Interview with Beatriz Pérez, January 27, 2018

I met Beatriz back in January 2018 in León, México.

Our relationship started as an automotive technician and a customer thanks to a Google Maps suggestion; however, we later connected in many different ways, which led me to stay in León for a week, totally unexpectedly.

Beti greatly appreciated what I was doing and connected it with her own life’s plan – I normally try not to take things with grandeur mission statements but seeing the potential influence of what I am doing on her plans encouraged me to think about my travel again.

More than anything, hope you enjoy her stories.

@León, México, January 27, 2018

De uniforme y de civil, museo de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia, marcha 19, 2018

“De uniformes y de civil”

On the ground floor of the Antioquia museum, there was an exhibition on giving back personalities to some of the members of armed groups in Colombia. Notice the powerful contrast. I remember seeing similar looking people in the right column from streets in Colombia.

@museo de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia, marcha 19, 2018

Bandeja paisa, Medellin, Colombia, March 17, 2018

Bandeja Paisa is one of the most typical dishes in the Paisa region in Antioquia, Colombia.

As a friend once said, it’s basically three portions in one dish. If you know me, you know that I’m easy to please taste-wise, but not so much amount-wise.

I don’t know whether the one I got was a modern-interpretation, but it was not as big as I had imagined. Still, it was heavy and cost-effective. The long, dark yellow one on the top is fried plantain. Others include fried potato, grilled pork, salted white rice, a quarter avocado, red beans and their juice. 15,000 pesos (5.25 USD)

@Restaurante Jhojan, Medellin, Colombia, March 17, 2018

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica, February 16, 2018

In Costa Rica, most tourists visit places close to the Pacific ocean, which was also my case three years ago. Making use of the fact that it was my second time to the country and that I had a car, I crossed the country along the Caribbean coast this time. The differences were visible. It was even more humid and lush green and it rained several times a day. And I noticed an increase in black population and their cuisine.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a touristy beach town on the Caribbean coast and is just about 40 minutes from the border with Panama. It was warm but cloudy at the same time – a convenient combination for hanging out at a beach.

I heard about an abandoned pirate ship at the beach a day before, and it was at an unmissable place.

@Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica, February 16, 2018

Good people after an accident,Taraza, Colombia, March 10, 2018

I had an accident two days ago. I hit a cow on a highway while driving. Fortunately, no one was hurt and even the cow seems to be doing okay. Although I am even grateful that no one was hurt and that I learned some valuable lessons, I’ve been feeling emotional weight since the accident, as I am in constant contact with the Police and the cow’s owner, figuring out the best option for all.

And today, as if some supernatural force decided to cheer me up, I met these new people in the town where I would not have stayed were it not for the accident.

The boys first approached us. They were curious and innocent – so innocent that a couple of them asked me, “Usted es gringo?” It was a pleasant and fun change to get to know people in a town where there is very limited exposure to foreigners.

Gloria(far right in the last picture)’s daughter is in Medellin. She is crazy about Korea or its people so when she found out where I was from, she called her and passed the phone to me! Now I have a friend to meet next week.

@Taraza, Colombia, March 10, 2018

parque nacional Tayrona, march 3, 2018

Getting to the picturesque beach at Cabo San Juan required some efforts. We woke up at 7:30am, walked to the city center, took a bus to the entrance of the Tayrona park (1 hour), and hiking in the forest for 2.5hrs.

It seems that we took a rougher hiking course than what people usually take – it ended up taking almost 4 hours which involved half-crawling below big rocks and frequent jumping from one rock to another.

The beach area was very beautiful. Usually any beach is enjoyable enough for me, but I could tell that this place was special. The mountain and the rocky island were surrounding the beach, adding a sense of height to an otherwise flat area. Clean bathrooms and the only but not-too-pricey restaurant were convenient additions.

Understandably, due to the popularity, every accommodation option was sold out 2 meters before me in the line. We motivated our already exhausted bodies to walk for another 40 minutes to the next beach town, Arrecife.

An hour before sunset, I could rent a small and not too clean tent in the forest. There is no electricity or cell signal. There are buckets of water for you to take a shower behind a curtain. I’m in my tent while enjoying the art of doing nothing in the darkness. It’s 7pm.

@parque nacional Tayrona, march 3, 2018

with Juan Arrieta and Brett, Cartagena, Colombia, February 27, 2018

When Brett and I were people watching inside the campus of Universidad de Cartagena, Juan came to us. He expressed that he wanted to show us around the city center and it took us awhile to understand his genuine and friendly intention.

A law student at the University, he is a native of Cartagena. In fact, he told me he had never visited other places other than Cartagena.

I appreciate that he took up courage and expressed that he wanted to know about us, especially because it had been awhile since I last made an effort to get closer to the lives of local people.

Darien crew, pollo Broaster caliche, cartagena, Colombia, February 28, 2018

Darien Gap, the impassable roadblock between Panama and Colombia let us get together and enjoy fried chicken today. Alizee and Stevy (left) are from France who started their overlanding journey from Canada. Brett (right top) has ridden his motorbike from Nebraska, US.

When we were in Panama, there were two ships to choose from to send our vehicles. Alizee and Stevy chose the “right ship” – theirs arrived in Colombia on time and the rest of other tourists, including myself, were told that ours is delayed by a week!

Many people think of long-term traveling as a sequence of romantic activities but there are lots of logistical roadblocks and preparations to deal with every day. Despite that, we agreed that we were happy to be traveling. It is not our goal to finally get to somewhere – the value of what we do must lie in our act of going and experiencing.

@pollo Broaster caliche, Cartagena, Colombia, February 28, 2018