From Arkansas to Buenos Aires: The Road Les Traveled
Hola! I’m Lesley Murphy, the blogger behind The Road Les Traveled. I’m from Fort Smith, Arkansas, graduated from UGA, worked in Atlanta, D.C., LA, and now call Buenos Aires, Argentina my home. I arrived in 2013 with 2 bags and my sub-par Spanish skills, and haven’t looked back since.
1. Why did you move abroad?
Why not?! I’ve always wanted to live overseas. I honestly just thought the right time would never come, and then I realized that you have to make it the right time. You have to drop everything where you are and just go. My boyfriend took a job in Buenos Aires three months before I moved in with him. Best decision I’ve ever made.
2. How do you make a living?
I'm very fortunate to partner with hotels, airlines, tourism boards and brands in order to fund my travels. Additionally, in some cases my relationships and agreements with these brands go beyond my actual stay. I have experience advising brands on social media marketing and online content strategy. I also serve as a freelance journalist on travel and adventure related subjects. I'm sure it looks glamorous on the outside, but I budget and save just like most people do.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
As much as I can! A few times a week I’d say. I’m very close with my family, so thank God for FaceTime video…and FaceTime audio when I’m not looking too sharp.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Buenos Aires?
Being a foreigner who can bring in dollars is a big advantage, because that’s what all the Argentines are after since the dollar is worth more than the peso. Other than that, being able to easily travel around from this huge hub (and having two airports to choose from in the city) is incredibly convenient.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Buenos Aires?
If you need any kind of electronic here, it’s double the price, if you can find it. Also not being able to receive packages in a bummer. If it even makes it to Argentina, you’ll have to go through Custom pains in order to get it into your own two hands.
6. What do you miss most?
Besides my family? Efficiency and fast food, and I don’t mean McDonald’s either (although a chicken biscuit from Chick-Fil-A is the key to my heart). Even in regular establishments (restaurants, cafés, etc.) it may take an entire afternoon to eat lunch. It happened earlier today in fact. 2pm turned into 5:30pm, and I had no idea what happened to my day.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I got a Spanish tutor and a job in a really fun office that allowed me to meet people from all over the world. The marketing table consisted of Americans, Canadians, Brits, Sweds, and Argentines. We were a diverse bunch, until everyone either quit or moved home.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
The slow-paced, laid back lifestyle and mentality of “it’ll get done when it gets done.” If the internet goes out, the IT people will arrive when they can. It may be a few days, but they’ll eventually come…maybe. That and the fact that people don’t go out at night until around 1 or 2am. Lastly, every time I’m on a flight from Argentina, the passengers will clap upon landing, without fail. I can’t help but to laugh. Should I personally thank the Captain each time, too?
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
Ehh…almost everything I’ve ever heard about Argentina is true – they love their red meat and redder wine, they dance the sultry tango quite well, futbol runs deep in their veins, and they love a good protest. I suppose these are more clichés, but they hold true.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
So much lower it’s insane. It makes going back home feel like I’m spending double, and makes visiting London painful (the pound may as well be triple or quadruple the peso.)
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Immerse yourself in the culture, and don’t try to compare everything from back home. It may be worse, it may be better, but it’s important to live in the moment. Continue to travel around. See as much as you can, and don’t get too comfortable in one place for too long. Be very aware of your surroundings.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started The Road Les Traveled last summer when I was tired of seeing travel blogs with sub-par photos. That should be the number one priority in my opinion. In order to show off a destination you’re in, you should take the time to be creative with the angles, to edit and touch them up, to engage with your audience on how they can replicate the same trip. It blows my mind that some bloggers toss this aside. They’re doing it all wrong.
Lesley's blog, The Road Les Traveled
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