Roldanillo, Colombia - Polarsteps
My name is Charles Wiegand, though I prefer my lifelong nickname of Chip. I am from Kennewick, Washington which, when I was born there, was a very small farming town, now it's part of the TriCities metropolitan area. The TriCities are Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, and they sit in the southeastern part of Washington.
My family relocated to Gresham, Oregon, then again to Quincy, Washington, then again to Lynnwood, Washington. Then I relocated to Wenatchee, Washington when I was 18 years old.
After a summer of bicycle touring Oregon and Washington, I settled in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. That was where I met Cheryl and we were married about a year later. We had two sons and raised them there in Mountlake Terrace.
Eventually, Cheryl and I relocated to Tucson, Arizona to escape the dreary cold and wet Seattle area weather. That was in 2006. In 2010 she suffered a massive stroke and passed away within days.
In 2013 I relocated yet again, this time to Barranquilla, Colombia, where I taught English for the next 7+ years. Immediately prior to the start of the quarantine, I met Carolina, but due to the quarantine we never actually dated. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I no longer had English classes so I retired and moved to Roldanillo which is located in the coffee-growing region of the Andes Mountains. Carolina left Barranquilla and came to live with me in Roldanillo. Finally, in 2022 I started thinking it was time to travel and see more of South America. Part of that decision was due to a changing political situation in Colombia, one which was less friendly to ex-pats. I sent Carolina back to Barranquilla as traveling for her would be more difficult due to the need to visit doctors fairly often (she is a cancer survivor). I miss her. We keep in touch and hope to be back together again.
This is my goal: to find a new place to live. So to reach that goal I am traveling most of South America, visiting the countries of Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay, passing through a bit of Brazil, and finally visiting Uruguay. I have a list of towns, about 70 towns, that meet these qualifications: Cities with average day temperatures of 22-28° C (72-83° F) and night temps of 14° C (57° F) and higher; and a population between 28,000-80,000. I analyzed climate and population data of around 700 towns in the above-mentioned countries and then pulled out the ones that meet the previously mentioned criteria, which leaves about 70.
I expect to spend about five or six months on this journey. My focus is on finding a town to make my new home so I won't be visiting many tourist sites. As I go along I will be taking lots of photos of the towns, the neighborhoods, the good and the not-so-good, the parks, and the city centers. I will be posting all of them on my blog/website: wiegand.org
My South America Journey