More Thoughts On Colombia – YES!

A country full of wild beauty and amazing diversity of landscape

Colombia, I’ve now discovered for myself, is a fascinating country. It’s so unfortunate that most of us will be too afraid to go because of rumors of violence and drugs, and now the unfortunate events in Venezuela. For a relatively small country, Colombia has amazing diversity. There are plateaus, there are the Andes mountains, and there are superb islands with blues and greens so alluring I dare you to not feel you have to jump in to that water. The zoo in Cali is one of the best ones I’ve ever been to, and a great place to spend at least half a day. 

One of many amazing views of the Andes.

Photo by Heather Markel. Copyright 2019.

In my last post I wrote about my feelings about safety in Colombia. By the end of my stay, I walked alone near dark and felt fine. I also dared to cross the street several times and once used to the driving culture, felt more confident about when and where to dart across safely. In fact, I was beginning to feel so much more comfortable that I would have stayed there longer had I not felt the need to get to Southern Argentina before winter made the temperatures too cold. I realize now that I had so much fear and conditioning about danger in Colombia put upon me by the media and loved ones concerned about my welfare that it took an extra long time for me to let the experience in front of my face have more relevance than all the warnings I had received and read about. I’m sure there is danger, but I am also sure, having seen it first hand, that it’s possible to be ok if you inform yourself of safe places and don’t flaunt valuable items.

“Don’t let the bad reputation of the past be your guide for the present.”

What you’re truly missing out on if you don’t go to Colombia is the diversity. There are these unbelievable scenic views just around the corner. The turns and folds of the Andes create beautiful twists and turns covered with green. You could lose yourself for days or weeks taking in the mountains and, if you’re lucky, some cows grazing on them. (YES I did see some cows, but it was during a car ride and they were too far away to photograph.)

A street food vendor in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Photograph by Heather Markel

Then you can go to a place like Cartagena and find yourself among the most colorful buildings and murals on the wall. San Antonio, in Cali, was a small sample of what was a huge part of Cartagena, and from what I understand, Medellin (pronounced “Med-ay-jin”) as well. Cartagena replaces the rolling mountains with eye-catching artwork and colors and dancing in the streets. The seafood is fresh and some of the most delicious I’ve ever tasted. A man came by on the beach with a cooler full of fresh oysters which he shucked and served right into our hands, wow.

What truly amazed me, though, was that in addition to the most beautiful views of the Andes and the most vivid colors dotting the architecture, Colombia also has some of the most beautiful islands I’ve ever seen. The water in front of us at the Isla de el Rosario was three different colors, each of them so alluring it called to you to swim and enjoy. I ate barracuda for the first time! It was caught earlier that day, shown to us before being cooked, and then served on a platter of deliciousness. Then we were boated off to another island with five other people on it to swim and enjoy the setting sun.

Some quirks of Colombia – they don’t seem to drink black tea. So, if you’re like me and like your morning caffeine in the form of tea, you’ll need to bring your own or buy some in a local supermarket and ask for hot water to go with it. If you pay by credit card you’ll have to specify whether it’s credit or debit and request that the charge be billed “en un compto” – at one time – or whether you want it split over several charges. It’s relatively inexpensive, at least in smaller cities. (Cartagena was closer to New York prices, but easy enough to find budget-friendly food, if not hotels.) Definitely negotiate if you buy anything. I bought a hair band that was 10,000 pesos (roughly $3.25) for 5,000 pesos (roughly $1.50) at a local market. Even in stores if I bought more than one item, I asked for a bundled discount and usually got one. All-in-all, I highly recommend a visit!

Learn about Heather and what set her on her world journey. She also explains why this life is not just for Millenials, it’s for anyone that wants to create a life around what they love most in life. 

Listen to an episode of the video interview series that will inspire you to follow your heart. Whether you want to travel full time or have another calling, this series is for you.

See the amazing people I’ve been meeting on my travels and the fun stories that go along with the meetings.

Check out my travel photos from around the world to see the world from wherever you are.

If you’ve been thinking that there’s got to be  more to life than work, or, you’ve lost your job, and wonder whether now is the time to do something you’re more excited about, this quiz will help you. Answer a few questions and get a free guide to help you know the areas you need to work on, followed up with inspirational and helpful tips to put your dreams into action.

Traveling the world full-time may sound glamorous and exhilirating. (In many ways, it is!) But, it’s not full-time fun. Before you decide to go, take this quiz to make sure you’re ready, and, if not, find out how to bridge the gaps.

This fun quiz helps you understand what your travel personality is, and how to make sure you indulge it when planning your next trip to maximize your enjoyment!

This one is pure fun – test your transcontinental travel trivia knowledge. Hit the button below if you dare take the quiz and see your score! 

If you enjoyed the first quiz, see how you do on the second one! More fun, more tricks, Click the button below to test your knowledge!

If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.

I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.

Africa

Argentina

Brazil

Cambodia

Chile

Costa Rica

France

New Zealand

Peru

Portugal

Scotland

Thailand

Uruguay

Vietnam

 

Want more in-depth information about travel? Trying to figure out how to afford full-time travel (or, doing what you want to do, full-time)? Check out these items!

Looking for a photo or a travel-related item to reconnect with the spirit of travel? Check out this page to see some of my photos and where you can find them as prints and various photo-gifts..

Trying to create a more fulfilling life? Want help with planning out how to make your mark in the world? Check out this page to see how Heather can help you!

1 + 13 =

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Hi, I'm HEATHER.

Sign up to learn how to quit your job to travel the world (or pursue your passion) and why you should if you're over 40!

%d bloggers like this: