As a senior in college, I’m at the point in my life where most people people ask me one of two questions:
- What’s your major?
- What are you going to do after you graduate?
If you’d asked me the same question three years ago, my answers would have been as follows:
- English, probably
- I have no idea. Probably go to graduate school.
Lately, however, I’ve had the immense satisfaction of being able to provide a definitive answer to both questions…and a far different answer to the second:
- English (with a music minor).
- I’m going to live in Medellín, Colombia, for three months while I work as a freelance writer and editor.
Responses to my first answer are usually along the lines of Oh, that’s nice. My [relative/friend] was an English major.
Responses to my second answer, however, are always more entertaining:
- Medellín: Isn’t that the city where Pablo Escobar was from?
- Colombia: That’s like basically a third world country, right?
- Oh yeah, you mean the city with all the drug lords and gangs?
These are the perceptions that a lot of Americans have of Medellín, of Colombia, and of Latin America in general. The general sentiment is Why would you ever want to go there?
In today’s post, I’m going to tell you exactly why. Not only that, but I’m also going to use this trip as a case study for how to plan any kind of extended solo trip that you might want to take. Think of it like a demonstration of how to implement the advice I give in my post about how to plan your first solo trip.
Note: this post is not a comprehensive guide to Medellin or to Colombia. As of writing this, I haven’t been to either yet. This post is all about the process of planning the trip, as well as what I’ve learned about Colombia and Medellín along the way. Rest assured, I’ll be writing plenty of firsthand accounts of Colombia once I’m there.
With that said, let’s get started!
The most common question I get about this trip is Why Medellín? It’s a fair question.
Here are a few reasons I chose it:
1. Low cost of living (for an American)
As someone about to graduate college, I don’t have a lot of money (by American standards, at least). As such, Medellín is attractive to me because the cost of living there is quite low, particularly given that, as of writing this post, 1 US dollar = 3008.24 Colombian pesos. That’s not quite as much as it sounds, but it still means that, for example, you can easily rent a room for $100-200 a month (according to the research I’ve done on Airbnb).
Put another way, the website Expatistan shows me that it is approximately 47% cheaper to live in Medellín than my native city of Nashville, TN. This is even more striking when you consider that Nashville is not an expensive city by U.S. standards.
Doing a comparison like this is a great way to figure out where to go for a trip, particularly when you’re planning to stay for the longer term. The purchasing power of your currency can often be quite high in other countries. Provided that you’re earning an income in a stronger currency, this is a great way to live cheaply while experiencing other cultures. Just make sure you always behave responsibly and respect this difference (i.e., don’t brag about how rich you are or how much stronger your currency is).
2. A startup/entrepreneur scene
One of my important criteria for choosing a city to live is the presence of other entrepreneurs. As someone who writes a travel blog and does freelance work online, it’s crucial to have the support of other people who work for themselves. By moving to Medellín, I’m hoping to connect with other digital nomads and freelancers, especially those from outside the U.S.
The presence of an entrepreneurship and startup scene may not be important to you specifically, but it’s important to consider what you do want out of a city regardless of where you’re traveling, especially if you’re planning to stay for the longer term.
3. Gorgeous, temperate weather
After going to college for almost four years in a state with snowy, freezing winters and living my whole life in a state with sweltering, humid summers, I’m ready to go somewhere a bit more temperate. Medellín delivers in this respect, with a temperate mountain climate that offers an average annual temperature of 72° F (22° C).
Because of this, Medellín’s nickname is the “City of Eternal Spring” (La ciudad de la eterna primavera in Spanish). Having spent many summers in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee (and having ancestors who lived in the mountains of West Virginia), I have an affinity for the mountains. Medellín is thus a perfect fit in terms of weather.
In the course of planning your trip, make sure to do plenty of research about the weather of the place you’re planning to visit. Also make note of how the weather varies throughout the year. Consider, for example, what a radically different impression someone would get of New York city visiting in summer vs. winter.
4. An opportunity to live through Spanish
I’ve been learning Spanish since February 2016. While my study has been consistent, it’s certainly part-time. While the digital age makes it easier than ever to immerse yourself in a language, there’s still no substitute for living through the language in a country where everyone speaks it everyday.
