I Don’t Do That Podcast (With Ocho)
Most of us don’t know what it’s like to leave our homes for somewhere across the globe. José, however, has been traveling the world since he was 17. Although he loves his home and often returns to visit, he has decided to reside and earn citizenship in a different country, on another continent. In this episode, we learn from his perspective.
Ocho: You’re listening to “I don’t do that, A lifestyle podcast with me, Ocho. I get to talk to lots of different people about all the things that they don’t do, and you get to hear what they say.
[theme music plays]
“na-na-na-I Don’t Do That…You know it’s alright you can ask, but I don’t do that, no, I don’t do that. I don’t do that….”
Ocho: Episode Seven
José: “Every time I find myself in a position of discomfort, or whatever you want to call it, then it’s like ‘oh yeah! I’m traveling. I’m not in the same place that I was before.’ And I like that.
Ocho: Episode 7 is “I Don’t Live In My Home Country” We’re joined in the studio with José who does not live in his home country. José is a radio and podcast host. You can find his show at clandestinoradio.org. He is mid 30s, he identifies his gender as male, and his ethnicity as Andean, from the Andes mountains. José, thank you for being here.
José: Thank you for having me.
Ocho: So in the city where you grew up, and you don’t live in the country where you grew up.
José: Yeah, I used to live in my home country, and my city where I was born and raised. I first left it when I was 17…
Ocho: And what city was that.
José: I’m from La Paz Bolivia. Very high altitude city. Yeah, they say it’s the highest capital of the world, but I correct people because it’s not technically the capital. It’s the seat of the government, and that’s why people think it’s capital:
Ocho: And Bolivia has two Capital Cities, am I right.
José: Right. So, the historical Capital would be Sucre, which is a small City in the South—no one’s ever even heard of it. Ha. But it’s a beautiful city. I’ve been there once. It’s very small and pretty.
Ocho: Uh-huh. And I’m guessing that—I don’t know—are there are other countries that have two national capitals.
José: I think so. Again, some friends, and my son would know better. But I think there’s one or two have a similar issue where they moved the government to a different city later on, and now there’s two or something like that.
Ocho: Right. So you were born in La Paz and you moved to Germany? When did you move.
José: So I was born in La Paz, raised in El Alto, which would be the city next to it—kind of like Minneapolis/Saint Paul—and then, after finishing high school when I was 17 still, I volunteered for a program in Germany. And I spent a year over there, and then after that year I went back to La Paz after college about three years, and then after that I moved to the states.
Ocho: So moving to Germany. Now, you speak? How many languages do you speak? Like, you don’t have to be great at them…:
José: Six or seven. Yeah, something like that.
Ocho: OK. And so did you speak German when you went to Germany, or did you learn it there…:
José: Not really. I studied it there. I took, it was like a month of biweekly classes.
Ocho: Had you had any exposure to the language.
José: Not before.
José: I was intimidated by it. But then I was there, and I was working and I had to learn.
Ocho: And you were 17
José: when I first went yeah. I remember my 18th birthday, I was camping in in a forest in southern Germany. I had I had a beer for the first time while being in Germany, on my birthday.
Ocho: Wow. And is that the Black Forest you hear about.
José: It was actually very close to that area.
Ocho: Wow, that’s a great time to have your first beer, man.
José: No, it wasn’t my first beer; it was my first German beer.
Ocho: Yeah, that’s a great time to have your first German beer. First beer is probably a different story…so you were doing school in Germany for a year? Is that how that worked?
José: No I was working. Doing different jobs, different things, learning.
Ocho: And what is it that brought you here.
José: I went through an organization that I was part of at the time. We can talk about that later.
Ocho: So there’s an organization that sent you to Germany and you work there for a year and then you came back to La Paz, for college.
José: Yeah. For three years. I did one year of communications and journalism, and that’s where I got my first taste of radio. I started volunteering for a radio over there as well, doing news, and then the year after that I decided to join the seminary, because I was very involved in in my church at the time.
Ocho: This was the Catholic Church?
José: Yeah so in the seminary, I studied philosophy for a year, and during that period, I decided that that was not gonna be the path for me.
