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!

Most of what's keeping you from what you want - full-time travel, a new business idea, a radical career shift - are your excuses. After one session with Heather, you'll understand which excuses are holding you back the most, how to get them out of the way, and you'll leave with an action plan that helps you set the foundation to pivot into the life you want.

You know you don't like your job, but you can't figure out how to survive without it. Designed for frustrated professionals the program focuses on teaching you the key steps to shifting your work and money mindsets, and giving you the money and work strategies to pursue, leaving you empowered to quit with confidence and see that it really is possible to live happily without a stable job.

Whether traveling full time was your dream before the pandemic, or after, this session will help you understand how to prepare, what you need to know, and how to get your finances in order to make it happen. It's the perfect accompaniment to the "How To Afford The Travel Life" eBook. You'll also get an understanding of both what's great about full-time travel and some of the challenges. You can also discuss planning help, and how to get the most out of your experience.

It's always been essential to understand your money, but if you've lost your job due to the pandemic, now it's even more important that you create financial empowerment. In this session, Heather will work with you to first understand your gaps in managing your money, then she'll help you with the framework on how to ensure you can afford the life you dream of. You'll get tips to save and budget, and also discuss ways to earn money that will shift you out of feeling like a victim of the times, to seeing the opportunities in front of you to begin making money in a different way.

You want to quit and travel full time, but when can you go? This eBook gives you all the formulas you need to calculate when you can quit and afford the travel lifestyle you want, in under and hour.

Thanks to the pandemic, we've all had a chance to ask the question, "what now?" If you've decided it's time to quit your 9-to-5 to travel full time (or take it with you while you live nomadically), this program will help you address the core mindset, money, and planning gaps you have. This is the program that will help you acknowledge and overcome your fears about what's next, figure out how to afford and sustain your travels, and feel confident about planning your adventure. Book your free session to see if you're a fit!

You're finally serious about traveling full time, but you cannot figure out how you'll afford it. Or, you're just curious whether it's really even possible to afford the lifestyle. Bootcamp is for you! We'll go dive deep into savings strategies before you go, how to save on the road, and how to sustain your travels, as well as look at lots of work opportunities if you want to work while you travel! Includes a 3-day build your budget challenge to get you thinking about how to replace dreams with real logical steps to make it happen.

You've dreamed about traveling full time for as long as you can remember, and now you've learned that it's a little more challenging than you thought. Get help getting through the initial shock and changes when you realize you're not on vacation. Learn how to manage those experiences where you meet parts of yourself long forgotten, and create a plan to help you have the best experience with your journey.

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

If you need some tips on getting started, traveling safe, and saving money while traveling full time, go here! 

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.

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.







Costa Rica


New Zealand









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.

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.

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.

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.

%d bloggers like this: