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. It definitely wasn’t obvious at the time, but that early sense of adventure stayed with me.
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 in 2012 to Bolivia. We lived in the beautiful ‘white city’ of Sucre, we volunteered with local NGOs working with street children and on literacy in rural areas, we made lots of new friends and this blog was born to recount the journey.
A fantastic eighteen months living in Bolivia and travelling through Latin America later, we moved to the Netherlands … taking the spirit of the Andean nation with us and adopting a motto repeated over-and-over by Bolivian officials everywhere: todo es posible, nada es seguro (everything is possible, nothing is certain).
Four and a half years in the Land of Orange came to an end in mid-2018 and we headed east to the German capital, Berlin. A new chapter in a very different sort of city, in a country neither of us have ever spent much time in.
Life in the land of lederhosen and Oktoberfest was surprising and rewarding, and even with the pandemic we had opportunities to explore far and wide through this extraordinary country. We found Berlin hard going at first but, after exactly three years, when it was time to pack up and head off again, we had come to love the city.
In August 2021, we arrived in Brussels, capital of Belgium and home to the European Union. While we’re looking forward to whatever the future holds in our new home, it is hard not to look back on our adventures over the last few years with the rose-tinted spectacles of nostalgia. As LP Hartley wrote, “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there”.
100 thoughts on “About”
I’m a university student working on a class presentation concerning Inka rock shrine art, and was wondering if I could incorporate one of your images as an example of the specific geometric form I’m discussing? https://notesfromcamelidcountry.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/img_9118.jpg
Specifically this one, I think it is a perfect example.
Let me know! Cheers.
Non-profit, student, purely educational, and you’ll be referenced on the poster itself.
Hi Nathan, very happy for you to use the image. Thanks for asking. Paul
Camelids, you ask where does the urge to travel come from. I think sometimes it from where you were and where you went as a child and then as you grow older curiosity of the world is a big driver. And wanting to consider the “human-condition” beyond one’s shores.
Simon Stevin V.V.C. is a belgian non-profit organisation, focussed on fortified heritage. We publish an article on Atlantikwall – La Hague and found an excellent picture of an observation structure on Pinterest. reference = German sea defences World War II – Notes from Camelid Country
Could you give us the permission to publish this picture on the cover of our member magazine Vesting?
If so, please confirm conditions, the copyright formulation as you wish and a picture in high res (>2 mb). My mail address : email@example.com I thank you in advance for your kind cooperation!
Hi Luc, Thanks for your message, I have emailed some images. Regards, Paul
Hi, my name is Bram and we are currently editing the educational book regarding a settlement worldwide. We want to ask your permission to attach this photo in one of our chapter, https://notesfromcamelidcountry.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/img_6980.jpg?w=676 as an example for middle east housing, and we will surely add the original source in our figure list. Thank you in advance 🙂
any concern, kindly sends it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi Bram, no problem, please go ahead and use the photo. All the best, Paul
I’m writing a small piece for my local hobby group newsletter about the delightful unexpected trivia I learn while traveling. I’d like to use one of your images of the Andean rooftop bulls. May I have your permission to do so? Thanks! Carol Bingaman
Thanks for your message. That’s fine, very happy for you to use one of the bull images.
I am glad you didn’t stick to the “Bratwurst and Lederhosen” cliché in your reports about Germany.
Honestly, your articles are some of the best blog posts I have read about my country. You are giving me quite a few ideas for when I will return to Germany this spring/summer.
Thank you, that’s very generous. Our experience living in Berlin for the last few months has been really positive, can’t wait to explore a bit further afield when the weather starts to improve.
hi, i have an istagram page https://www.instagram.com/the_lama_project/
lama in hebrew is “why” and it has Q`s & A`s
i wonder if i can use your photo of llama graffiti in La Paz?
thanx Shira email@example.com and if you agree what shal i write in the credit?
Of course, you’re very welcome to use it. Best wishes, Paul
wow, an impressive Travel itinerary! 🙂 Thanks a lot for sharing the pics, amazing nature everywhere! Keep in touch, following your blog!
Thanks, very much appreciated.
Greetings from Amman!
I found your blog while searching for some images about Bethany and Petra, and I must say that you have captured the most amazing photos and beautiful spirits in each and every one of them!
Thank you so much for sharing!
I would like your permission in using some of your images in a Jordanian travel agency site that I am working on, and will send you the link soonest I am finished 🙂
Thanks in advance!
Jordan was an amazing country to visit, I enjoyed every place that I went to. I’m more than happy for you to use some images, and please let me know when you’ve finished.