Ocho: Nothing like philosophy to teach you what you think about things, I suppose.
José: Oh I still love philosophy, reading it and discussing things
Ocho: I still have a Kirkegaard book of yours.
José: He’s one of my favorites! But then I went back to journalism/communications for another year, and then at that point I had the choice of going to visit some friends in Argentina or going to visit some friends in the States, and I decided to come to the States, and 13 years later here we are!
Ocho: Okay, so still back in the states.
José: So, I had roommates from Poland and India and ah,. We had events with girls from Minnesota and right, other states.
Ocho: And how did you know the people in the States?
José: Hmm, I had met people, in Germany, from all over the world. I had roommates from Poland and India and we had events with girls from Minnesota and other states
Ocho: So in my mind, now, that’s where you started being a world citizen because you met people from all over the world, there.
I had met people from all over the world in La Paz, but I would say you’re right because that was my first experience outside of my country. And, I didn’t know that certain things are done differently in other countries. Like, most people who don’t leave their countries don’t think about certain things.
Ocho: What was something that surprised you about Germany.
José: I really like their recycling system, because there was a bin for everything for plastics, for paper for glass. And everything was scheduled, at least at the time when I was there, everything used to be on time, including trains. Now that’s not the case anymore, but but back then I was I was just amazed by the punctuality in general by everybody. And growing up in Bolivia, I always felt out of place in that sense, because I was the one who was punctual always and I would be stood up by my friends regularly, and not just my friends, like everybody. Even official things. I see a lot of that here, too. I think it’s like an American problem, not being punctual you know about things in general.
Ocho: So you see people in the United States not being punctual similar to Bolivians maybe? Not being, I call it “on the clock,” you know? On the grid…I personally like to show up on time for things, and I do a pretty good job at it. But the only reason that I say “I like to” is for other people.
It’s not because I like to…
José: For me. That’s the thing. It’s a sign of respect. In Germany, if you’re five minutes late, that’s that’s disrespectful. People will not wait that long
Ocho: That’s interesting, because I would have thought that the evaluation of the US would be that we’re more on time and more punctual and on the clock. But no.
José: We call it Bolivian time. I call it Bolivian time anyway.
Ocho: You were always more German anyway, like from the time you were growing up you were just always more reliable as far as punctuality is concerned…
José: Yeah, I don’t know if I would call that German but, more square. I guess.
Ocho: Yeah, I remember one time we were driving and there was a sign that said like, “this place” was the “next left” or the next right, and it wasn’t. There was actually like, a driveway before that or something. and you were like “man if we were in Germany, that would actually be the next left.” That sign would be 10 feet over there, or else everyone would just turn into the driveway because that’s what it means.
José: Yeah, that’s something I noticed coming here. And it pissed me off for 4-5 years. Now I’m just over it and just not thinking about it.
Ocho: That’s an interesting thing. That’s probably a different discussion but…so, what else is different from the U.S.? Would you say.
José: So, are we talking about like, Germany, and Bolivia.
Ocho: Germany, Bolivia U.S. And you’ve lived in Australia, for a while? Maybe a couple of years.
José: Well, no, not really, it was more during the pandemic times.
Ocho: Right. It was a visit that got extended.
José: Yes, unplanned. So yeah, that was sort of interesting. But I guess about the states, and more in particular about Minnesota and the Midwest— because I’ve also lived in San Francisco and that doesn’t count—but like over here it’s just the distances for everything, and the lack of public transport. Those are things that…
Ocho: The distances between buildings and…
José: Yeah. Pop up right away. “oh wait why can’t I just like get a bus to North Mankato or Saint Peter?” But no it’s not the case. I mean ,I see that there are more things happening now than 10 years ago, but still we’re miles away from from the public transport in Europe. When I when I first came to the states I had a connecting flight in Miami and I was like “oh I could just stay in Miami and then continue by train all the way to Minnesota” But looking at that possibility, it’s so crazy expensive. It wouldn’t really work.
