February 7, 2013
It’s a brand new beautiful day in a new chapter of My Crazy Life in Colombia Instead of Peru. Originally, my flight plans were going to take me to Arequipa, Peru. There was a tentative English teaching situation which would help me get a new foothold on the South American continent. The tremendous downside was that they offered pay, but no visa.
Now I am in Bogota surrounded by new friends who have taken me under wing to help me reach my final destination in Ibague. This is my crazy Colombian life!
February 6th – Colombia instead of Peru
I was on my way to Peru, today I am in Colombia. When you live the life of a traveler you must be flexible and open minded, because sometimes other, better opportunities come along and you must be ready at all times to flex with those changes.
It was a combination of timing, flexibility and opportunity that caused me to change my flight in Atlanta, Georgia and come to Colombia instead of Peru.
As I mentioned previously, the Peru situation wasn’t exactly favorable – only something I chose as a stopgap until I could establish myself or move on to greener pastures. On my layover in Atlanta, Georgia I checked my email and discovered an email offering me a full salary, visa and health insurance in Colombia.
I called my mom and explained the situation to her. Without even hesitating she asked me how much I needed and helped me buy a new ticket to Bogota, Colombia. It cost us $250 USD and would leave in only an hour.
Surprisingly enough it was easy to make the switch. I was so worried that my luggage would not make it onto the airplane (because I made the change less than an hour before departure) but miracles happen and when the carousel started spinning on the other side I was thrilled to see my bags come out!!
During my flight over I met Sammy and Cony. I enjoy conversations with other passengers as a way to pass the time on long flights. When I discovered that I was seated alone I was a bit sad because of the long flight. To add insult to injury my iPhone had less than 20% battery power left.
About 30 minutes after reaching altitude an older gentleman asked if he could sit in the aisle seat next to me because his current assignment did not allow him to stretch his long legs sufficiently. I discovered that Sammy is a son of the south – provenance Georgia, who is flying back to Colombia with his wife to visit her family. As we passed the hours talking, he introduced me to Cony and together they insisted that I come with them because she has a sister who lives near the same city that I am traveling to.
It has been an amazing experience! They insisted that it was no problem for me to come stay with them at her sisters apartment in Bogota. Upon discovering that I was struggling with a terrible cough and runny nose they fed and doctored me back to health with honey and fresh orange juice.
There are also these amazing Kleenex you can buy in South America that have like a menthol mint stuff built into them so you breathe a bit clearer afterwards too. Not sure why I never encountered such amazing creations in the USA, maybe its a conspiracy.
Through the whole experience the hospitality and generosity of these people towards a complete stranger was so amazing and unexpected! Today they are taking me to change my money and see a little bit of the area.
Tomorrow we leave for Honda and Saturday Cony’s brother José will bring me to Ibagué.
Without them I would have been all alone in a city of 8 million people and trying to find my way to the bus station not to mention lodging. I am humbled by their kindness, it is a wonderful thing. I knew they would not accept my money but I gave whatever I could, hemp bracelets and a bar of goats milk soap made by a friend.
These are the valuable lessons for Open Minded Travelers to take what comes their way that is dextrous and deft. Travelers can be untrusting and stand-offish, especially on the west coast where I am from.
Experiences like this have taught me that it’s ok to take chances with strangers. Be sure to follow your instincts and choose wisely. You never really know what might happen.
My life in Colombia has started off with a positive kick and I am bursting with excitement and adventure!! Stay tuned as I become acquainted with my new home and prepare to start my English Teaching job in Ibague, Tolima!
It has been a crazy journey, and my current project is a website focused on the Colombian Coffee Axis!