It’s finally happening.
After what seemed like years (but was actually only about four days), I am preparing to leave my families house in Bonita Springs, Florida and embark on another journey to a country many people are urging me not to go to.
It reminds me of my trip to Russia in 2016, when everyone, their mothers, and their mother’s mothers (or babushkas) begged me not to go to the former Soviet Union, that I would fall victim to bandits or wind up in jail. And after a month in the country, I returned home proud to say none of those things happened. Mainly because I bribed my way out of prison time in Moscow, it was actually quite a close call.
But tomorrow I leave for Colombia, a country that is usually depicted as some sort of cocaine smugglers sandbox filled with weapons, kidnappings, and political strife. Those days, however, are mostly in the past. The last ten years has seen incredible growth in Columbia’s safety, with a peace treaty being signed between the government and the warring left wing guerrilla movements. The President, Juan Manuel Santos, was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
With peaces come more opportunities for tourism, with 2016 bringing over ten percent more tourists than the year before. And in just under thirty six hours, I will be included in the 2017 statistics.
With me I’m bringing a 65L NorthFace Terra Backpack, outfitted with more pockets than a fly fisherman. I’ll have a few pairs of pants, some shorts, my hammock, a random collection of shirts, the book Shantaram (kind of cliched, I know), my Canon t5i, a harmonica (why not?), and my terribly cracked and bent Macbook.
I’ll be traversing across a good portion of the country, from the mountains of Medellin to the sun caked beaches of Cartagena, with some smaller stuff in between. Stay tuned for stories from Bogota, videos, audio, photographs, even some songs maybe, who the hell knows.
The Wandering Minnesotan is about to begin. Hold onto your butts.