I am a stranger in a strange city.
I have arrived in Bogota, Colombia and it is late at night. A taxi driver takes me to my hostel, which is about 30 minutes away in the historical district of the city. I am met by a good-looking man who is the manager and shows me to my room. It is not a typical room for guests, but that of the owner of the hostel – a friend of mine – who is away for the month. It is in the attic of the place and a bit dingy, but it will do. I am not picky – I am enjoying the ride.
The next day I wake up, have some breakfast and proceed to do what I love to do in any new city – walk around and get lost. There is something about letting my feet guide me with no destination in mind that really helps me to get to know the layout of a city or town very quickly.
I walk for miles. The city is busy, sort of dirty but also charming. Artwork is plastered across buildings, adding a unique flavor to the place.
I stop at a restaurant for lunch and order a tamale. It is huge, delicious and at $2, it is quite a deal. I savor the salty, earthy flavor of the corn concoction as I watch the other patrons around me…not a single person is speaking English. I love it!
After lunch I wander a bit more and find myself at a museum before heading back to the hostel, where I encounter the manager again. He invites me out for a drink, which I accept. We have a wonderful time talking and laughing as we sip on warm glasses of red wine, spiked with brandy and fruit juice, complete with a sugared rim.
Though I enjoy this town, I feel I have had enough and that night I book a flight to the city of Medellin for the next morning. One of my friends who I met in Costa Rica now lives there with his family and he arranges for his neighbor to pick me up from the airport.
The next few days I have a love affair with this incredible city. I walk around for hours (of course), eat delicious food and talk to the locals. The neighbor and I end up getting along quite well so she and I spend a lot of time together. She has a car so we travel outside of the city to adorable little towns that are filled with culture and life.
I am not sure what it is, but when I travel to a new place that I really love, I end up stumbling upon a mother-like figure and become very attached to her. It adds an extra layer of comfort to this already very intriguing trip.
In fact, every so often, I am smacked in the face with signs and deep feelings that are so clear, they cannot be ignored (quitting my job, moving to Costa Rica, starting my own business as a coach, are a few examples). This sort of inner-knowing may seem irresponsible to some because it causes me to make very big decisions extremely quickly. That said, I have never had any regrets about where these snap decisions have taken me…and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This time, however, my realization fills me with a mix of elation and sadness: It is time to leave Costa Rica and move to Colombia.
Costa Rica has been the greatest gift I have received in life thus far. After I quit my job and had no idea who I was or what I wanted out of life, it was Costa Rica where I found myself. I have spent the past 2 years breaking myself down and rebuilding myself back up as a stronger, more confident and more fulfilled version of myself…And now, it is time for me to fly again.
I have found passion in coaching others who were like I was. However, Puerto Viejo is not a town where I feel I can be my most successful in this endeavor. The town is so laid back and so distractingly peaceful that I find myself lounging around more often than getting work done. My priority in life is transitioning from self-healing (though that will always be a big part of my journey) to growing this new business of mine.
The town of Medellin is the perfect balance of incredible weather, kind and motivated people and a faster-paced energy to which I feel I am ready to experience. Another area in which I would like to challenge myself is dating and possibly being in a relationship again (I had a flavor of what that could be like with the manager in Bogota…and I liked it. Though he and I are not going to work out because I don’t want to live in Bogota, Medllin is filled with new people to meet!).
I have to return to the U.S.A. in early October. At that time, I will bring all of my belongings with me and when I am done with my trip, I will fly back to Medellin to begin this new chapter.
So, as I sit on the tarmac at the airport back in Bogota after my trip is over, a few tears roll down my cheek. I am not sure whether it is because I am sad to leave Colombia or for now or because I am sad to leave Costa Rica for good. Either way, the next month is sure to be filled with all sorts of emotions, which I will do my best to welcome with open arms.