Sunday, January 10, 2016

Colombia


            With the innumerable life changes that I have coming up in the next few weeks, it’s been difficult to put my mind at ease and enjoy this trip for what is should be. My anticipation for what the future holds has left me more anxious than relaxed. This time, I haven’t really been able to turn it off. The ol’ brain that never shuts up. I feel like I’m stuck in a sort of purgatory right now, an in-between world of my past and future self. I haven’t left my old life yet, nor have I arrived at my new place or my new job. But then again, traveling alone always penetrates the experience with a mix of great beauty and harrowing solitude. All of these epic sights and experiences and no one else’s schedule or needs but your own. Beautiful freedom but no one to share the experience with. Do I recommend traveling alone? Absolutely.  You will find strength and ability that you had no idea were inside of you. Use the time to nurture it. At your greatest moments you will feel utter weakness. But your later reflections will fill you with confidence. Would I want to do it every time? Of course not. There is no experience like seeing the world with someone you care for. The best soul medicine you could ever give yourself.
            Colombia tends to get a bad rap, and rightfully so from its past transgressions and turmoil. But things have changed here. Believe it or not, Colombia is now one of the safest places to travel to in South America. IF you stay in the right places (as with any country.) Cocaine, FARC, drug lords, kidnappings, murder, bribery, rebellion, and corruption? Sure, all still here. But it’s also a vibrant, beautiful, welcoming and proud country. And honestly, out of the 12 Latin American countries I’ve visited, I’ve never felt safer or more welcome.
            The mountains are staggering, it’s easy to get around, and the food surprises at every turn. A truly prideful culture exists here, and it is much deserved. The altitude is kicking my ass, but that’s because I live below sea level and I’m a wimp that spends too much time sitting at a desk. I’ve had the best coffee of my life and I’ve finally grown some faith in South American beers. Bogota Beer Company, good job my friends. Maybe the best brewery I’ve found outside of the United States. (Remember that I haven’t been to Europe before you jump my case).  Colombia is also incredibly affordable for people on a budget.
            I didn’t say I wasn’t having fun or taking away from the experience. Colombia was very high up on my list for a long time. And it has surpassed all of my expectations. My regret? No one to learn how to Salsa Dance with. Just remember to learn a little Spanish before you show up.


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