Medellin, Colombia had me from hello. On the way from the airport to the city, I could sense something was special about this place…and my intuition was right. Medellin is a beautiful city that offers whatever you want. I have to be honest, coming to Colombia from the states is a bit scary because all the negative you hear about this place. Medellin may have had a rough past, but the present sure was bright.
The weather was amazing, not hot or cold. The people were strangely nice and helpful. They were always very caring about me to make sure I was having fun or making sure I had directions to where I was going. The last night we went out, I met a man named Ivan that spoke some English. His main question was “Are you having a good time here?” I said I loved it here. He was so happy…”I’m so glad to hear that. In America you hear a lot of negative about this place, but it’s not true. We really care about people here.” I couldn’t agree more.
I will never forget the words of my paragliding guide, while we were hovering in the air, above his city…”This is a beautiful place…but the most important thing here is the people are free.” I thought that was very interesting and wandered if back home we would describe our state the same way.
I spent two weeks in Medellin and have covered some ground. I feel like I have a good grasp of the city. From Guatape Rock to the Favelas, to paragliding, estadio and futbol matches…I got my money’s worth…which is pretty easy because it feels so cheap down here.
We stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment in the El Poblado area. I can’t begin to describe how nice this area is. I’m not talking about expensive cars and houses…but the overall feeling of relaxation. Everything seems to move slower here…I got used to it. We booked our apartment through First American Realty. We worked with John and I would highly recommend him.
The apartment was a 10-15 minute walk away from Lleras park, which holds many restaurants, shops and tons of night life.
These are pictures from my favorite area in Poblado.
One of the “attractions” in Medellin is a cable line (think ski lift) that stretches up a mountain, over the favelas. Not sure if that’s the right term or not. Anyhoo…there was supposed to be a park at the top of the mountain that everyone goes to, but the day we went it was closed off.
I got my monies worth in a mental exercise instead. I’ve seen the poor part of town before…but this was different. I’ve never seen poor like this before. The whole time we were riding over the houses, I felt sorry for the people and how bad it must be to be that poor and have nothing. Then, since the final lift was closed, we got off the lift and looked around a bit. I didn’t wonder to far because I didn’t feel comfortable (since having a gun stuck to my forehead, I’m always on edge).
But there was something surprising to me. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the people there looked perfectly “normal” they dressed perfectly “normal” and had perfectly normal smiles on their faces. That really shocked me. I really thought they would be depressed looking people who “looked” poor.
Then, I started asking myself, “why am I judging them? just because their house looks like a piece of shit? what if they are happier then me?” This is when I really started to question “what makes me happy?” And most of the answers seemed to revolve around material items. In America, I feel like I’m always trapped in the “there’s always something better” cycle. And you can’t be happy until you get that something better.
This was probably the biggest lesson I learned in Colombia. Happiness is not found in the stuff you own. Where is it found? Well, quite honestly I’m still searching for the full picture. I have some ideas…but one thing is for sure, I feel a lot more at peace with myself just by simply experiencing that you can live in a “shit hole” and appear to not have any material items…and still be happy.
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