February 7, 2013
It’s a beautiful day in Bogota, Colombia and I am surrounded by my new friends who have taken me under wing to help me reach my destination. This is my crazy life!
Yesterday 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. Surprisingly enough it was very inexpensive to make the switch. I was so worried that my luggage would not make it onto the airplane (because I made the switch less than an hour before departure) but miracles happen and when the carousel started spinning I was thrilled to see my bags come out!!
During my flight over I had met Sammy and Cony. This is where my story becomes exciting. I always relish having conversations with other passengers to pass the time on long flights. So when I discovered that I was seated alone I was a bit sad because of the long flight and I had a low battery on my iPhone. But alas, 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 who was 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 in the same city that I am traveling to.
It has been such an amazing experience! Of course 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 to find my way to the bus station and lodging. I am so 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.
This is the valuable lessons of Open Minded Traveling. Travelers (maybe even Americans too) are too stand off-ish, especially on the west coast where I am from. It is ok to take chances with strangers, just follow your instincts and choose wisely because you never know what will happen. So far my time in Colombia has started off with a good positive kick and I am simply bursting with excitement and adventure!! Stay tuned as I become acquainted with my new home and prepare to start my new English Teaching job as well!