I am excited at the possibilities for this site, yet before I begin to highlight the aspects of Medellin and Colombia which have lead me to start extolling its virtues, I want to share my story up until now.
In November 2007, I resigned from work, left my apartment, belongings, friends and family behind in the Washington, DC area, and flew to Tahiti.
It was the first stop on a 14-month dream trip around the world. I visited 20 countries, and have now spent time in 30 over the course of my life (on every continent except Antarctica).
My savings account waning, I decided to pick one country in South America to visit before going home, and resuming a job and life in New York City.
Over the previous years, the few people I´d spoken to who had traveled through Colombia had great things to say.
Beautiful land and people, safe, and inexpensive. Alternatively, I considered the eternal hotspot of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where costs are high and the tourism industry well developed.
I chose the pass less traveled. The unknown road.
I chose Colombia. After one week couchsurfing in Bogota, I flew to Medellin, and from the moment the plane descended through the clouds, I was stunned by the beauty of the green landscape and mountains before me.
The scenery continued to leave my mouth gaping as I took the shuttle bus from the international airport down the smooth but twisting roads to the city center, which was bustling on a beautiful, warm Sunday afternoon.
I was so ready to jump into the scene, I almost didn´t want to get in a cab to drop my backpack off at a hostel in the upscale El Poblado district.
A little over two weeks later, I decided maybe Medellin is the place I’ve always wanted to live but didn´t know it.
Due to its unique geography, the city has a reputation for Spring-like weather year round.
The Colombians I´ve met have been friendly, even if they haven´t been able to speak English.
I feel safe getting around on foot during the day, on the metro, and taking cabs at night.
Cultural activities are often free, and when there is a cost, it is a steal by western standards. A great restaurant meal can be had for the cost of a Happy Meal in the States.
A variety of music blasts from stores and bars throughout the city – salsa, merengue, reggaeton, vallenato, tropical pop, and electronic to name a few.
The locals are amazing dancers, and the nightlife is great. And I haven´t even brought myself to visit the surrounding villages just an hour or two away.
I hope you will join me in discovering The City of the Eternal Spring.
Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay!