About

Where does the urge to travel come from? I like to think it started for me when, aged four years old and wearing only inflatable arm bands, my parents failed to notice me floating out into the Mediterranean Sea from a beach in the south of Spain. By the time my absence was noticed I was half way to North Africa (actually only a few hundred metres from the Spanish shore, but family stories tend to get exaggerated over time).

I was promptly returned to shore and given a dressing down. A short while later I was spotted again bobbing out to sea. I may not have known it at the time, but that early sense of adventure would stay with me throughout my life.

So it shouldn’t have been a surprise when this native of Cumbria, long living in London and old enough to know better, packed in his career and moved to Bolivia with only the vaguest idea why. We lived in the beautiful ‘white city’ of Sucre, we volunteered with local NGOs working with street children and literacy in rural areas, we made lots of new friends and this blog was born to recount the adventure.

A fantastic eighteen months living in Bolivia and travelling through Latin America later, a now Bolivianised Cumbrian moves to the Netherlands…taking with him the spirit of the Andean nation, and a motto repeated over-and-over by Bolivian officials everywhere: todo es posible, nada es seguro (everything is possible, nothing is certain).

As LP Hartley wrote, “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there”, and the damp lowlands of the Netherlands couldn’t be further from the soaring Andean peaks of Bolivia.

Life in the land of Orange is just another turning on the journey…welcome to camelids in clogs.

Hoping for more days like this...

Hoping for more days like this…

…and more nights like this.

78 thoughts on “About

  1. Dear Klaus, Greetings from Tahiti! Just a line to thank you for your excellent blog, filled with amazing pictures and clever, funny writings… we are a French-Spanish family of four, who love to spend their money and time visiting the world. Your blog is helping us a lot on planning our next two months in Peru and Bolivia 🙂 Please let us know if you ever visit this side of the world, we’ll be happy to help in return. And good luck for your future plans, wherever they take you!

    • I’m glad you found the blog helpful, and I’m jealous that you will be spending two months in Peru and Bolivia. If you have any questions, please let me know. I would love to visit French Polynesia, maybe one day when I have enough time! Have good travels to Latin America.

  2. Hey Klaus,

    Great blog mate. Love the photos. Found it by searching blogs about Andalusia, doing some research for my next book. Looking forward to reading your blog more. Best of luck.

  3. Hello,
    could you please tell me the name of the temple shown in your Beijing Blog with the caption
    ‘A temple shrine in a hutong, Beijing, China’? That would be very helpful for me.
    Thank you and kind regards, klaus

  4. Hello, I am working on an educational project on Mali for a Canadian govt. department. I would like to use a few of your photos on Mali (gorgeous btw!) in this project. Please contact my email for more information. Great site, great blog, great stuff!!

  5. Hi Paul – nice blog and great photos! I’m working on a publication on refugee returns to towns and cities, including Gisenyi. Would it be possible to use your Gisenyi bus station photo as part of the cover design? If possible, please contact me via email afuys@cwsglobal.org. thanks – Andrew

  6. Hi ! Your blog is very intersting and Your photos share a lot of information. I have to do a project on Mexico and I saw your report on fiesta de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe which helps me. To complete my project, I would like to include some of your photos. Do I have your permission to use them ?
    Thank you for your reply !

  7. Oh, good story about floating out to sea! And hey that motto about “Everything is possible, nothing is certain” … from now on, that shall be my answer to everyone who asks me “You think that’ll work?” 🙂

  8. Thank you Paul.
    One more question is about logistics. Can you hike Cerro Uchumani from Coroico or do you need to have some kind of transport to get you to the trail head?
    And would you recall how many hours/distance is the hike?

    • Hi Helena,
      The walk can be done from the town. From memory, one of the roads leading out of the plaza takes you to the trail, but ask at your hotel they’ll be able to direct you. The distance isn’t huge, but it is pretty much straight up. Sorry, I don’t remember how long it took now.
      All the best, Paul

  9. Thank you Paul!
    Some sources are saying that there are safety issues on Uchulumani hike, did you feel any threat?
    If you were to recommend couple activities/ thigs that are not to be missed to do in Coroico, what would they be?
    Helena

