On the 22nd November 2015 I first stepped foot in this new exciting, unforgettable country – Colombia. After being judged heavily and criticised for embarking on this trip, I forgot what everyone told me and fully embraced the country. It’s true you can never judge a book by it’s cover, you can also never judge a country by the media’s labels of it. I longed to discover more, was this country really how everyone perceived it or was the media’s impression just that an impression. ‘Only one who attempts the impossible, can achieve the impossible’ I like this quote, it shows that unless you try you will never know.
Colombia instantly drew me in, the countries sponge like affect catching me at the first try, everything was interesting, everything was new, different from anything I had experienced previously. The people, the fresh fruits and vegetables, the culture and most breathtaking of all the landscapes. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country after Brazil and it’s incredible. You can be in the city one minute and after a 3 hour drive in a completely different ecosystem, environment, culture, it doesn’t even feel like the same country.
Colombia Is completely different from anywhere I had ever visited before. Yes Bogota is the size of London population wise, but it’s like another world from England’s largest city. London is full of grey buildings, everyones rushing, no one looks you in the eye. Whereas Colombia’s capital is full of colour, cheerful and smily people. Never before have I had a stranger hold out his hand to help me off the bus.
Colombia’s landscapes are breathtaking, endless mountain regions, deserts, flat plains, tropical rainforests, tropical climates, unexplored locations, Caribbean beaches and islands. This biodiverse country has everything you could ever want in one place. You can hike mountains, dive a coral reef, snorkel in the Caribbean Sea, hike through the jungle, cycle through a city, abseil down a waterfall, hike a snowcapped mountain, ride a horse through the countryside, sandboarding in a desert and visit indigenous communities.
Colombians are by far the most interesting people I have ever met, a country with a war ridden past has a promising future. Colombian’s don’t let the past define them, they carry on and make the most of everything. Just 10 years ago you couldn’t travel outside of the big cities due to safety concerns but nowadays Colombians love to travel, any excuse to visit another town or city, spend the weekend away from the city they take. Maybe they are making up for lost time, or they have a deep love for their country. Colombian can’t get enough of the country they live in, embracing foreigners for visiting, while many leave for education or work purposes more than often they return back to their country. If you happen to find a Colombian married to a foreigner you can guess more likely than not they are living in Colombia. Their countries pride runs deep unlike anything I have experienced before, just watch a Colombian National Football match and you can see the passion and pride in their eyes.
Colombia is unique, one of kind it somehow draws you in and doesn’t let you leave, if you happen to leave you long to return. Experience the magic and surround yourself with the culture. Over the next 10 years many people will visit this beautiful country many will stay, others will return home. But everyone who visits will take a little something away that they have never experienced before, the love, the uniqueness or even a little of the culture, one thing is for sure they will leave with a different impression of a country. No longer will they think drugs, gangs or violence, they will think biodiverse, love, unique, everything about it. I wish to share this special country with you all and change your perspectives.