Exciting news! GoAbroad.com, one of the leading websites on meaningful travel and studying, living, and working abroad, has chosen to feature The Wanderlust Chronicles as their Blog of the Week. In honor of having my blog featured on GoAbroad.com, I want to tell you, Dear Reader, why I chose to, well, go abroad to Colombia.
Colombia is definitely not one of the top places on most people’s “places to go” list, although this is slowly changing. Many people outside of Colombia still have the image in their heads of a country filled with kidnappers, guerrillas, and cocaine dealers, and although such people do exist, they are a very small percentage and should not deter anyone from coming here. There are some not-so-safe parts that should be avoided, but this is true of every country in the world.
One of the reasons I wanted to come to Colombia was to dispel this negative reputation of what is in fact a beautiful and generally safe country. I have been living here for almost fifteen months and have loved my time here, and I plan on staying for quite a while longer. Last year I lived in Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast and this year I am living in Bogotá, the capital, and I have visited many other cities in Colombia, all full of rich culture and opportunities. I hope I don’t sound like a tourism agency, I simply want to show a side of Colombia that is not often seen.
When people ask me about my time here, they often ask, “why did you choose Colombia?” My answer is always that I wanted to learn Spanish, I wanted to live in South America, and I wanted to learn salsa dancing. Bogotá supposedly has some of the “purest” Spanish in the world, which makes it an excellent place to learn. Cali, the third largest city in Colombia, is considered the salsa capital of the world, although amazing salsa dancers can be found all over the country.
The only other place I have visited in Latin America is Guatemala, so I can’t compare Colombia with other Latin American countries, but many foreigners who have traveled around the region often tell me that they like Colombia the best. I hope to travel more around South America, but I am quite happy with my decision to live and work in Colombia.
Colombia has so much to offer, whether you are looking for a place to learn Spanish, a university in which to study, English-teaching jobs, or simply a place to spend a vacation. There are big cities and small pueblos; hot, coastal climates; cool mountainous regions; and comfortable, temperate zones.
Colombia’s national slogan, “the only risk is wanting to stay” (“el riesgo es que te quieras quedar”), is certainly true for me. So my only warning to you, Dear Reader, if you decide to come to Colombia, is be prepared to want to stay.