Speaking Spanish in Spanish speaking countries

This is the first time I’ve been in a country where I’ve been able to speak the local language better than most of them can speak my native language, English. In most places I’ve been, even Ethiopia, they’ve always been the ones speaking the second language. I try to learn at least a few phrases most of the time, but they haven’t usually been needed.

Welcome to South America, Colombia in particular. They don’t speak English here. Even at the hostels, it’s kind of assumed that you speak Spanish. I ask others, in Spanish, if they speak English instead of the other way around, them asking in English if I speak their language.

It’s ironic in some ways. Colombia is country #18 for me. And it’s not like I’ve only been to safe, popular countries. It’s just that, for the most part, the countries I’ve visited have had strong western influences or booming tourist industries.

So here I am, 18 countries into traveling the world, and I’m just now needing to speak a local language. How exciting!

No, it really is. I like not being able to communicate with everyone. I like the challenge of trying to figure out what everyone’s saying. I like feeling like I’m in a foreign country, almost for the first time, again.

This is something new for me. It’s almost like visiting a new country for the first time all over again.