Meet Tara and Karina

Mission statement” has a new meaning for us.
We believe in traveling to experience, rather than just see landmarks or fill a photo album. This blog is the first step toward a new type of travel and culture site that offers video, audio, photo slideshows and databases of hand-picked destinations we deem worth exploring, plus the insider information and personal experiences that make a place come alive. We’re using all the tech toys and online components possible to capture and convey the soul and pulse of a location, and to provide the cultural information that gets you below the surface. Everything we write about, photograph, film, record, recommend or relay we will have personally tried and experienced.

And about us…


Tara: Born July 19, 1988 in Neenah, Wisconsin, a small town that happens to be the source of a large percentage of the world’s manhole covers.

Karina: Born Friday the 13th of May, grew up in East Windsor, NJ. Met Tara at Northwestern University (Medill School of Journalism), where we graduated in 2010, both with degrees in journalism, as well as a degree in Spanish (me) and international studies (Tara).

Work experience

T: The travel/honeymoon section of Brides magazine, Alyssa Norton jewelry, Condé Nast Traveler, The Windy Citizen, Rotary International’s The Rotarian magazine, The Appleton Post-Crescent. (More details here.)

K: BBC Travel, More magazine (through the ASME Internship Program), SELF, MVP|NY, The Chicago Reporter, The Times of Trenton. Also interned at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art in the media relations department.

What now?

T: After New York City swept me off my feet in Spring and Summer of 2009, I made the permanent move and am working as an associate social media strategist at Morpheus Media, a digital marketing and consulting agency.

K: I hopped down to South America and am living in Buenos Aires, doing social media work, freelance writing, exploring and falling in love with the city.

Oh, the places we’ve seen…

T: My dad’s father was paralyzed, so my grandma took all the grandkids on cruises every summer. (Ship decks are much easier on wheelchairs than airplanes and the cobblestone streets of Europe.) She took us everywhere, from Copenhagen to Istanbul to the U.S. Open. My latest trip with Gran was Antarctica in December of 2006. Her latest trip? Papua New Guinea.

K: The biggest culture shock of my life came when I visited China with my parents at age nine to adopt my sister. It was a whirlwind three weeks of floating tea houses, Hong Kong bustle, pungent fish soups, billions of bikes, majestic pagodas, the friendliest and most polite strangers I’ve ever encountered, roller coasters in malls, oriental art and thousands of years of history. That was the trip my parents taught me how to travel.

Languages spoken, and languages to come

T: Spanish (courtesy of a study-abroad stint in Buenos Aires for five months). To come: French, Italian, Mandarin.

K: Spanish, and I’m now beginning Portuguese. Then the plan is French. I’d learn languages forever. In fact, that’s the goal!

Greatest place on Earth

T: Antarctica, hands down. People ask me what there is to see, and the answer is penguins, whales, seals and ice. I had seen ice — I’ve been to Alaska and grew up in Wisconsin. But I had not seen this kind of ice. Whoa.

K: Barcelona. I lived in the city studying abroad for four months and fell completely in love. My time there actually inspired my first legitimate foray into blogging: “Blogcelona.” It was just such a culturally rich and ready-to-share place; it totally took me in. Mi corazón se queda allá!

Best meal ever tasted

T: The greatest meal I’ve ever had was at Wandies Place, a little shack in Soweto, in Johannesburg, South Africa. My dad and his family grew up in Johannesburg and only left in the ’70s, so when my younger sister and I visited for the first time in late 2005, we did the touristy stuff as well. Normally I hate the restaurants at which tourism companies drop busloads of travelers, but this was a hearty exception. Wandies is just two rooms and a kitchen that offered pots of the most savory and tender lamb, beef and chicken stews. My mouth is watering!

K: Oh, I’ve never eaten so well as I did in Barcelona. Domestically, though, I would have to say it’d be my 21st birthday (woo!) dinner at the little owl. It was delicious food in a quintessential West Village/New York City eatery with people I adore. We passed around plates the entire time. Tara was there!

