending my 23rd birthday in Bolivia with a family Spencer baptized on his mission. They were so much fun and we spent the whole day with them! They bought me a cake, decorated, sang to me, made us lunch, taught me how to make empanadas, and helped me practice my Spanish!
While we were in Bolivia, the weather was pretty much rainy the whole time. The first day there it was super hot and humid, but after that, every day was cold and I’m glad I brought a jacket!
Overall, I’m so happy I was able to experience Bolivia and that Spencer was able to go back and see all the families he had the pleasure of meeting and serving while on his mission. We both were really sad to leave, but also were looking forward to seeing Tatum again. We probably won’t get the opportunity to go again, so it was great that we did it while we could.
I made this video to put all the things I videoed and took pictures of while we were in Bolivia just for fun! Hope you enjoy it!
What questions do you have about traveling? Ask away!