Two Brauds Abroad is a memoir with travel tips and advice, written by two American friends who chose to take a dynamic departure from the norm.
This book is their story, as chronicled through a year and a half of correspondence. Stephanie De La Garza and Camille Armantrout were living the American Dream, but found themselves longing for more. They both firmly believe life is too short to ignore your dreams. So, Camille and her husband Bob decided to find work abroad and Stephanie soon followed suit with her own adventure.
Seasoned travelers Bob and Camille considered themselves “settled down” after living abroad for much of their married life. However, Africa lured them out of their comfort zone one last time. Camille had always wanted to live in Africa, especially after joining forces with Bob, who grew up in Ghana. After an irresistible job opportunity in Ghana presented itself to Bob, they decided to relocate for a year. Once there, they dealt with the pressures of being the “wealthy” foreigner and a threat to naughty children whose parents threatened to give them away to the Obruni (white man) for misbehaving. Camille learned to take daily power outages and weekly water shortages in stride, and created as much “normal” as possible by sharing a garden with her house mates, gorging on tropical fruit, cultivating expat friendships and sharing her stories with her friend Steph.
Stephanie traveled abroad for over 20 years and longed to make a life in Central America one day. Having only lived in the United States, her time there was coming to a close as she decided to quit her job and sell everything to see what life was like in Costa Rica. The desire to work with wild animals took her to a small town outside of Puerto Viejo where she learned how to care for monkeys, sloths and a variety of other wild creatures. Living by herself in a small casita only a stone’s throw from the beach seemed like it was too good to be true. She also had trials and tribulations with her new found country. Living without comforts of home, the heat, insects and drinking water all played havoc on her body. However, she too made the best of her chosen lifestyle and was able to commiserate with Camille while they both shared stories of their daily lives.
The leap was scary but what they learned along the way made it all worthwhile. Living abroad brought their senses alive with sights, sounds and smells. In a place where changes, challenges and rewards present themselves on a daily basis, they felt more connected to the world around them. Would they change anything about their time abroad? Not in a New York minute!
About the Book
First, a word on what this book is not about. It is not for the casual tourist to be used as a guide book. They don’t review restaurants or places to stay. They don’t make recommendations on the best tour guides or things to do. They are not a Lonely Planet guide, nor would they want to be. This book was written for the serious traveler. More so for the individual who wants to take a stab at living abroad. They don’t sugar coat what it’s like to live in a different country. They typically don’t hang out with expats or secure themselves in gated communities away from the local population. They keep it real and they achieved that by letting you, the reader, into their personal lives.
Two Brauds Abroad is the chronicle of Camille’s move to West Africa and Stephanie’s move to Central America. It is primarily a series of conversations which took place over email. They kept that same format in the belief that people enjoy reading other people’s emails. Not surprisingly, they wanted to think outside the box and strayed from the traditional style of book. Included are powerful photographs, profound realizations, tips on how you too can blaze your own path and advice on getting around in a strange country.
Commiserate with the pair as they share their experiences of huge insects, overwhelming heat, illnesses and cultural challenges. On the flip side, they also get to see amazing things they never would have in their native countries. Beautiful tropical birds, noisy (and cheeky) monkeys, colorful local markets and the most interesting people you’d ever want to meet. A dose of humor is always present, even in their darkest hours.
They hope to encourage, enable and excite the imaginations of many who never thought it was possible to live abroad. They have proven that it can be done and believe life is too short not to. Both brauds discovered that it was cheaper to live abroad without a traditional job than it was to live in the U.S. with a full time job! Get ready to step out of your comfort zone and start building your own plan for the future!