Ocho:: I’d like to remind listeners who enjoy this podcast that you can make a donation in the amount of your choosing any time at idontdothatpodcast.com/give. In addition to helping the show, membership will give you access to exclusive content. We appreciate you regardless. Back to José
José: The food is huge and in fact that just reminded me of a commercial that there was in Bolivia, they show this guy from Germany eating typical German food, then the next day they show the guy eating typical German food, and it’s the same food, and it’s the same place. And that happens over a period of days, and then and then they show the counterpart which would be: anywhere in South America, like in Bolivia, we have, I don’t know, 40 or 50 typical dishes from different regions, and different ingredients. And you can find any and all of those, including international food in the city. So people are used to just a lot of variety in the food, and tastes, and flavor, and so going to Germany that was an experience similar to to here, where there’s I would say, not less variety, but the varieties are less accessible to most people.
Ocho: Like in Germany, you could get International food, but it’s harder to find it, or it’s more expensive or something:
José: Yeah, or just in general. If you want to eat organically, for example, You have to pay a lot. You have to go to expensive coops, and so on. Whereas, in Bolivia, you never hear the word “organic.” Because we don’t have GMOs. So everything is organic, and, cheap and big and tasty, and people are just used to it.
Ocho: The climate’s got to be better for growing food, right? :
José: Yeah, of course. I mean, depending on where you are right now.
Ocho: I think of Germany…I don’t know, but I think it’s really cold and probably not that not that hospitable to agriculture. I’m not trying to make excuses, but I’m trying to explain maybe what some of the differences are, in my own head. :
José: Yeah, and a lot of it is also commercial and legal and what not. One of those things is the the cocoa leaves. A lot of friends ask me about how that is in Bolivia, because it’s so normal to be in that elevation in to consume and to consume cocoa tea or to chew cocoa leaves. I was just exposed to that from an early age and it’s normal because people use it medicinally.
Ocho: Because it’s a stimulant, right?
José: Well cocaine is.
Ocho: But cocaine is made from cocoa leaves, correct?
José: Right. It’s one of the hundred and some alkaloids that there are that there are. That are good for you. They have different like things, but you don’t really get a high or a rush or anything. Didn’t I give you some some cocoa leaves?
Ocho: If you did, I don’t remember. So it probably was pretty unremarkable. Wasn’t it.
José: It? I feel so bad because I prepared some to bring it and I forgot about it.
Ocho: OK. Some other time.
José: But. That’s the one thing if you go to certain markets, certain streets in La Paz, you see the farmers with huge totes full of kilos of of coca leaves, and you can just buy them by the pound or whatever…
Ocho: This is all very interesting because you know, I think people fight wars over that stuff, you know, but I don’t know exactly what all the fighting is about right necessarily. I’m not really educated on that politically, so yeah.
José: and it really helps with the altitude sickness and that’s why like 99 percent of the country, people have cocoa leaves at home, but yeah you’re right if you if you take that outside of the country, it’s illegal. Bringing it to the states is illegal. I haven’t done that of course. But yeah it’s very interesting to to see how societies go about certain things and vice versa would be the cannabis thing. Living in San Francisco it’s it’s such a normal thing. People go to the dispensary lounges after work. And in Bolivia you can go to jail if you have a joint. It’s it’s quite interesting how the world works.
Ocho: Yeah that is very interesting. A lot of people…their sense of right and wrong gets conflated with what’s legal and so they think cannabis is wrong or whatever. Or the coca leaves like “they should be illegal—that’s why they are.” Because “there’s something wrong with them, with what people do with them, with consuming them…” That is pretty interesting that it just kind of matters where you are in the world.
José: Well I disagree. I don’t think the cocoa leaves should be illegal. But on the same coin I don’t think cannabis or mushrooms should be illegal because those sort of things grow naturally without us doing anything. And they have.
Ocho: Mmm. So how do people see you? Do you know? Because when people see you in Minnesota they do they ask you where are you from? Or do they see you as different like as a non-white person or as a South American person or like….
