Cartagena, Colombia PART I

I am back on the road which means I am back.

I spent the last two weeks in Cartagena, Colombia and I am writing this airborne on my way to The Galápagos Islands. (I am posting this a week later as the internet in The Galápagos was near non existent).

There has always been something about being on the move, being up in the air, and in transit that sparks my inner glow. When I travel, I feel like I am everything— expanding at every passport stamp, every person I met, every story I share, every meal I digest.

Leading up to the trip, I was overwhelmed. Do I have everything? What will happen? Am I prepared? I powered through the weeks prior like a bullet train, leaving little room for anything but checklists. 

Once I landed in Cartagena, I could exhale. I felt like I was being reacquainted with a city as well as the nomadic part of me. I quickly dove into the reason why I was back- documenting the dance company Periferia for my VSCO Artist Initiative project

As I wandered the colorful streets and found pockets of life, I couldn’t help but realize that while traveling requires momentum, it somehow allows me to slow down. I stayed in the neighborhood Getsemaní and stumbled upon families sitting outside, doors open, music blaring, talking, sharing, eating, etc. Window scenes full of people playing cards, observing the streets, and engaging with each other. I realized that life in Cartagena allowed for time and community. I thought back to my weeks prior, or even months prior of constant hustling, and thought to myself, when was the last time I allowed for time to drip? I was working every day and yet I felt incredibly more calm. The quality of life felt noticeably different.

I thought back to the usual comments I get when I tell/told people that I was going to Colombia.

“Oh, be careful. It’s dangerous there,” or my least favorite response, “Why would you want to go there?” Little do they know what they are missing out on, too afraid to face something foreign to them. I chuckled on my cab ride from the airport as my driver asked me where I was from and when I said LA, his response was, “Oh, it’s dangerous there, no?” “It’s dangerous everywhere,” I replied. Fearing the unknown is natural, avoiding it is likely, but never testing bravery? THAT is dangerous. That is mortal. 

As I’m traveling again for myself, I am evermore sure of the importance of it. Driven to open the eyes of people that are teetering on fear and flying. If that is you, take the leap. It is the best thing you can do for yourself.

That’s my rant.

Let’s get to some good stuff. Like many things, cities, just like people fill a spectrum. There are objectively beautiful parts and subjectively beautiful parts. I’m going to break my next three posts into 1. Objectively beautiful parts 2. Subjectively beautiful parts (which I find most beautiful) and 3. An update on my VSCO project.

As a tourist you will most likely be visiting and spending most of your time in the old walled city of Cartagena. The colonial architecture, the vibrant walls, horse carriages, open air restaurants in plazas, and hanging balconies are incredibly romantic. There are photo opportunities at every corner.