Easter in Bogota

My First Month In Colombia

For around 8 months, I saved up for a trip. I wasn’t 100% certain where I wanted to go, but I was debating between a return to Colombia, the Philippines, or even Korea. In the end; I decided that 3-6 months in South America would be the trip I take this year. My initial plan was 2 months in Colombia, a month in Brazil for the World Cup, and then around 3 months in Argentina. I was even able to utilize some of my favorite blogs to help with the planning process, Flora the Explorer and This Battered Suitcase.

Unfortunately for me, some setbacks were in the cards.

Only five days before I was set to fly to Colombia, I was playing the last indoor football match I would get to play with my friends for a long while. It wasn’t a particularly close game; I had scored and assisted goals, but we were losing 4-2. There was under five minutes remaining in the game and we won a corner. I jogged quickly to grab the ball and take the corner, when I heard a sickening “snap” in my ankle. It sounded like someone took a handful of raw spaghetti and broke it in half. I looked down and realized that the turf had shifted and the outside of my ankle was now the bottom of my foot. Not good.

I hadn’t torn any tendons, but the doctor said that I sprained just about every tendon in my ankle and would be out of business for at least 6 weeks. Unfortunately for me, I was set to fly to Colombia in under a week. Yikes.

I sat on it for a day or two and gave a lot of thought to what I would do next. I decided to delay my trip by 2 weeks in order to give myself a small amount of time to start the healing process. After some unfortunate calls to the two airlines I would be using(American Airlines and Jet Blue); I learned that neither of my flights could be delayed, and it would have cost me additional money to cancel the ticket. Luckily, I had signed up for travel insurance through World Nomads and I am currently working to get a refund through them. They have been extremely helpful with my claim so far.

So I picked up my new flights, rested for 2 weeks, and then flew off to Bogota.

I spent two quick weeks in Bogota before heading to Amaga to volunteer at an Eco Hostel. As a result of my ankle injury, I only ended up spending a week there instead of the six I had planned. The hostel was a 40 minute walk to the town, and a 40 minute walk in the other direction to the school I was volunteering at. I thought all those stories parents/grandparents told about school being “uphill both ways” was a joke, boy was I wrong! The stress of the walk on my ankle set me back at least two weeks as it was swollen every day I was there. So after a week of this, I explained to the woman who ran the hostel that I would have to leave and could no longer volunteer, in an attempt to rest and let my ankle heal up. And just like that I was off to Medellin!

During my first week in Medellin, I quickly realized that the amount of money I would require to actually make the trip down to Brazil for the World Cup was more than I felt comfortable spending. Everything’s price was blown out of proportion as a result of the tournament; 150 USD a night for bunkbeds in a dorm that would normally run 8 USD a night. Plus over 1000 USD simply for transportation down there from Colombia. Its madness. I had also spent more money than expected in the two weeks I was resting my ankle back in Michigan. So I basically have decided to spend the next few months in Colombia, instead of traveling further through South America. This also allows me more time to get a feel for each place I visit, so I am excited.

After a week in Medellin, I contacted a hostel in Santa Marta after they requested volunteer assistance. About a week later, I was stepping off the plane in Santa Marta. My rough plan is to spend the next few weeks here, just working in the hostel, swimming in the ocean, snorkeling, and meeting new people.

Maybe in mid-June, I will head up to Tayrona national park and then back down to Cartagena to check out the old city and everything it has to offer.

Roughly, Before I leave Colombia, I am thinking of returning to Bogota for a bit of a longer stay than my initial two weeks.

And that is that; I honestly have been playing much of this trip by ear. After hearing lots of people say that they were headed to Santa Marta, I looked into it and a few days later; I was here.

I look forward to making some more friends here in Santa Marta since I have so much time! I must make it a goal for the coming week.

Originally published on Restless Reserve.