José: I think here in in the United States, in general, I think I am perceived differently. Obviously I don’t know exactly how people perceive me. But I have a sense of…I don’t know if it’s if it’s some level of intimidation that sometimes people feel by my presence? And I don’t know if it’s because of my height by my looks, but I’ve had all kinds of interactions with people laugh at people asking me where I’m from, or if I speak English. I’ve heard people talking to me in another languages…
Ocho: So you’ve had people assume that you spoke their language. What languages did they think you spoke?
José: Arabic, for example. I’ve had that happen a few times.
Ocho: I can see that, now that you say it. But I never would have thought it, I guess, because I knew from the time I met you, that you’re from Bolivia…
José: I can say hello, but that’s not enough.
José: But it happens obviously more when I when I grow my beard. If I shave it, it happens less. But I don’t know I think it’s funny how sometimes we tend to judge the books by their covers. That’s one of the reasons why I enjoy busking for example. I like to see how people react; There’s people that walk away from me. There’s people that come and chat. There’s one time this lady, she was like 30 or 40 feet away from me and I was just playing guitar, sitting on the ground. And she she gave some money to her kid, and then the kid came to me. As if she was too scared to approach me and she had to send the kid. I love that. So cool.
Ocho: You thought she didn’t want to come say hi, but her kid wasn’t scared…
José: Yeah, and then I had a little chat with the kid and it was really nice.
Ocho: So are you have you gone out busking in a lot of different places?
José: Yeah yeah I like I enjoy busking for the purpose of music because I feel like if somebody has the right to drive their motorcycle, polluting the airwaves with a lot of noise, then maybe I have the right to go play some tunes in the street, you know? And then I like to see those reactions but I’ve I’ve busked in Germany, in Czech Republic, in Australia, in The States, in Bolvia…:
Ocho: You got a favorite place? To busk.
José: That’s a good question. I would say people are more open and welcoming and receptive to that kind of thing in Australia. Even though I didn’t get to do it a lot because of the pandemic. But it was very nicely organized, at least where I was in Melbourne. The city had its own organization in management for buskers and they would give out permits and organize events for the buskers which I thought was really nice. Things like that.
Ocho: Yeah, it almost sounds like, maybe it’s like a party on the street for for buskers or something like that. Like if it’s organized and there are events and whatnot.
José: It can be. I mean, they’re just very organized. They’re not going to let, like, two guitar players be in the same block for example. They’re going to try to help them and find better places and whatnot. I thought that was really cool.
Ocho: So they’ll assign you a spot in Australia.
José: Yeah. And then I’ve had, for example, in San Francisco, I was I was busking in an area that was more touristy, near the Embarcadero, and there was a police officer that came in he said “you can’t play over here and and ask for money” I said “but I’m not asking for money” I didn’t even have a basket or anything, asking for tips. I was just playing, and he said “no you can’t play need a permit” And I said “OK” so I just grab my guitar and went a couple of blocks and then went back. I just kept playing. But it was like it’s it’s interesting to see those things again. As if it was some sort of crime.. :
Ocho: Yeah, no. It’s certainly not a crime.
José: Let’s see what else? I miss the culture of events, whether sports-related, like going to stadium for soccer game. Like the adrenaline and the energy tied to it is a lot of fun. I haven’t experienced that over here.
Ocho: That’s in Bolivia, you’re talking about? I don’t know anything about sports anyway. So here the sports culture is different too.
José: Well, I’m talking specifically about Associated Football.
Ocho: You want to see a soccer game? As we say…
José Right. Over here, t’s not the same.
Ocho: Yeah, I imagine going to see a soccer game or Associated football game and in U.S. is probably pretty lackluster. It’s probably not that exciting.
José: You know I haven’t been to an MLS game. I want to go see the Loons in their new stadium, but I haven’t done that yet. And I don’t know if part of it is the distance, or the ticket prices? But that’s another conversation. The sense of Celebration and party and Bolivia is just general and continuous. Like if you go to a restaurant and they start playing some dance music, you’ll see people stand up and start dancing. Even if it’s not a dance club. And I don’t know…in that sense, it’s more fun in a way, even though not everybody likes that.
