Jeff's blog

Who’s Out There Now? Gareth

Written By: jeff

Posted On: February 1st, 2011


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Gareth at the Iguazu Falls in Argentina. Copyright

In this week’s ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Gareth, the man behind Tourist2townie. After helping get one of the US’s largest online college bookstores up and running, Gareth took off to Argentina to immerse himself in the local culture. After a year there, he’s now moved on to Colombia to immerse himself. I had the chance to have a quick coffee with him recently in Bogota and saw his passion for travel and connecting with the locals first-hand. While we were in the middle of a conversation, he ran into a Colombian friend he met in Buenos Aires. He’s got lots of photos and videos of his adventures, always served up with wit and his off-beat humor.

1. So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

My apartment in Envigado. The same neighborhood in Medellin, Colombia where Pablo Escobar grew up.

2. So, explain the meaning of the name of your site? How does it link to your style of travel?

Tourist 2 Townie is really a social experiment to see what it takes to go from not knowing anybody or nothing about an environment and creating a community around you. It’s about traveling deeper and developing relationships with the people that define a place.

When I moved to Buenos Aires in October 2009 I didn’t have a single contact, almost zero knowledge of Spanish and less than $4k to my name. A year later I was being serenaded to by Latin American Idol finalists in their dressing room, sharing Jack Daniels with the lead singer of Catupecu Machu (Argentina’s Foo Fighters) and playing late-night soccer with the kitchen staff of the local pub where I bartended.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Gareth's 2010 Holiday Card from Argentina. Copyright

3. You spent a lot of time at the Polo grounds in Buenos Aires. How did you get turned on to the sport? And, how are your skills?

I took lessons with Polo Elite and I become good friends with the owner (and first class Polo Player himself), Fernando. He took me to the Argentine Open Finals in Palermo where I witnessed one of the greatest Sporting events of my life. La Dolfina won in sudden death overtime with an amazing assist from Adolfo Cambiaso (Polo’s Michael Jordan). After the match we were walking around the Polo grounds and actually ran into La Dolfina celebrating in one of the Champagne-sponsored tents. Fernando got us in and somehow I found myself spraying champagne into a crowd of fans with the world champs. I was hooked ever since.

My skills on the other hand are non-existent. I can hit the ball and ride the horse, but not at the same time.

4. You’ve laid out a to-do list on your site.  Looks like you accomplished your goals in Argentina. What’s on your list for Colombia?

I’m still working on the detailed list but here are a few of my major goals…

  1. Continue to improve my Spanish.
  2. Trade the Gringo shuffle in for the Salsa.
  3. Get a local job to better understand the culture.
  4. Play pick-up Basketball with locals.
  5. Make it to a 2nd date with a Paisa (anybody can have a bad first date). Editor’s note: Paisa is the common nickname used for people from Medellin.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Hanging out with the football fans in Argentina. Copyright

5. You’ve got a lot of videos on your site (good man!).  One of the most popular has to be ¨The Art of the Kiss.¨ (Check it out below this question) How did you adjust to straight man-on-man cheek kissing which is the cultural norm in Argentina?

I embraced it. It only got weird when someone had a beard because it tickled. Also, I tried to avoid direct contact on really hot, sweaty days or else it was like pulling your butt cheeks off a leather couch after the embrace. Nobody wants that.

[pro-player width=’600′ height=’400′ type=’video’][/pro-player]

6. Career break, nomadic adventure, backpacking, how do you characterize your trip?

This is my quest to live life to the absolute fullest and search for my own personal legend.

7. What are some of the secrets to travel that you’ve discovered that you think more people who aren´t traveling should know?

You don’t need to be rich. You don’t need a world of time. And the world isn’t that scary if you’re open to it. Also, a good pair of underwear can change your life.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Gareth Getting His Groove On. Copyright

8. What was your first ¨We´re not in Kansas anymore¨ moment?

It was the taxi from the Airport to the Hostel my first night in Argentina. I sunk down in the back of the cab and just thought to myself “What the hell am I doing here?” I had the same exact feeling when I arrived in Bogota last week.

9. What´s been your most ¨local¨ experience so far?

Riding horses in the Argentine countryside or beers and hotdogs at a local late-night spot with the bar staff from Buller Pub.

10. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Every time I opened my mouth to speak during the first 6-months I was in Argentina.

11. You went to one of my favorite regions of Argentina, the provinces of Salta and Jujuy. What’s your best reason for encouraging others to go there.

I would NOT encourage anyone else to go there. You will hate it. Don’t go North of Mendoza. (I want it to be exactly the same when I return).


 travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

At the Salinas Grandes in Northwest Argentina. Copyright

12. What´s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

Push yourself into uncomfortable moments and conversations. When you’re outside your comfort zone that’s when you learn the most. Also, be yourself at all times and drink lots of water. Everything else is easy.

13. Finally, our lightening round

  1. Best dish you’ve found so far: Locro.
  2. Most exotic food eaten: Llama.
  3. Most breathtaking moment: Looking over the Iguazu Falls at night.
  4. Biggest disappointment: That I can’t bring all my friends & family along.
  5. Most memorable place: Jujuy Region, Argentina
  6. Most memorable person: My amazing roommates in Argentina who made everything possible (Mariangela, Sergio, Tati, Vani and Marcela Pan).
  7. Best thing to have on a long bus ride: Space.
  8. Worst thing to have on a long bus ride: The runs.
  9. Best thing you packed: Kindle.
  10. Dumbest thing you packed: A tuxedo t-shirt for formal events.
  11. Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer: Valparaiso, Chile

You can follow Gareth online at, on Facebook and on Twitter @tourist2townie

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because Life Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world.

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2 Responses to “Who’s Out There Now? Gareth”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lisa Lubin and Jeff Jung, Jeff Jung. Jeff Jung said: Who's Out There Now? It's Gareth of Tourist 2 Townie. I got to meet him as he passed through Bogota recently…. […]

  2. SlaughterHouse says:

    Nice Butt Shot G!

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