Colombia – The Low Down Adventure
72 countries, 84 sourcing trips, 425+ flights. What happens when you fall in love over and over again?
Every RAD AND HUNGRY sourcing trip makes and breaks me. The best moment EVER – happenin’ on repeat. And when it’s time to leave I break down and cry. Why? ‘Cause the thought of having another experience chock full of crazy, weird, random, and rad (how do I bottle this formula?) seems impossible. The instant BFFs, the unfamiliar flavors and smells, the fresh landscapes and sounds… the discovery of so much magic, big and small.
There’s so much of the world to see but some countries keep pullin’ me back. I returned to Colombia for the third time but this trip, I explored an area new to me – the Paisa region. Home of Pablo Escobar (and feral hippos), birth of Música de carrilera, and the fictional character Juan Valdez? He rocks the signature Paisa fashion – sombrero aguadeño, carriel, and a poncho.
Our motley crew ready to tackle Columbia – a local, a transplant, and me plus a 5-yr old. How did this connect four link up? My friend Katie and her son moved to Colombia for a teaching position that Hector, her old college buddy suggested. For two weeks the four of us moved around Pereira, Santa Rosa de Cabal, Medellín, and Santuario.
Santuario is Hector’s hometown, and you know what that means? Local-led good times. We journeyed there at night by mini-bus rockin' a disco ball and strobe light. Part safety. Part badass. It aggressively climbed hills, hugged crazy cliffs, and sped down one-lane roads while avoiding massive potholes. Was I scared? Nah. Because low-down travels adventure are big on faith.
During an afternoon of mountain strollin’ a truck drove by, and the driver waved. Seconds later the truck skidded to a stop and reversed back to us. It was the Mayor of Santuario and his father! They offered us a ride and minutes later we were hangin’ at his father's amazing colonial home! I had to pass on touring the waterfalls at Tatamá National Park, but it’ll happen. I made a pinky promise for my return as the mayor’s guest for the Autumn coffee harvest festival.
Then the trip’s laidback vibe turned stressed. Our bus back to Pereira was sold out! Hector walked across the street to the fire station. He returned with a miracle – the Fire Chief loaned his car to an employee who would drive us back to Pereira. What? Chévere!
Have you ever felt a place have a hold on you so tight, it’s like you can't breathe? It's like Colombia was workin’ it’s damndest to end the RAH World Tour so I’d be forever stuck there. It's not gonna happen but Colombia, WTF? I’m a sucker for your ways. I’m whipped. But puttin’ me on lock down… Let me go. Let me go home. 17 flight changes in 48 hrs, 72 hours to get home? Ride or die – Paisa powered to the end.