Ocho: Yeah, that’s more my vibe too. I don’t know, maybe you’ve noticed, but yeah, I like getting up and dancing and it doesn’t necessarily matter where I’m at, and I’m not showing off, like some people think I’m showing off or whatever.
José: Just enjoying, yeah.
Ocho: It’s because I feel like it. And it’s a great thing to do.
JoséYou would like Bolivia
Ocho: That sounds like a great thing, you know. It makes me want to visit Bolivia. Once again, it’s the distance, and the ticket prices. Betty and I are talking about going to Ecuador because our friend Wayne is living there who, we used to play in a band with him and Eli do you remember that band? Rain Dogs? Wayne and his wife are retired to Ecuador, so we’re talking about going to see him like maybe next winter.
José: Nice. Well, you’ll see the Andes.
Ocho: So did you want to talk about being Andean.
José: Sure. Because I think a lot of people overlook the altitude aspect, and that’s something I tend to forget about as well, but I get reminded of every time I go back. I get just sick from it. And it’s just so hard and I just regret I went back and like “I should have just stayed in Mankato.” Why did I come back to the altitude?
Ocho: It’s that bad, huh? It’s really extreme.
José Not every time.
Ocho: How high up are you.
José: 3,600 meters, which comes to about 13,000 feet above sea level. Yeah so it’s a little hike and your body doesn’t realize it until like the day after you land there. And then just taking a couple of steps gets very tiring. And then you get headaches.
Ocho: It’s an oxygen thing, am my right or…? Air pressure or something. I don’t know…:
José: Yeah, there’s less oxygen in the air because of the pressure. So your body has a harder time processing everything. So it’s just working a little bit harder to keep up.
Ocho: You studied biology. So I assume you know more than I do.
José: Well, so they say. I have a paper that says I know that, but I wouldn’t say I know a lot.
Ocho: Right. And you’ve had experience. That’s that’s more what the show is about. Experience.
José: It didn’t always make me sick, the altitude going back to La Paz, but I remember there was a couple times when I was like, “okay, I’m going to try something completely different. And this time I’m not gonna go hard.” Because I would land there, and that same day, I would be going out and about. So then that one time I decided, “I’m gonna take it easy. I’m going to stay home. I’m not gonna eat like anything, like, from the streets” or whatever, which I love to do.
Ocho: Yeah, that’s a sacrifice.
José: Yeah, yes. So you sacrifice those things. I was just drinking bottled water, and I didn’t get sick. For two days I didn’t eat a proper meal; I was just snacking and drinking water, and then by the third day I think I was over it, and then I went about my business and I was just fine. Not once I feel the altitude effect. But I get it: everybody’s different. Last time I went, in August, I went with my son and he was completely fine, and I was sick for like a week. So everyone’s different.
Ocho: Do you think aging has something to do with it.
José: Aging, lifestyle. I’m sure lots of things.
Ocho: Yeah, I think maybe the highest place I’ve been is probably Denver. And I didn’t get sick, but it’s, a different feeling. It was harder to sing, and harder to like…I don’t know how high Denver is, but…
José: It’s a mile, I think. Okay, well, at the airport, they say Both “mile high city.”
Ocho: Yeah, that ain’t___. That’s only 5,000 feet. The thing is, it’s probably less than a mile, right? They’re just saying it’s a mile to advertise.
José: Yeah, and they’re proud of it.
Ocho: Right, boy.
Ocho: Fun fact, the elevation of city of Denver according to wikipedia is exactly 5,280 feet, or one mile
José: But La Paz is a very chaotic City. if you ever venture over there, just expect chaos to the maximum exponent in terms of traffic, of people, cars, everything.
Ocho: So it’s not Germany. Germany is more regular, I’m thinking. Organized, right.
José: This would be the complete opposite.
Ocho: Complete opposite. Yeah, it’s interesting. That was your first experience. So, the traffic, that is dangerous.
José: If you’re going to go drive? Yes. I would say don’t go drive right away; go watch it. Be a passenger. Hold on to things…but I learned how to drive over there, so when I drive in La Paz it’s always like an adventure, because I feel a little bit of adrenaline, like going back to when I learn how to drive, and then also also just driving and and seeing the different beautiful views, and streets that we have. And I’m not talking in terms of the quality of the roads, right? I’m talking just like, plain views.
