After hesitantly crossing a dangerous border crossing between countries this globe currently has on offer, from Venezuela to Colombia, my supposed-to-be 20 hour journey was 28 hours. After no stops, myself the only Gringo on board, a million and one checkpoints and no food, I arrived late in the infamous location of Barranquilla.
I was keen to get to Colombia asoon as possible, friends I have travelled with before currently in the country, my birthday approaching, I wanted some social interaction again after a 6 week adventure across Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela, where hostels and backpackers are few and far between. Barranquilla, home to the famous exploits and shippings of former Colombian Drug Lord Pablo Escobar, was an industrial city, on the coast, being very crowded and local. I arrived at my hostel, striving for some sleep, food and a connection to WIFI to tell the World I’m alive again and survived the journey. After I got through all this, and realising I was only an hour away from the much anticipated Cartagena, I only spent one night in Barranquilla.
My heart was in Cartagena. Hearing it was a historical, romantic and lively city, for me it was the one place I had looked forward to the most. Arriving during the early afternoon on the 5th, I loved what I saw already. The old town beautifully colonised with shops, restaurants and bars, but not only that, the appearance of backpackers walking the streets. With their singlets and flip flops, pale skin and heavy bags, I had arrived at Getsmane. Getsmane has recently become a backpacker haven, hedonistic in a sense and where many backpackers base themselves. Its small cute and attractive streets were a delight for me to see. I was just as happy to change to more backpacking attire instead of a long sleeved top, jeans, trainers and a cap. I could feel I was free again, amongst some of my own, with everything I like in walking distance of my hostel. Media Luna Street, is as close as I have came to the Khao San Road of Cartagena, although busier with cars, its backpacker friendly in some respects. I mean, it’s not Khao San, nowhere near, but just having options infront of you gave me that feeling, almost a second wind of, ‘I’m travelling again’. You know, that new feeling that I had briefly felt in Brasil. This time however, it prolonged and so did the enjoyment.
Meeting up with a previous friend from my time in Asia, I was with someone I knew and liked, and my birthday being only a day away. After doing the obvious and making new friends, I felt a backpacker again, free to roam and explore, with others looking to do the same and in somewhere I hadn’t been before. There was no overhaul of males like in the World Cup, no nagging travellers worried to leave their room, this was me, back, in the mood, into my travels as my hours of 26 ticked by.
I didn’t want to turn 26, and I really didn’t want to turn 27. I was actually a bit down and kept complaining when I turned 27, the day I did. But I realised, as I’ve said before, time happens to us all. It just depends on what your doing. I’m in Cartagena, a city I had longed for. At 26 I was in Melbourne, a City I love and spent a year working there. 25? I had just got to Bangkok, still my favourite city in the world, and the starting point from all this adventure. So the whole ‘I’m 27’ wore off after a while. I was more into adventourous, danger travel and being older is kind of better for that. I’m more aware and know what I like. I have the next 2 years planned ahead of me, like the last 2, and there are down to be so exciting all be it nothing tragic happens in that time. I actually feel older than 27, but giving that I’m aiming to live my life, as they say, for a number more years yet, it really doesn’t matter. Of course I’ve been thinking about what job I really want to try settle in, but right now, its about making money and travelling. Seeing the world. I’m in Cartagena again right now. I love this place. And I tell you, I haven’t even got started yet and I’m 2 years in.