I have been in Colombia 76 days and thought I would start counting the days. I spoke with my Dad last night and I agree with him in that when you experience new things and places to go your idea of time is quite different than what you think of in normal life. No routine, always meeting new people and my life is always changing. I have never experienced anything like this.
I am feeling like I am finally getting to a point in my travels where I have enough experience to really start making strides and travelling in a cost effective and more intelligent way. For example cooking in hostels: people always say it’s cheaper. It isn’t! Unless, you really take time to figure out what you are going to buy, how you are going to use every single thing you purchase, and count out how many times and meals you will make to use everything in an efficient way. I think someone should make a cook book for hostels because I see a lot of people buying groceries like they are going back to their own personal home. You never use everything and sometimes you have to travel with food to make it worthwhile to eat that way. Sometimes it’s cheaper to go to the corner restaurant and purchase a pizza or menu of the day that is less than 3 dollars.
Antoher thing I have learned with time: don’t always listen to hostels advice on travelling, don’t always believe what other travelers say about a place, and if you really want to learn about a city or place you just have to go there yourself and experience it. Also there is always, always, always a cheaper way to travel than what you guide book says. I also have learned to not go on the same route that a lot of travel companies, busses and guide books tell you are a better way to go. Very interesting travelling can be cheap, easy, and way more fun if you don’t follow the normal route.
I have been thankful enough to stay for free and eat for free. In return, I cannot stand paying for thigns that I think are too overpriced, even if they may not be in terms of Untied States mentality, my mind is officially in the Colombian way of thinking. For example, I went to Playa Blanca yesterday, arguably the most popular tourist destination in Colombia. Everything was overpriced! However, I knew this and spoke with certain vendors and explain to them that I have been travelling as an artist, don’t have enough money, appreciate their service, and negotiate with them a fair price. Even if it’s the difference of 8 mil a night for a hammock (4 USD) and getting them to give it to me for 4 mil (2 USD) a night, it really does make a difference if I am going to be travelling for a year!
I keep thinking that I need to leave Colombia, like I need to get out because people just don’t stay in one place this long! Yet I constantly need to remind myself that I am travelling intelligently, that not everyone paints, and that the slow route is in fact better to get to know a culture. My hopes for the rest of my travels is that I may get to do a mural with someone, that I will meet a friend I can travel with for longer than 4 days and that I meet a community that is more like minded as I am of artists and down to earth people. All sorts of people travel and all sorts of people exist in this world. I am determined to find one that is more like what I am striving to become in my life. I know it exists, and I have a lot of time to find it. However now I feel ready and open!