“Generally speaking, if you want to know who you really are as distinct from whom you like to think you are, keep an eye on where your feet take you.” – Frederick Buechner
Where Are My Feet Taking Me?
It was this sentiment that got me thinking… Since my visa for India didn’t arrive in time for my scheduled trip in December, through no fault of my own, I wouldn’t be traveling out of the country in 2010. I typically only make one big trip a year based on my work schedule, and I definitely didn’t want to let any opportunity for international travel get away.
Especially since I like to think of myself as a well traveled person who isn’t afraid to venture off the beaten path.
Thinking back over my trips abroad made me realize that I wasn’t earning the title I had bestowed upon myself. Italy and Argentina definitely aren’t off the beaten path. Don’t get me wrong, they were awesome trips that I’m thankful to have taken, but I realized that it was time to either live up to the title or change my tune.
Off the Beaten Path Alone
This kind of last minute trip meant I would be traveling alone. All my usual travel buddies were busy, and I was leaving right after the Christmas holiday. I’ve traveled for work alone many, many times, and early this year I went on a yoga retreat by myself, but this was different. This would be my first solo trip abroad.
Some recent travel reports (written by women) about Colombia’s status as an up-and-coming tourist destination and about its increasing safety peaked my interest. Then I stumbled across the fact that American Airlines runs direct flights from Miami to Medellin. The flight is only three hours long, and I could fly first class for a minimal amount of frequent flyer miles. Plus, Medellin is currently on Eastern time*, so no jet lag!
While I was sold on visiting Colombia someday, I have to admit that I had reservations at the last minute. I questioned whether now was the right time or whether I was trying to squeeze too much into the end of the year. I left before some of my family after Christmas, and I was nervous about the unknown nature of the destination. Europe I know. South America, not so much.
Plenty of people looked at me like I was crazy when they heard about the trip, and I let their doubts become my own. In the end, I pushed all doubts aside and decided to go now by myself, simply because I could. The goal of the trip was to live up to the ideal I’d set for myself, to see a new country, and to push the boundaries of my comfort zone. Mission accomplished.
More About Colombia Soon
By the time you read this, I’ll be somewhere over the Caribbean headed back to the States or on a layover in Miami. I’m so excited to share some pictures and more about the trip over the next couple of weeks.
Look out for a funny and slightly morbid tradition they have in Medellin to welcome the new year!
*I’ve been told that Colombia doesn’t observe daylight savings so sometimes they’re on Central time and sometimes Eastern.