    • Hi Helena,
      It is an isolated walk and the security situation may have changed since I was there. I didn’t feel there was an issue at the time, and in such a small community I’d imagine news of problems would spread fast. Obviously best to check locally. We didn’t really do very much else when we were there, other than relax for a couple of days, and most activities seemed to be based around the outdoors. It is a beautiful place though, with fabulous views over the valley to the Cordillera Real.
      Thanks, Paul

  10. Hi,
    I was reading your post about a hike in Cocoico to Cerro Uchumani.
    How difficult is it to do this hike alone, to find the trail?
    thank you.
    Helena

    • Hi Helena,
      From memory, the trail was easy to find and follow. It seemed regularly used and the path well worn – once I was on it I had no problem staying on it. There are sections where the path goes through wooded areas that are dense and humid, but apart from that the only concern I had was low cloud.
      Good luck and enjoy Coroico, Paul

  11. I visited your blog “NOTESFROMCAMELIDCOUNTRY” and I enjoy all the pics and stories about your trips thorough our countries. To the end of your page you write: “Please get in touch if you would like to use any of the images or blog posts.” Well, can I use a picture about the Tarabuco textile market in the page “Tarabuco, a real Christmas market”: The dolls? The object of the use of this pic is for make a call for a Film Festival in San Agustín, Huila, Colombia. The guest country is Bolivia and I see the pic and then I write to you for the permission of use.
    How can obtain a license of use of this photo? O how can get the copyright for the use in this Festival?
    Thanks for your response.
    Ricardo Báez
    FESTICINE SAN AGUSTIN
    Director

    ricardobaez@gmail.com
    https://www.facebook.com/Kybalyon
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/EL-FARO-CENTRO-CULTURAL/23093219613

  12. Hi Paul,

    I’ve come across several of your images through a variety of image searches. I’m playing with the idea of taking an old audio production “Voices of the Cloud Forest” and turning it into more of a multimedia presentation/ slideshow. Your Orange-bellied Trogon, Black-faced Solitaire, and Emerald Toucanets are interesting, as they all appear as audio…. I’m a school teacher revisiting the cloud forest via cyber, fujichromes, sound recordings and memories. My CD is almost completely out of print, but here’s a link to it http://www.tinkfrog.com/Voices%20of%20the%20Cloud%20Forest.htm

    Thanks,

    Dave Ross

  13. Hi I’m Claudio from Italy, i would like to write a book about a travel in Mali in 1999 and i would like to put some photos but mine are not so good (old quality)…. I like very much your photos. Is possible for me to use some of yours (writing the autor, and the original source)?
    Thank you for the answer

  14. Just stumbled across your blog as I was writing about our recent trip to Bolivia and Peru and am going to link to your post about the ceramic cow roof ornaments in my next post. I love reading all your words–your entries delve deeper than what’s typical in such a refreshing manner.

    • Thank you, that is very kind. The roof ornaments are wonderful. You don’t get them in Bolivia but the moment you cross the border to Peru they are everywhere. I love that the old and the new sit absurdly side-by-side. I’ll be revisiting my recent past by reading you posts.

  15. Hello,

    My name is Andréa Schnell and I am an Archives Researcher at CMJ Productions based in Montréal, QC, Canada. We are a documentary film company that is currently making a travel series that will feature cities with unique architectural installations. We are going to make an episode about La Casa de Botellas, set in Quilmes, Argentina. In order to provide context about the city of Quilmes and the surrounding area, we are wondering if it would be possible to use a couple of the photographs from your blog.

    The photographs in question can be found at this link: https://notesfromcamelidcountry.net/tag/conquistadores/

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. My email address is the following: andrea.schnell@cmjprod.ca.

    Thank you very much for your time.

    Best Regards,

    Andréa Schnell
    https://notesfromcamelidcountry.net/tag/conquistadores/

  16. Not sure happened or what the gremlins have been up to, but my follow on your site (and some others) seems to have disappeared. Back to normal now. Thanks for the like on my own post. MM 🍀

  17. Hi Paul! I’ve given you the One Lovely Blog Award because of your gorgeous images and priceless commentary. I encountered your blog when researching my first theme at Synkroniciti, desert, and was instantly impressed with your elegant and well researched posts. Since then, I find that I come back to posts I have seen before to experience them again and savor them. Good luck in the next phase of your journey! I hope that you will consider this a big thank you and pay it forward to someone who delights you. If you aren’t into this sort of thing, then just know that someone out here admires your work.

    http://synkroniciti.com/2013/07/08/the-very-inspiring-blogger-and-one-lovely-blog-awards/

    Yours,
    kat at synkroniciti

  18. Every time I look at your website I find myself rolling the name of your blog around my tongue and I still can’t figure it out. Could you help me out with an explanation? I’ve got two possible options – “Notes from a camel ID country” or “Notes from a came lid country” – but neither of those makes any sense to me, especially because I didn’t see a single camel when I was in Bolivia (but plenty of llamas!). Unless there is a story behind what is otherwise incomprehensible in these two options? Help a follower out, I’m very curious!

