new destinations: Colombia

I've been pretty quiet on my blog the past six months because I didn't have much going on, travel-wise. Well, I should say leisure travel-wise. I used up 75% of my vacation time in the first half of 2018 (going to India and Chile) and then the second half of the year was occupied by a bunch of work-related traveling (including two trips to Charlotte, good eating in Louisville, and a road trip to Richmond).
I've been going a bit stir-crazy lately and my mood has been pretty low because of many things, including the chilly weather (and my low mood was definitely exacerbated by the fact that work has been a real boner-killer this past year). So, to try and cheer myself out of this funk, back in January, I was on Kayak explore trying to figure out what options I had. I saw that there were $300 flights to Ireland so I daydreamed about driving around the countryside learning to navigate the left side of the road and negotiating the gear shift with my left hand. There was a v. reasonably priced flight to South Africa so I thought about going on safari. And I also contemplated going back to Turks & Caicos to catch some rays.

Ultimately I chickened out of booking anything and it worked out because now I'm off to visit my friend L in her home country of Colombia. I say that like it's a surprise even though the title of this post completely spoils the locale.

It was a pretty spontaneous booking. I was on the phone with her just chatting about life and she asked when I was coming to visit (because we'd vaguely discussed a visit for years now) and I asked when would be a good time. She suggested semana santa (holy week) because everyone's off work down there. Later that night, out of pure curiosity, I hopped online and found flights for $660 round trip, direct flights. I texted L and she said that was a really good deal so I just pounced.
And now here we are! I don't think I'll be doing the same amounts of insane planning that I typically do for a trip because hello, I have a free tour guide. However, I plan on really buckling down and practicing my Spanish so I can get to a point where I'm not completely useless; to be fair to myself, I did pretty well in Chile on my own. And I want to just research the country in general. This is something I do for any trip as a way to amp myself up but also it's my way of making sure I respect the culture and ensure I don't make a fool of myself.

I've been practicing Spanish on Duolingo for almost two months now (I'm on a 52-day streak) and I'm hoping to learn enough to be able to communicate v. basically with L's parents. It's not the best way to learn a language for travel; its goal is to actually teach you the language so you need to put in time. However, it's been my goal to become adequate in Spanish for decades now anyway. I just have to try and put in extra effort these remaining weeks so that I can really try and put it to use while I'm abroad. And of course, I need to also put in effort to continue when I get back.
We'll be going to Medellin for a couple of days and I still have loads of research to do on Bogota and any day trips we can take, though, I'm also pretty sure L will have plenty of suggestions.

Again, with the stress of work, I haven't been quite as eager and excited with planning as I usually am. Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly lucky and grateful and full of anticipation for this trip. I'm just such a neurotic freak that me not spending an hour every night doing some kind of planning and research is out of place for me. Instead, I've been planning in little spurts (a few hours each for the past few weekends) and maybe that's better anyway since, like I said, I'm sure L will have some ideas of her own for this trip.

T-minus 24 days!



  1. Awesome!!! Good job on the Duolingo streak! I may dabble in a bit of Portuguese and Spanish to prep for my Camino - I’m 39 days out now and have been neglecting my research but I’m trying to get back on track.
    I’m super jealous - Columbia has been on my mind for some years - the Bourdain episode has sooooo much delicious looking food!

    1. OBRIGADA! Haha, that's all I remember from my Lisbon prep a year and a half ago.
      I'm so excited. I haven't left the country since last JULY. Unacceptable!


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