From what research I’ve done, Medellín appears to be a place where English is not very widely spoken outside the touristy areas. This will force me to speak Spanish in all my interactions, an added bonus for improving my language skills. My goal is to be at a decently high level of Spanish by the time I leave for Medellin (B2 on the Common European Framework), with a fluency of C1 or C2 by the time I leave.
If language learning is one of the reasons you travel (or if travel is one of the reasons you’re learning another language), be sure to consider that some places are easy for practicing your new language than others. Especially if you’re a native English speaker, it’s easy to take the easy way out and speak English wherever you go, since most people speak just a bit. To make full immersion easier, find a place where English is less widely spoken (unless you’re learning English, of course).
5. Relatively accessible, but still outside my comfort zone
Finally, I chose Medellin because it’s relatively easy to get to as an American but still outside my comfort zone compared to other places I’ve travelled. Outside of a family vacation to Toronto, Canada, this past summer and a brief stop in Cozumel, Mexico, during a cruise, most of my international travel has been in Europe. And beyond a few days each spent in The Netherlands, Austria, Spain, and Iceland, most of my European travel has been in Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland.
While the culture of all these places is different than the U.S., most had the common denominator of feeling European or (in the case of Canada) North American (except for Cozumel, which just feels like an awful tourist trap).
With Medellín, things will be different. I don’t know the precise ways just yet (there are thousands of things I can’t even imagine), but what I do know is that it will be a whole new adventure than before.
Also, all the other trips I’ve taken up to this point (aside from a few in the U.S.) have been either with family or while I was studying abroad. In both cases, I had a network of support to rely on financially and otherwise. I traveled solo in Europe, but I always knew that if I had a problem the study abroad program I was with had a whole team of people to help me out. When I travel in the U.S., my family is readily accessible, as well as the general resources that the U.S. has to offer.
My trip to Medellín will be the first trip where I’m on my own. Of course, I’ll still have recourse to the U.S. Embassy and my family in an emergency, but in general it will be all me. I’m paying for this trip and supporting myself while I’m on it. I’m arranging everything. I’m taking the time to do all the necessary research and learning. As such, I view this trip as an important step both as a traveler and an “adult” in general.
Nonetheless, Medellín isn’t as completely foreign to me as other popular digital nomad destinations like Chiang Mai, Thailand. The language is different in Colombia, but the alphabet is the same. There’s a history of European heritage and a language with Latin roots. For these reasons, I view it as a “stepping stone” destination of sorts, a good first place to experiment with the digital nomad lifestyle.
When planning your trip, consider how far out of your comfort zone the destination is. Do you speak the local language? Is your native language spoken at all? How different are the food, cultural norms, government, etc.? If the answer is “radically different,” that isn’t a reason not to go – in fact, it may be exactly the reason you should go. But it’s important to know your tolerance for unfamiliarity first.
Now that I’ve told you why, let’s get into the details. First, I’ll cover (and hopefully dispel) some common fears/stereotypes about Medellín and Colombia. Then, I’ll get into what I’ve learned in planning my trip so far, as well as how it applies to a trip you might plan.
Common Fears About Medellín
Like a lot of great cities (and countries) around the world, Medellín suffers from a persistent bad reputation. Most people associate the city with drug trade, criminal cartels, and constant violence. And even if they have a less specifically negative view of the city, they probably are still concerned that Medellín is a dirty, impoverished, undeveloped city where violence and robbery await around every corner.
Now, I should first say that people are not entirely unjustified to have these ideas about Medellín. It is true that in the 1980s and 90s, Medellín was a very dangerous place, with extensive drug cartel activity and the specter of Pablo Escobar always present.
Nowadays, however, things are different. Medellín is thriving and modern, named “Innovative City of the Year” by the Wall Street Journal in 2012. There is a culture of entrepreneurship and self-starting that GeekWire calls “magnificent.” The city’s cable car and metro system are some of the best in Latin America.
Despite all this progress, the city’s violent reputation remains. A full discussion of why is beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say that general media representations and the prominence of shows like Narcos have contributed. As the old news saying goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.”