    • I just had a bit of a chuckle about ‘camel ID’, but I suppose its no different to passports for dogs. I’m not sure the truth is very fascinating, but llamas, vicunas and alpacas are all part of the camel or camelid family. They seemed to me to be one of the defining features of the altiplano landscape, so…notes from camelid country was born. Best wishes, Paul

  19. Thank you so much for stopping by and following my blog. I haven’t been to South America yet. The farthest south I’ve been is Mexico. But I hope to change that sometime soon! How adventurous you are, and what a great mission! And what wonderful pictures! I can’t help but follow yours, too. 🙂

    • Mexico is a fabulous country, I haven’t been for a long time but have great memories. If you do head further south sometime, Bolivia is a great place to fall off the map for a while and has some amazing places to visit. Your story is incredible and I love your writing, look forward to reading more. Best, Paul

    • A few years ago I was working in Uganda and I spent some time in the Kibale Forest where they have a chimpanzee research project. The gravatar is from one of the days I spent tracking the chimps. Kibale was an experience like no other.

  20. Thank you for stopping and liking a post today. I am impressed with your decision to just go find a whole new life. It takes considerable courage. I look forward to following your opinions and views and will not be offended.

    Take care,

    Ivon

  21. I would love to hear more about the NGO’s and how you actually did the move. I am feeling a move coming in my near future and Spanish needs to be part of that.

    • The groups we’ve been working with are http://biblioworks.org/, a great organisation set up by former Peacecorps volunteers. It’s a privilege to spend time with the communities where their libraries are based. http://www.condortrekkers.org/ is a not-for-profit that is promoting eco-tourism in the poor communities surrounding Sucre, and has just opened what I think is Bolivia’s first non-profit veggie restaurant to support education in the villages where it takes trekkers. http://inti-revista.org/ works with working children in Sucre, the children contribute to the magazine and sell it in the town – a bit like the Big Issue which we have in the UK – to provide money for the families and children’s education.

      As for moving, the hardest part was the giant leap of faith in ditching our work-a-day lives in London! It was made a lot easier by having people we knew in Sucre to help with accommodation, immigration, local customs, etc. We literally left everything behind except the essentials we thought we’d need – half of which we didn’t. I think the hardest part will be reinserting ourselves back into the UK, but maybe we won’t go back. Right now our options are open and I feel less and less inclined to go back to that life.

  22. It’s always comforting to meet a fellow traveler and blogger more so if as someone as awesome as you. Forgive me if I sound like such a lame fan (chuckles). But I wouldn’t mind.

    Please push on sharing the many wonders of traveling.

    • Hi Sony, thanks again. When we moved to Bolivia I started the blog because I wanted to share more information about this amazing country. I just had a quick look at Stories of Wandering Feet, it’s a very interesting site, will do a bit more exploring there as well. Best, Paul

      • A huge THANKS for that. However, I should really be the one doing that. I just copied and printed some of your blog posts for me to read after office hours (which is later here in the Middle East). Your diction really got me. I believe,reading your travel stories will help me tune my diction as well.

  23. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures, and thoughful descriptions. BTW, those “extinct” vulcan do not look extinct, at all, to me. Part of my childhood (back in the olden days) was spent living near an “extinct” volcano. With geysers and hot springs not so far away. Probably created deep seated non-resolvable insecurities about the use of the English language to coerse youngsters to traipse about on volcanoes———Is that a local brew?—–Granny

    • Sadly not a local brew, that photo was taken in a bar in Stockholm. The local Bolivian brew comes in big plastic buckets and is a fermented corn or millet called chicha. Tastes a bit like cider, well some of the time! I’ll be staying away from volcanos for the foreseeable future, although I did climb one earlier this year! Best, Paul

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