Favorite travel media

T: I drool over every article at, and I also love browsing, the TimeOut guides, LUXE City Guides, everything National Geographic and the New York Times Travel section’s “36 Hours” series. And of course, after working at Condé Nast Traveler, I’m forever loyal.

K: I’m of course a fan of the travel glossies like CNT and National Geographic Traveler; they do amazing work. As for guides, LeCool puts out intoxicating reads that are practically cultural artifacts. I kept mine on me always in Barcelona. I count regional mags in this category, too, since those are the publications that get you in like a local, and New York Magazine is the gold standard. Also, I adore Saveur. To understand a place is to understand its food. (Similarly, can Tara and I take over No Reservations when Anthony Bourdain gives it up?)

Won’t leave home without

T: A notebook, a pen, my Flip Mino HD pocket video camera and my Chicago Transit card.

K: A camera, plus my phone. (Google Maps has saved me a few times.)


Check out Tara’s latest posts here, and Karina’s here. To learn how TKGO came to be, click here. Talk to us at Tara[at] or Karina[at] You can follow our individual adventures on Twitter, too: @TaraKalmanson and @KMartinezCarter!

8 responses to “Meet Tara and Karina

  1. Jennifer Aguirre

    My name is Jennifer and I am a fellow American interning in BA until December. I read your blog and I think it is amazing! I really would love to meet more people in this city. You can shoot me an email if you want! I am interning at the US embassy and I also live in Palermo.

  2. Hi, Jennifer! Thanks so much for getting in touch. I just sent you an email — we’ll have to meet up soon!

  3. hi there- i saw your comment in response to the NY Times’ Frugal Buenos Aires article and started reading your blog. what a great find! i’ve recently quit my job in advertising and will be moving to BA from NYC in early January. i would love to meet up with you as well! i’ll be taking a month-long intensive Spanish class to dust off my Spanish (studied abroad in Spain in college – Salamanca, though, not Barcelona) and then hopefully finding work on a winery. looking forward to hearing back from you!

  4. Hey Lindsey,
    Thanks so much for reading. I would love to get together once you are down in BsAs! Shoot me an email at karina(at) when you arrive and we’ll arrange something. Feel free to email me beforehand, too, if you have any questions about the move. There is a great community of American expats here and the city has so much to offer. I’m certain you’ll love it!
    Nos vemos,

  5. Hi! My name is Kulsoom and I’m going to be studying in Graz, Austria starting February. I came across your blog through a search on Google since I’m keeping a travel blog as well during my stay. You girls are so inspiring and your stories have made me even more excited to travel and record my experiences! Karina, we actually graduated from the same high school! I took Savedoff for journalism as well and was Managing Editor for The Ram Page while Matt and Cass were Editor-in-Chiefs. Sav would mention your name to me all the time, good things of course! Looking forward to hearing from you!

  6. Hi Kulsoom,
    What a lovely coincidence that you, too, are a Ram Page alumna! I am so glad to hear our blog has you even more excited about study abroad. Both Tara and I had such positive study abroad experiences, and I know it will be such a great chance for you to explore, learn and write. Please send me the link (at karina[at] to your blog once you start posting. I look forward to hearing about your adventures!
    Happy travels,

  7. I admire you two girls, wanna meet you soon. We share some space on the gym (Always), maybe someday our lives intersect…

  8. Hi Girls

    Your blog is amazing!!! Congratulations!!!
    I´m from Brazil , but I was living in Buenos Aires 6 years before. Now I just moved to Croatia , actually I´m married with a Croatian.
    We are working here …. my grandmother had a big house and we transformed it in a place to rent.The name is Abuela´s Beach House.
    So if you planned to come to Croatia I would love to have you home and share your experiences!!!

    Congrats one more time for the beautiful blog!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s