Love Letter to The Road

And so it happens again. One year has ended to leave room for the brand new one ahead of us.

2014. Like a blank piece of paper, waiting to be filled out.

I feel a shit load of gratitude when I look back and realize I got to spend 10 out of those 12 months last year in the happiest place I know. The Road.

That thrill in having no real clue about where I’ll end up tomorrow, who I’ll encounter or where I’ll sleep… The simplicity in living with no more belongings than I can easily carry… The joy in having an endlessly changing horizon and being accompanied by the feeling of complete fucking freedom. That’s what keeps me in motion. High on life.

Once again, it made me a billion new experiences richer and taught me lessons no university in the world would ever be able to. I got to withness enchanting sceneries that repeatedly blew my mind and I came across countless of beautiful, crazy, inspiring souls with whom I created the moments that shaped my journey into what it became.

Finacially, I might have been poorer than ever in my life upon returning home, yet I was rich beyond my imagination. Because that’s the beautiful thing with traveling – counted in priceless memories, you will always be a millionare.

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Hope your 2013 has been magic too. Now time to start fill out that new piece of paper. Whatever aims and dreams you have, never forget that the pen is in your hand.

Happy New Year.

My Colombian vision of paradise

Salento. I don’t remember how I first found out about this place, but once I heard what it was about – organic coffee, rolling green hills, a lovely climate, rivers and good hiking – it turned into a mandatory stop on my journey up through Colombia. For Oscar it was a non-explored spot of his own country so he was happy to check it out. We had to overnight in the bigger and not near as welcoming city of Armenia before we got there though, as it had gotten pitch dark and pretty dodgy outside after leaving Cali.

If you’re on a very tight budget when traveling, artesanos are like the best travel companion you could imagine. Often, the money they make in a day is what most westerners would spend on parking fees that same day, and thus they have to keep their expenses low. And they know how to.

Anyway, not wanting to be dependent on me to cover his part of the hotel cost for the night, he took off to the nearest busy traffic light to earn a few pesos. I tagged along and soon found myself sitting in the middle of the street watching and documenting his actions.

OscarNot long after a local woman pulled up next to me, rolled her window down and asked me with a troubled face if I had a place to stay for the night. I smiled and said I indeed did and that she didn’t have to worry about me. As far as I can remember I never got mistaken for a homeless person before, but I suppose me sitting there on the concrete with big holes in my jeans and shoes, unshowered and all hooded up, kind of gave that impression that night. I was slightly touched by her concern.

The next morning we were once again standing along the road with our thumbs in the air. A few cars passed until this young Colombian lady and an older couple, coming from the opposite direction, pulled up next to us and asked where we were going. We told them we were unfortunately going to Salento in the other direction. They nodded, drove off a bit, turned around and then stopped next to us again, saying “Well, let’s go then!”

Marcela and her parents, that constituted the older couple, were more than happy to take the half an hour detour back to Salento to help us out. They fed us and then invited us to come and stay with them or contact them if we ever got a problem. Or if I wanted a job teaching English or so, Marcela, a teacher herself, promised to help out with that too. To me, this is Colombian goodwill in a nutshell.

The week that followed in Salento, I collected many good memories. A highlight on my journey through this enchanting country.

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IMG_0859IMG_0853IMG_0851IMG_0667Good old Don Elias has been producing organic coffee for many, many years

IMG_0669Coffee blooming

IMG_0670Coffee growing

IMG_0685Coffee beans drying

IMG_0691IMG_0696Coffee beans roasted

IMG_0698Roasted coffee beans being grounded. The result? Maybe the best cup of coffee I ever had.

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Coffee hills

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IMG_0763IMG_0657IMG_0808IMG_0331IMG_0814Sunset, doggy style….. classy.

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