We’re interested in using the Herefordshire road sign photo on a promotional video for Salop and Herefordshire Maths Hub please.
I’d be very happy for you to use the photo. If you can use the version on the website please do, if you need me to send the original it will take a few days as I’m currently travelling and don’t have access to the original. Thanks.
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.
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.
Thanks Barry, much appreciated. We’ve often thought Spain would be a good place to live, so enjoying your blog. Good luck with the book.
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
Hi Klaus, I’m reasonably certain that it’s Guanghua Temple in the Houhai district, but would need to dig out my notes to be 100% sure.
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!!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. thanks – Andrew
Hi Andrew, have responded to your message on email. All the best, Paul
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 !
Yes, please use the photos. Good luck with your report.
I’m planning to do a blog post on William Kentridge’s Minerva. I noticed your very beautiful image of this work (this one: https://notesfromcamelidcountry.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/img_74331.jpg). Can I link to your image? And can I also post it on Instagram? (my account: @indrasmusings) I will of course mention you as the source (do you also have an instagram account I can refer to?)
Hi, of course, very happy for you to use this image. It’s a lovely piece of artwork.
Big thanks! :o)
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?” 🙂
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?
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
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?
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.
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?
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
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.
FESTICINE SAN AGUSTIN
Thanks for sharing! I am really enjoying your blog. I like to travel and I find this very inspiring… best of luck!
Thanks, that’s very kind. Wishing you good travels.
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
You’re very welcome to use these pictures. A credit for the blog would be nice.
Let me know if I can be of further help.
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
Hi Claudio, thanks for your message. I’m very happy for you to use some photos, just credit them and the source. Let me know if there’s anything else. Thanks, Paul
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.
Great blog you have here – look forward to following your tales!
Thanks, that’s much appreciated.
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: email@example.com.
Thank you very much for your time.
Hi Andréa, thanks for the request. I’ve emailed you directly.
Warm regards, Paul
Great travels! I really enjoyed your photographs from Ethiopia and Rwanda
Thank you. Just looked at your travels with envy, would love to visit Somaliland.
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 🍀
I think that happens sometimes, I had a similar problem a couple of months ago. Glitches in the machine!
Like your whole perspective. A follow from me having seen a good few interesting articles on your site by now. MM 🍀
I have nominated your blog for the Shine On Award.
More about this nomination is at
Thank you, that is very generous of you (again!). It’s much appreciated. Warm regards, Paul
Well deserved 🙂 All the best for you and your blog!
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.
kat at synkroniciti
Thank you, that is very generous and greatly appreciated – and one of the nicest things anyone has said about the blog. I’ll read through the award details and see what it entails. Wishing you the very best, Paul
You are welcome!
Very inspiring story you have here! I will definitely be spending some time reading about your adventures in a part of the world I have yet to visit :).
Thank you. If you have the opportunity to visit Latin America I’m sure you’ll love it…such beautiful and cultural countries. Best wishes, Paul
Cool! Keep it up!
Thank you, will certainly try!
Thanks for the visit to my site! Continued success…Skip
Thanks, and to you.
Wow, very inspiring. I love your pictures 🙂
Thank you, that’s very kind. I love photography, especially when the landscapes are so beautiful.
You’re welcome and same here 🙂
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
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
Hi, you don’t have to hurry. As the award is for helping bloggers; not for hurrying them 🙂
Thank you for your subscription to my blog!
Hi, good news!
I am nominating your blog for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
The rules of this blog award are at
Wow, thank you. That’s an unexpected but lovely surprise. Will have to work out seven things about myself now.
Thanks for replying. Opsey, chimpanzee then. Can’t really distinguish between chimps and gorilla :=D
In a stamp-sized gravatar it’s impossible to tell the difference! Seen in the wild, both are beautiful animals though.
What a noble work you are doing. Hats off to you. And what made you choose a gorilla as your gravatar?
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.
I have the utmost respect for what you have done , and am ever so slightly envious!
Thanks Scottie, there was a lot of soul searching before we decided to come to Bolivia, but no regrets so far. Love your photography, the shots from Jersey are beautiful. Best, Paul
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.
Thank you Ivon, that is very generous and much appreciated. As we spend more time here in Bolivia I think the really difficult part will be reinserting ourselves back into UK life. I’m enjoying reading your thoughts and work as well, the poem by Bob O’Meally prompted a strong memory for me, but I’ll drop a comment on your site. Best, Paul
Take care Paul.
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.
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.
Thanks Sony, have a good night, it is still fairly early in the morning here and it looks like another beautiful day.
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