I love Colombia. My 14 days in Medellín and Bogotá in May changed the entire tone and character of my trip.
I met travelers and residents with whom I formed deep, inspiring connections; I ate delicious, inexpensive food – mostly vegetarian!; and I grasped my need to slow down and listen to my instincts about where I wanted to be, versus where I “should” be, probably for the first time.
I went from feeling like a serial loner on the road, to feeling like I had friends. One of those friends became me.
Plus, Colombia is beautiful. Again I only spent two short weeks there. But I was continually impressed by the natural beauty of the country, its residents, the weather, the cities (especially Medellín), and of course the culture, which embodies a joie d’vivre I haven’t felt elsewhere.
Maybe as a nation, surviving decades of brutal, drug-fueled violence lends vital perspective on the simple joys of being. “Whether the sun is shining, or not, we are still here. And we are still Colombians,” the people seem to say. Not with their words, but their spirit.
So in short, I love Colombia. Of the 10 countries I’ve visited, it is one of my favorite places on Earth, so far.
Bearing that in mind, this is how incredible my last 5 weeks in Peru were:
My time in Peru, from humid jungles to frigid mountains to arid plains and bustling cities, was so heart-opening, mind-expanding, consciousness-transforming, body-healing, spirit-challenging, soul-nourishing, cried-every-last-tear-taking-it-all-in-and-yet-there’s-more??? life-changing…
… that I had to go to Colombia just to chill out.
Seriously. I couldn’t take any more. It was wonderful, but not unlike going through a car wash of joy. Without the car.
I suspect it will take me a long time to understand the past 5 weeks. As I’m sitting here in Medellín now, it all feels very raw inside, almost molten. My heart is sore, my body weak but happy, and my mind tired from trying to keep up.
I’m a glorious, depleted mess. I would drink and eat myself into oblivion… if my relationship with food weren’t one of the things that had changed so significantly.
I can point to the places inside my body that aren’t the same, but I can’t quite say how. I’m finding out as I go. And I’ll tell you what I did, but that doesn’t illuminate meaningfully what happened:
- 8 Ayahuasca ceremonies (7 in Iquitos + 1 in Pisac) and 2 Huachuma / San Pedro ceremonies, and all the unbelievable self-knowledge and healing that comes with them during (conservatively) 100+ hours journeying through the deeper, higher worlds
- Made new friends, brothers, and soul-family for life: Gary Y., Charles K., Jessica, and my entire beloved workshop group at the Temple of the Way of Light
- A solstice sunrise over Ollantaytambo
- Father’s Day at Macchu Picchu, and getting to call my dad and grandpa from there, too
- Surprised by romance <3
- 10 days in Pisac and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a nexus of spirit akin to Sedona, AZ or Marin County, CA
- Treating myself to luxury, including food and accommodations in both Pisac and Lima
- My first stomach infection – an educational milestone in terms of listening to my body, asking for help, and experiencing health care in a foreign country
- And witnessing firsthand a country in the midst of a remarkable economic and cultural transformation. Modernity is taking hold, and yet rich and ancient indigenous traditions provide a counterweight I deeply wish the United States had. Such a quintessential 21st century story, in a country with as much inner beauty as outer. Peruvians know it, too.
And that’s just the past 5 weeks! The 2 weeks I spent in Peru in early May were their own wonderful, educational, healing journey.
I am left with much to think about, much to integrate, much to feel. I want to sleep. I need to rest and write in a safe space that asks nothing of me, except to be.
Thankfully, I was guided back home, here to Colombia, and my friends, for just that purpose.
So while I recuperate and process this very special experience, please enjoy some “insider” photos. More to come…