cartagena, colombia : te amaré por siempre
I just returned from the best trip of my life. I was only gone for eight days, but it was enough time to reconfirm my love for the culture and to make lasting bonds with the natives, as well as strengthen an already solid friendship with my awesome roommate Alicia.
If I were to summarize my trip in 3 words it would befriendship, adventure, & growth.
Alicia and I planned this trip on a whim. Against our parents' wishes to pick a "safer" vacation spot, we followed our hearts until we were across the border and into the beautiful, loving arms of Cartagena. We were so touched by the amount of love we received....we felt so welcomed, so appreciated, and we appreciated them for their patience and enthusiasm to teach us.
Alicia and I are so thankful to everyone we met along the way to make our experience such a positive and enlightening one. From the hotel keepers, friendly faces of street vendors and friends we made on our excursions, we are so grateful to you. Milena, we love you always. Andrés, your presence always made us feel safe. You both changed this from a vacation to a second home. We could have easily stayed longer.
This trip was certainly not short of exhilarating adventures. We biked, hiked, and crashed in the waves of several beaches. We bathed in a volcano filled with mud and let strangers wash us off in a lake. We practiced yoga, ate gelato, acted like tourists, and lost ourselves in the city. We danced with locals all night long at a fiery havana...and we found another version of ourselves.
I chose growth, because I have come to several realizations whilst on this trip....many I am happy to share and others I will keep to myself for now. :) What I loved most about this trip was speaking Spanish with the locals and finding our way around the town. Hardly anyone spoke English, so it was a wonderful "sink or swim" moment that truly forced us in the best way possible to learn the language.
I actually know more Spanish than I give myself credit for....it had been tucked away for a while, but as I began speaking, it jogged my memory of phrases and words I forgot I ever learned. Now that I am back in the States, I am saving up to enroll in a Spanish class here in the city! In addition to Skype-ing in Spanish with our friends back in Colombia, we will be sure to keep up this momentum.
I am very passionate about traveling, learning and experiencing other cultures. I want to explore and I want to give back...This life means nothing to me if I am not giving back the love and encouragement I have been fortunate to receive throughout my life.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."
...and so it has begun....
Love, Jules x