Ocho: People, and shops and that kind of thing, or buildings or like…:
José: More like landscapes. There’s a lot of hills in the city, and in different corners of the city you always have like some very unique, cool view. On one side we have the mountain range, so you see the snow peaks, and then on the other side we have the high desert, so it’s like a high land that covers. And so from anywhere in the city you can see really cool landscapes. But because it doesn’t snow in the city, city officials don’t really care about paving the roads or fixing them. I don’t think most roads have been fixed since I left, more than a decade ago. So roads are really really bad. Which, I hope they will do something about it because they’ve they’ve worked on other things. There’s really nice parks, really beautiful areas, but driving can be a pain literally and figuratively .
Ocho: And you’re saying there’s a cultural difference between people who live in the mountains and people live on the coast.
José: Right. And not even in the not even in the coast, because we don’t have a coast in Bolivia, but in the lowland, like if you go to the Amazon basin, on the Bolivian side, which is 60% of the country…completely different culture, different accent, different kinds of music, different foods…so being from the Andes is very unique and there’s a lot of similarities with other Indian countries in South America like Peru, Ecuador…I can hear that in the accents, in the music…:
Ocho: Is it an urban versus rural thing or is it? There are large cities in the lowlands too? Just as many? or more.
José: There are large cities in the lowlands; they can be actually even more developed than La Paz. I’ve heard really…I don’t wanna say “good things,” but things about high development in Santa Cruz for example, which is now a city bigger than La Paz; they have over 3 million people, so it’s growing. But I hate the weather because it’s hot and humid, like Florida.
Ocho: Are there more people there? In the lowlands, in general? Or is it population distributed pretty evenly? :
José: Generally, the population is concentrated around bigger cities. So I would say, La Paz and Santa Cruz would be the biggest cities in the country. East and west. And because of that, there’s rivalries and whatnot.
Ocho: Do you have nicknames for each other? I don’t need to know what they are. We’re not about that on this show.
José: Yes, to say the least. But it’s funny because you see that everywhere.
Ocho: Of course, that’s why I can infer that. Yeah
José: I see it here. It’s like East-West Mankato. It’s midwest and other areas…:
Ocho: And yeah, whatever our neighboring state is, we have something to say about them. I don’t know why.
José: But if you leave the country, and you found each other elsewhere, then you’d be friends. That happens too. When I was in Germany, I was celebrating carnival in in Cologne in and they have a couple holidays and it’s just parades, people having fun, and drinking everywhere. And we saw this group of guys, and the girl had this hat that said “Bolivia” on it. So, we automatically went and started talking to her, right? And they ended up being from the east, from a city called Santa Cruz, and in Bolivia we would have been fighting but we were like, “oh, let’s go get some beers!”:
Yeah, you just be like “oh, you’re from Santa Cruz? All right, naw…”
José: But we were just friends.
Ocho: Yeah, of course.
José: So those are the things that you value, and that you learn when you leave your country or your area. And I’ve seen that in my son too, because when we came back, he was like I really Minnesota. I really like the States. And I’m like “good because if you didn’t go for a trip, then you maybe you wouldn’t value things the same way.” And I think for me there’s also value in the in the sense of being away from your comfort zone. Because when you travel, you realize that that people might do things in a way that’s different than what you were used to. People may say things in a different way, or people may dress in a different way. And I think all of those things add up to the to the tolerance fact because if I’m not exposed to something then I’m obviously going to be more perhaps more protective of my own kind. Or whatever? Of the way I know things. But I think traveling and knowing that there’s a world of possibilities about everything out there…it keeps your mentality open, I think.
