Author: Danielle Krautmann

My life in Baños del Inca, Cajamarca, Peru

By Danielle L. Krautmann One month ago, I moved to Baños del Inca, a very small town only 6 km from the “city” of Cajamarca.  My first two weeks were filled with holidays: an amazing Christmas visit with my family and a strange illness that rendered me useless for about ten days.  Finally, I feel like I’m beginning to settle in and learn the lay of the land.  My thoughts so far?  I love it here. Cajamarca is a small city in northern Peru that sits in a valley surrounded by mountains.    Due to a recent mining boom, many Cajamarqueñians say the city is growing faster than its old colonial structure can handle.  Yanacocha, the second largest gold mine in the world is located less than an hour from the city.  To date the Yanacocha mine (not where Charlie works) has produced more than $7 billion worth of gold.  A strong mining presence is felt as you wind your way through the streets of Cajamarca and notice a large population of trucks and stores that sell work boots, safety glasses, and hard hats. Despite Cajamarca and Baños del Inca playing a significant role in Peru’s history (more on this later), the area does not attract much international tourism.  Small, local tour companies offer van trips to nearby ruins, waterfalls, and other incredible features, but these target mostly Peruvians.    This...

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When You’re Strange: Adjusting to Life in a New Town

By Danielle L. Krautmann As my taxi weaves its way through the streets of Cajamarca, Peru, things look different than they did my last visit.  Perhaps it’s because last April, I was a tourist from Lima.  This time I’m here to look at apartments.  I will be moving to Cajamarca in a month. The taxi driver grumbles to himself about the traffic as I look out the window.  I notice that every store on this block sells cleaning supplies.  Brooms, mops, bold colored buckets and dustpans clutter the shop fronts to draw you in and deter you from the next store which sells the exact same items.  The next two blocks are filled with peluquerias (hair salons).  Each store front is covered with out-dated posters of models from the 80’s displaying voluminous hair styles.  I wonder which of these peluquerias I will go to.  Does it make a difference? The next block is where you buy your canned foods with faded labels while the one after is filled with hardware shops.  Is this a weird dream?  What planet am I on?  Why don’t these people just go to a department store?  Finally, as the taxi approaches Hotel de las Americas, I notice every other building on this block sells nothing but cheese and yogurt.  All I can think about is how I will describe this strange phenomenon to friends...

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The grass is greener on the other side?

By Danielle L. Krautmann Have I ever told you how much I love the Jorge Chavez International airport?  Well, I love it so much that I try to arrive early.  If check in goes smoothly I have time to sit outside the security gate to watch Peruvians say goodbye to each other.  Entire families go to the airport with their loved ones to participate in the dramatic parting ritual.  The traveler tearfully makes his or her way through the group, kissing each person, telling them they love them, telling them “cuidate” (take care of yourself), promising to call the...

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Do you travel to complain?

By Danielle L. Krautmann It’s 8am and I am in my best mood, sipping coffee, sitting alone in the open-air lobby of the main lodge writing in my journal.  For almost a month now, I have gone to sleep and dreamed of spending my days walking through tangles of vines, trees taller than my apartment building, watching animals eat other animals, nature unfolding in front of my eyes.  For almost a month, I have woken up in the morning to find that it was not a dream and today I will walk through the forest again.  I allow my thoughts to flow onto the pages of my journal with little attention to spelling, grammar, or whether or not my audience will like it.  My journal is only for me.  So I write this morning’s thoughts… “Dear Journal, I never knew how many different shades of green existed until this past week when I started working on names for them in my head.  When Crayola gets word of this I want to be the first employee who’s job it is to label the colors.  There’s leaf-cutter-ant green, naked-tree green, Mealy-Parrot green, and we can’t forget Orange Cheeked Parrot green, the purest green of them all.  Am considering changing my favorite color from yellow to…” I pause from my writing as a flustered middle-aged woman plops down next to me with...

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The Rainforest of Tambopata National Reserve, Peru

By Danielle L. Krautmann My senses are heightened in the rainforest. Despite being legally blind in my right eye, I can see more clearly than ever before….maybe there’s just more to see.  Something as simple as sunlight illuminating a water droplet on a leaf is a vivid representation of the complexity of nature.  I look up to the trees and can imagine which leaf the drop fell from and how many leaves it rolled off before it landed on this one.  I look at the plant it sits on and hypothesize the path the drop will take to the ground and which of the surrounding plants, trees or vines will be nourished by it. This sense of sight can be heightened further with correct training. Richard, a guide for Rainforest Expeditions (the company I’m working for), who specializes in birds told me how he became so expert at spotting them.  “Practice, Practice, Practice,” he told me.  He began by figuring out how far 20 meters was and practiced spotting birds and other animals.  When he felt good about it, he moved up to 50 meters, then 100 meters.  The other day I went for a nature walk with him and was amazed when he stopped walking, looked around, sniffed once or twice, then pointed directly at the bird or animal without thinking twice.  I want to be able to...

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The GoMad Nomad Travel Mag is an online magazine for independent travelers publishing original travel articles on popular and off-the-beaten-track destinations, volunteering and working opportunities abroad, and practical travel advice on long-term, adventure, alternative, and budget travel.

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