Get to know Amanda Bjorge, one of Knowmad’s Operations Specialists! She loves to experience new cultures and has a passion for South America. Find out which travel memories are Amanda’s favorite, her must-have travel item, and more.
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I am an avid traveler, bit by the wanderlust bug. I started my travels in high school on a band trip to Costa Rica and I haven’t stopped since. While I was there I fell in love with the culture and the Spanish language, and I decided that I wanted to spend my life dedicated to it. I started to study Spanish at Concordia College Moorhead, where I spent the summers of my four years traveling abroad to Europe and South America. In my junior year I spent 6 months living and studying in Cordoba, Argentina. My time in Cordoba formed my adult life and helped me to focus my love for Spanish on South America. After graduating, I continued to travel throughout South America, visiting Peru and Argentina, and later living in Lima, Peru for a while. My passions for the Spanish language and travel helped me to find my way to Knowmad Adventures and begin my journey with this company.
Knowmad’s Fun Fact Countdown
5 Words to describe you? Analytical, passionate, adventurous, honest, and sarcastic.
4 Things you like to do? I love to go on long hikes, camp, canoe, and walk in the rain. Basically anything that is outdoors, you can count me in.
3 Biggest addictions? My biggest addiction has always been travel, and second place would have to be a tie of coffee and Jamba Juice.
2 Favorite places? My favorite places of all time have to be Prague in the Czech Republic, and Mount Fitz Roy in El Chaltén, Argentina.
1 Little-known fact? Oddly enough, I speak more Spanish than I do English daily.
Knowmad’s Travel Countdown
5 South America bucket list destinations? The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Bariloche, Argentina; Atacama, Chile; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Northwest Argentina.
4 Favorite drinks or foods from your travels? Mate. There is a great yerba mate brand from Argentina called Amanda to which I, obviously, am brand loyal. Doner Kebabs in Germany. Empanadas dulces (empanadas with the meat that is flavored with sugar – yum)! And I once had a flaming pizza at a restaurant called Be Happy in Cordoba, Argentina: it had cheese, pineapple (I know, controversial), sugar, and rum that was lit on fire. Best pizza I have ever had, plus it was quite the show.
3 Favorite items from abroad? My mate & bombilla from Cordoba, Argentina. I have a really awesome pair of shoes from Peru with llamas on the side. And I started collecting shot glasses from everywhere I went, starting with my trip in Costa Rica. I thought what I picked out was a cute, small cup (I was wrong). Nevertheless, the tradition is alive to this day, enough so that I now have a shot glass holder for my wall to display them all.
2 Favorite travel memories? When I was traveling through Bavaria, in the south of Germany, I was hiking around one of the many lakes of the area and noticed that there was another trail that led up the side of a mountain. Being the curious person I am, I wanted to know what was at the top of this trail, so I decided to take it. The hike was hard and long up the steep side of a mountain looking down at the sharp drop off, where you would fall if you missed one step. After a few hours of hiking the ground started to flatten out and the view started to open up to a stunning turquoise lake with crystal clear views of the bottom, surrounding by snow-peaked mountains. Not only this, but there was a restaurant at the top where I could sit and enjoy an ice cream to cool down. It was one of the most rewarding hikes I remember to this day.
When I was living in Hawaii I was able to surf and snorkel with turtles. Both were awesome experiences, but if I had to choose I would say that snorkeling, and being surprised by all that nature has to offer, was really amazing.
1 Must-have travel item!
A scarf is the one item that I wear almost daily while I am traveling. It is good for wind, dust, cold, blocking the sun, and protecting from being bit by pesky mosquitos. This all-purpose item is something that I would suffer immensely if I ever forgot.
KNOWMAD’S TRAVEL FACTS
What is the weirdest thing that you have eaten abroad?
I had anticuchos made from cow heart in Peru a lot. They love it and eat it as an appetizer or a street food. It wasn’t bad but it is rather chewy and has a very distinct aftertaste. Also, I tried morcilla (blood sausage) while I was living in Argentina. It is a very common staple in the traditional asado. My host-family gave it to me to try and wouldn’t tell me what it was until after I ate it. Not a bad taste, but the texture — that’s another story.
Window or aisle seat?
Aisle seat for longer flights for more room to move around and easy access to the bathroom. Window seat for any flight less than three hours and during the day so that I can look out and enjoy the views.
What is your favorite thing about traveling?
I love to see the world in a new light every time I leave Minnesota. I always meet new people and live new experiences that open my eyes to a new perspective. It is a humbling experience.
What’s the best piece of travel advice you’ve received?
Be okay when things go wrong. This part of travel always used to leave me in tears. Learning how to see the struggles as part of the journey was a hard lesson, but overall has made my travels more enjoyable. Now, when things don’t turn out as planned, I can laugh it off and see it as an opportunity for a new plan.
Amanda is an Operations Specialist at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to crafting specialized custom, private trips to South America. Amanda has a passion for South America, having lived in both Argentina and Peru. She loves to experience new cultures and travel with a pair of fresh eyes. Read Amanda’s biography and others to learn more about the Knowmad team.