Life Is Better When You Give Fewer F***s & Other Lessons I learned in Colombia

Life is Insanely Beautiful when it’s not over-complicated

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it” ~Rosolia de Castro

I’ve learned that life doesn’t need to be so tough, but we sometimes make it that way. If you keep it simple & appreciate what is, you find more beauty in every day. Generally speaking, the people of Medellín don’t seem to be too caught up with money or status or material things. Good coffee, food that is freshly plucked from the Earth & eggs with an orange center, smiles from strangers, dinner with friends, the Eternal Springtime. This is all you need.

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The little things matter.

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Manners, kindness. Multiple times coats or purses fell to the ground, and in less than a moment strangers jumped out of seats to pick them up, to open up doors and pull out chairs. Greetings and salutations and terms of endearment fill up your days with kindness and love. When you look lost, you don’t even have to ask & a stranger will come to help you find your way. Every day was filled with smiles and constant “mucho gusto” makes it nearly impossible to have a bad one. If you’re always referred to as “reina,” “preciosa” and “hermosa” you believe that you really are. When your heart if full of love it’s easy to put it back out into the world & keep the cycle going.

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Moderation is key.

“Living simply makes loving simple.” ~Bell Hooks

Paisas don’t seem to party too hard. They enjoy their Aguardiente but just to the right point. And of course it makes sense. When life isn’t too stressful, you just work hard, and enjoy your nights. People live simply, & life is sweet.

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People will ultimately see you for who you are, not where you are from.

“If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire” ~St. Catherine of Siena

People see you for who you are, no matter what. If you are kind, the world will see and appreciate you for who you are. Colombia is still at the infancy of American tourism so they aren’t sick of us just yet. Plenty of people I met were delighted and proud to share. I found myself surprised that not once during my entire visit did anyone seem frustrated with my poor-to-say-the-least grasp of the Spanish language. I felt welcome the entire stay. The connections I felt were a reminder that we are all more alike than the are different. The bedrocks of life are the same, wherever you are. Thumbs ups, music, (lady wedgies), dancing & flirting are all part of the universal language that remind us of the inherently benevolent core we all share. All these things connect us & the soul shines through.

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 Community makes everyday a little sweeter.

“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
In Medellín, the city closes down the streets on the weekends to exercise together. Many young people I met live together. Families are close & there is a sense of intimacy you can find in every day interactions. This sense of connectedness makes days feel less lonely, even if you are, in fact, alone.

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No matter where you go, you always take a little piece of home with you.

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” ~Joseph Campbell

Even in a world of fútbol, you can find some baseball fans. Even in Medellín, you can find a Hooters, & even on an island, you can find friends with whom to celebrate your biggest victories. 

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Surround yourself with Beauty for better days & nights.

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” ~Osho

The public spaces in much of Colombia and Medellín are clean, and the surroudning landscape a bright beautiful green. Even the hostels are beautiful in Medellín. The countryside is lush and the old buildings in Cartagena are adorned with natural charm. Your mood is elevated & it’s easy to get inspired as your sense of sight is filled up with uniquely diverse surroundings.

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Life is better when you give fewer F***s.

“You could wait for the whole world to invite you to the banquet and the ball. Or you could just show up in your red dress & your headress ready to boogie” ~Tama Kieves 

At the end of every day, and at the end of this life, there’s only a few things that really matter. That you were loved and that you loved others. That you were kind and enjoyed life’s simple pleasures. All the other stuff just doesn’t matter. Whenever I travel it reminds me of just how much I can over-complicate life or worry about things that are in reality just silly things to worry about. If you have food, and shelter, and kind-hearted people around you, life is good. If you have the ability to travel & explore the world, life is incredible. There will always be people who, for whatever reason, bring negativity into your life. Don’t take the bait. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is good. Put on that red dress & boogie.

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“Adios Muchachooosss!”

People Are Good.

“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine

I truly believe the Colombian people have some of the biggest hearts on this planet. I will never forget the sweet man who went completely out of his way to help me get change for the colectivo on the way back to the airport. His kindness was exactly what I needed that morning & the perfect reminder that we are all the same & human beings are inherently good & filled with Love.

I will cherish & hope to see very soon again my new friend Juan, who made me laugh through the election drama and took me out to the countryside for the most amazing lunch of my life, & mi amigo Alberto for my private tour of one of the most beautiful islands I’ve ever seen.

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When something makes you this happy, there’s no choice choice other than to go for it.

“Sometimes sitting on the floor on Motor Avenue having a powdered doughnut & a cup of rum seems like paradise.” ~Billy Bob Thornton 

If the days of my precious life can be filled with a sense of wonder and adventure, I don’t need the finest things, I don’t need to go the conventional route, and I don’t care if anyone thinks I’m crazy. Waking up every day feeling like I may be living a dream is the ultimate reward. Whatever it takes to get there is worth it. I’ll shed modern comforts, expectations, and the safe route in order to live an extraordinary life filled with joy that travel brings.

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I’ll be back.

“Maybe, if you put your disbelief aside, roll up your sleeves, take some risks, and totally go for it, you’ll wake up one day and realize you’re living the kind of life you used to be jealous of.” ~Jen Sincero 

Thankfully, there is already a nice little community of expats in Medellín. Just enough for an American girl like me to feel comfortable when she heads back to the city to get her next dose of that delightful Paisa hospitality and the beautiful scenery. There are multiple Visa options and with such an affordable cost of living, wifi everywhere, and a metro system that takes you absolutely anywhere in the city, there is no reason not to take this next leap to the beautiful city of Medellín.

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