Ocho: That does seem exciting to me. Do you feel that excitement, getting out of your comfort zone? :
José: Yes. It is exciting. I’m not as excited about the traveling aspect of it, because you know I’m sick of sitting for hours and having layovers. And I feel guilty about the pollution factor of traveling by airplane and whatnot. But besides all of those things, Every time I find myself in a position of discomfort or whatever you wanna call it, then it’s like “oh yeah that’s right!” like “I’m traveling. I’m not in the same place where I was before.” And it’s it’s a different thing and I like that. And not just about those things that you might be exposed day-to-day but also problems. Because when when you’re traveling there’s so many things that could go wrong on any day, and so you learn how to solve problems. Like you get creative, and a lot of times you’re forced to do that. It’s just part of the deal is traveling, I guess.
Ocho: Yeah I imagine if you have jet lag, and altitude sickness, and you’re encountering all these things that are new to you, that you did not expect, that don’t make, and that maybe you need to make sense out of so you can eat, or find a place to sleep, or get back home or something like that… That’s an adventure, probably in every sense.
José: And even going back to your reality. Because it’s happened to me before, where I go back to wherever my home was, and I’m going back to my my routine, and then I go partying or whatever and I drink, and then I wake up the next day, and it takes me a little while to remember like which country I’m in. Or what language I’m spposed to be talking in. And it’s happened to me once where are I couldn’t remember where I was. And it took me a while. Like “oh, yeah. I’m in Minnesota. I’m speaking English.” It was just weird.
Ocho: That sounds like a good night. Do you think that you could overdo it? Because you feel like you’re in a rut if you don’t get the experience of different places and different people…
José: Overtraveling? No.
Ocho: No. You don’t think so?
José: No, I could just be on the road. Like as a home.
Ocho: Okay but what if there was a schedule that was imposed upon you, where you had to like go here-and-then-here, and every day you’re in a different country, like with the different language…:
José: Well yeah. That would be different. If I’m sticking to someone else’s agenda, I might not enjoy it as well. But yeah, thankfully I’ve been able to travel where I wanted:
Ocho: Just don’t get that record deal where they…:
José: Send you wherever? Well, maybe the first couple of times.
Ocho: Yeah. Do it for a little while. Or maybe get a speaking tour or something. You could talk to a lot of different people, I would think.
José: As long as I don’t have a lot of layovers, I’ll be ok.
Ocho: Yeah. Where do you want to go that you haven’t gone.
José: I want to go to Nepal. For some reason I’m very interested in seeing the Himalayas, experiencing their food and their culture. But I would think that I want to learn a little bit of the language before I go, so that I can have a better experience. So maybe in a few years? Yeah, there I learned some Nepali.
Ocho: I keep somehow encountering Nepali people. Like when I lived in Minneapolis, I ended up in a band with two guys who are Nepali. And then also the Nepali student organization here in town, they had an open mic that I ended up going to. And there’s one guy that I do recording projects with sometimes. So it’s always through music, but that’s how I know everybody. That’s kind of a common theme no matter where you’re from, but it’s interesting—like I never sought to know anything about the place, but now I do. Just because of all the experience I’ve had with people. And it’s very it’s very much in the front of my mind, where I think probably a lot of people in the US are like “where’s that?” But I have a fascination with it now too. And I’ve had a lot of their food…it kind of blows my mind. I don’t know if there’s a lot of Nepali people in Minnesota somehow? or maybe it’s just a coincidence that I’ve had the exposure.
José: Yeah, I’ve had some Nepali friends here when I was in college as well. And they’re always so nice and friendly, and I love that about cultures. That are friendly too.
Ocho: That might be part of it too. You know, just, I suppose people who are friendly, I’d probably be more likely to meet them. That’s more my style. Do you find you have any personality traits that help you? When you’re traveling? Like being friendly or being inquisitive, or curious? Anything like that.
José: I think it helps me that I can be outgoing. I’m not always outgoing, but I can be. And when I travel, it’s it’s useful because if I get lost, then I don’t have a problem approaching anyone. Even even if I kill the language, I’ll attempt to communicate. But I think that’s helpful, and I’m also very empathetic because I notice when when I see other people traveling and they’re confused or lost. And it’s happened a couple times where I approach people and I say “hey you look confused; can I can I help with something?” You know a lot of times, I’m able to help because I’ve been in airports so much, or whatever. But I would say just being outgoing and empathetic helps. I’m also open, and I like meeting people. So I would think that if you’re not outgoing and if you don’t like meeting people, then it might be tougher to enjoy your trip. Like especially if you get in trouble or get lost or something. It might be more stressful. But I would say just be open.
