This was one of my most favourite days of the entire trip.
You know why?
Because it is happening in Colombia.
Yes, that Colombia. The one that every movie and newspaper will tell you that you shouldn’t go to. “You’ll get robbed, kidnapped or sold to a druglord,” we were warned. “Hold on to your children. There is danger around every corner. They will grab your kids/your purse/your bags right from under you.”
I didn’t want to believe them but I had no proof that it wasn’t as it was described so I stayed away. It wasn’t until I met a Colombian woman on a trip years ago who told me about her homeland, that I began to understand. There is crime in Colombia- just as there is crime at home. There are also wonderful people, beautiful cities and hotels so gorgeous they make my eyes water.
The more I talked to people who were from there or had visited, the more I knew the country needed to be on my must-see list.
And since this was the year of seeing as many of those must-sees as possible, we went.
And we fell in love.
We started in Cartagena where we found our way through the streets, ate in fantastic restaurants, hung out on the beach and at our hotel pool and simply enjoyed the spirit of the city.
We ventured out to Old Town and fell in love with the beautiful doors and the funny, friendly people and we ate some more.
We stayed out past dark. We clapped for the dancers and chatted with the street vendors.
We stripped down and climbed the rickety steps in nothing but our swimsuits, handed our cameras to the young men working there and climbed inside.
Once inside, the buoyant mud was a playground. While the young cameramen snapped photo after photo, we laughed and played and felt as free as we ever had. There wasn’t one moment of fear to be had here. We were in it, We might as well enjoy it.
Thirty minutes later we walked back down another set of steps and headed out to the river where we were encouraged to sit underneath the water and allow the women working there to rinse us from head to toe.
It was the best spa treatment I’ve ever had.
And it was an incredible lesson.
Experience is the best teacher. Don’t allow fear to keep you from your adventures. Be open to the possibility of people being even better than you could’ve imagined.
Thank you Colombia for teaching us things that made the weeks and months that followed on our year away even better.
What country are you afraid of?