Cartagena, the most different of the South American cities I have seen so far. With a very Caribbean feel, you are immediately transported to chilled out vibe. In fact you want to constantly walk around with your hands in a peace sign, it’s so chilled out. Everyone is relaxed (except for the cab drivers who hoot a lot!). Everything is slow and laid back. People sit in the street and watch football matches. While others sell their brightly coloured wares ranging from shoes and bags to cut up fruit.
Cartagena is different to how I imagined it to be. I stayed in the old city- which is the only place to stay while you are here. So you can’t help but feel in a little bit of a tourist world. Which is welcome after you step outside into the real world of Cartagena. The old streets are lined with coloured small buildings and wooden doors. Colonial and colourful… with a significant influence, yet an authentic charm.
After 3 days of walking around the hot and humid, restaurant and store lined streets… you start itching for something else. Beaches and islands, here we come. I was only there long enough to see one, the Rosario Islands but they did not disappoint. The blue from the Caribbean… and the sand is soft and white. Finally!
OK so I need to tell you something I have been terrified to. Not because of you, but rather because of me. I have decided that the original date I booked to go back is the one I am going to stick to. There, I said it! There have been so many moments of deliberation and weighing up the odds in my head. But the answer came as soon as I went to Machu Picchu.
I was looking at this wonder of the world… and I was wowed, but not as wowed as I knew I should have been. Not as in awe as the expression on my sister’s face was giving away. And that’s when it dawned on me.
I think as humans we only have so much capacity. For anything. Take the bad like negativity, destructive behaviour or sadness. You can only handle so much before you say it’s enough. And in the same way, even with the good and the incredible, there is only so much your brain can absorb. There is only so much your heart can leap to the point of elation before it starts feeling normal. And that’s the moment I decided- MEGAN, before you become jaded, it’s time. Before you start thinking that this is something you have seen or done before, it’s at the point where you need to reset to make space for more to come.
From Buenos Aires, to the glaciers, Mendoza and the mountains. Through the desert and the salt flats. Onto the cities and the lakes. All the new people I met along the way. The new language I have been learning. The conversations I have been having. My brain has literally said to me- Megan, you’ve given me so much, now give me time.
So the next few days mark the tail end of this journey. MIEDO (re
member him???) well he’s back. And this time its because I am making the journey into my old world. But in a completely different way. Hey I may as well be a traveller in London as much as I was one in South America! I am going back to a city that has been my home for seven years, but as a stranger. Not the same office, not the same routine, not the same mindset.
I literally know where I am arriving… but on the opposite side of the same coin, when I land in London, it’s going to be starting from scratch. One week and counting. Eeeekkk. I’m writing this on the plane back from Colombia to Buenos Aires. And I feel like I’m going to my South American home. Strange I know, but wow I love this city. It’s nice to be going to a place that I know. For the past 2 months it’s been about landing in places I don’t know and finding my way blindly. I’m excited for the familiar.
What’s more exciting is that my other sister Candice arrives from London to meet me. So there’s a great week ahead. Doing everything I wanted to do in BA that I never got around to. Sharing and showing her the things I love here.
I have the restaurants planned out. The wine I’m going to order written down in my mind. And the routes I am going to take all worked out. I think this is a good way of easing into going home. A soft landing before I return.
So the next few days we will be back in BA soaking in the atmosphere. Eating. Drinking. And watching tango. Hey maybe we’ll even learn a few moves. One thing is for sure- I’m going to make every second count.