Ocho: Mmm-hmm, are you an extrovert.
José: I think I’m a mix. I can be either one. It depends on the context and how I’m feeling, and how much sleep I have. Things like that.
Ocho: Yeah, I was kind of thinking about tests like that. And personality assessments and stuff. Labels. Your first language is Spanish. And would you call English a second language, or what would you call it? It’s your language that you speak daily now…:
José: People asked me if I think in English or Spanish. And I think it depends, again, on the context. And on other things. But I can I can think in either one. And when I’m having a conversation sometimes in Spanish, I’ll drop some English. And I don’t do it the other way. I think I’ve trained myself to speak English more consistently. But yeah my English spills sometimes.
Ocho: And you do radio in English and Spanish.
José: Yes. And I enjoy that. I’ve thought about doing shows in other languages, and it’s still a possibility for a future project. But so far, I’m not focused on that.
Ocho: Ok, and you are citizens of the United States, yeah?
José I’m dual.
Ocho: Okay dual. Yeah, because I think I was there when that happened. That would have been about nine, ten years ago, something like that.
José: It would have been about 10 years ago yeah.
Ocho: Is there a difference between being a citizen and not.
José: Yeah. Being a resident is what allows you to reside anywhere. And usually residency gives you the right of a resident. But citizenship will give you the rights to vote, which is a rights that I haven’t exploited yet.
Ocho: oh, ok. Get out there, man. :
José: I haven’t even exploited that in Bolivia, but yes I will now.
Ocho: Okay, good, we need well, it’s just like,, it’s the influence everywhere, like, yeah, we’re all people. I don’t know how much difference it makes voting, but I do it.
José: Yeah, it’s, it’s crazy anyway.
Ocho: If anything, it makes a difference that I take a minute to look up the candidates. That’s probably what makes more of a difference in the fact that I actually check a box or whatever. I mean, that in my head now is like a little bit of knowledge about who this person is and what their policies have been and what party they belong to and and maybe where they grew up or…like whatever I learn about them. So like to me that probably makes more of a difference actually than me voting, but I have to do that vote I’m not gonna vote without doing that. I’m not a huge advocate for voting but getting the ballot at home really makes it more possible. Because I get it mailed to me now, and then I sit down and I look up the names real quick. And then I’m like “OK I know who I wanna vote for.” It isn’t like I’m super educated about it, but on I can’t really do that in the box. You know when I go to the place. And you can do it beforehand, but like for some reason, for me, just having a card in front of me, and just looking up real quick…That that to me seems to make the voting process more honest, and more like what it’s supposed to be.
José: and I think sometimes or some places you can also write yourself in. Have you ever done that.
Ocho: I think I wrote in somebody once, like the first time I voted. But I mean, I sort of do it strategically, so I’m not going to vote for someone who doesn’t really have a chance. That’s just how I approach it.
José: Oh, cuz I was going to vote for you.
Ocho: Okay, you can do that. Vote for me for anything. I probably won’t do it, man. I don’t want more work.
José: You have my vote.
Ocho: All right. I’m not going to try to stop you, but I might not take office even if I get elected. So what are other differences between being a resident and being a citizen.
José: I think that’s the only one. and being a resident you have to renew it every so-many years, depending on the country you’re in. And that involves paying fees. And being arrested, or becoming arrested as a tourist vs a citizen involves a lot of money in this country. So in a way I find that not so good. But that’s the world we live in, because they don’t want people to move to have a better life.
Ocho: Is there anything else you want to say? I feel like we’ve covered a lot of ground.
José: Um, anything else I want to say…:
Ocho: I’m happy to talk more. If you got more stuff.
José: I don’t think so. That was fun. Thanks again for having me.
Ocho: Yeah, thanks for being on the show. I’ll talk to you again, if we can set it up.
José: For sure.