Headlines about violence in Medellín and Colombia are going to get more attention (and consequently more ad revenue) than those about progress and peace. Imagine if you learned only about the city where you live by watching the evening news. You’d have a quite different (and decidedly more violent/scary) perception than you do as someone who drives around the streets, goes to stores, and generally lives a “normal” life.
This isn’t to say that Medellín is completely safe (nowhere is). As with traveling to any place, you should always keep your wits about you and stay alert. Robbery and violence can happen, but from what I’ve read, as long as you’re aware of your surroundings, stay in safe neighborhoods, and don’t wander around late at night, you’ll be just as safe as you would at home (maybe even safer).
For more information on safety in Medellín from people who have actually lived there, I recommend the following resources:
- Advice for Staying Safe in Medellín – Medellín Living
- Tips for Traveling in “Dangerous” Places – Nomadic Matt
- Practical Safety Tips for Women Traveling in Medellín, Colombia – The Sweetest Way
I’ll certainly do my own write-up on safety in Medellín once I’ve lived there for a bit, but I hope this section has at least dispelled some of the stereotypes you may have believed.. Expanding this to a more a general discussion of travel, there are two key takeaways:
- Don’t believe everything you hear (or read) about a place. Never dismiss visiting somewhere just because you’ve heard it’s dangerous. Always do your own research, and, ideally, talk to someone who has been there (or, better yet, someone who lives there). Read blog posts and articles, but also poke around in forums to see what people are saying there. Overall, keep an open mind and seek the facts.
- Be conscious of safety wherever you travel. Even if a place is “dangerous,” much of the danger can often be avoided by simple common sense and awareness of your surroundings. Once again, this is why you should do research. Just Google “safety in [NAME OF PLACE” or “[NAME OF PLACE] safety tips.
Now that we’ve covered safety and stereotypes, I’ll move on to everything else I’ve learned about Medellín in my research. While some of this is specific to Medellín, I’ll also include some general lessons from each area that you can apply to your own travels.
Everything I’ve Learned about Medellín (So Far)
I’ve come up with twelve categories of things that are key for any trip I plan and broken down what I’ve learned about each of them with regards to Medellín. Some might not apply to you (maybe you don’t drink alcohol, for example, or maybe you’re not an entrepreneur), but most should apply regardless of the trip you’re taking.
As a U.S. citizen, I do not need a visa to stay in Colombia for less than 90 days, which is what I’m planning to do. Indeed, this requirement was one of the reasons I chose 3 months as the duration of my stay – less paperwork involved.
If you’re trying to find visa information, the best resource will be your country’s own website on the subject. For Americans, this is the U.S. Department of State, which is where I got the information about visa requirements for Colombia. In general, just Google “[NAME OF COUNTRY] visa for [YOUR NATIONALITY].
2. Cost of Living
As I already discussed above, the cost of living in Medellín is quite low compared to my native Nashville, TN. Note that while the cost of living is lower overall, some things are actually more expensive. For example, according to Numbeo, clothing and gasoline are both more expensive in Medellín than in Nashville. Since I don’t plan to be driving or buying clothes while I’m there, this isn’t all that important to me.
Nonetheless, it’s important to examine not just how the cost of living in a place compares to where you’re from in general but also how it compares on goods and services that might be especially relevant to your life. Free wifi, for instance, is less common in some countries than others, much to the shock of those who are used to finding it in every corner coffee shop. Better to know that before arriving in a place, especially if you rely on a consistent internet connection to do your work.
3. Getting There
Since I live in Nashville, a city without direct international flights to effectively anywhere (maybe someday), I’ll have to fly out of another city to get to Medellín. Currently, it looks like I’ll be flying out of either Washington, D.C., or Miami and connecting through Panam City, Panama. Medellín has its own airport, though it’s apparently a bit outside the city (which is pretty common – no one wants to live next to an airport). A roundtrip flight will cost around $550, from what research I’ve done on Skyscanner.
According to the Aeropuerto José María Cordova website, it takes approximately 40 minutes to get from the airport to the center of the city via a $30 (USD) cab. A bus service is also available.
If your trip involves air travel, make sure you figure out how you’ll be getting from the airport to where you’re staying. There’s nothing to inspire dread like arriving in an unfamiliar country and having no idea how to get to where you’re staying, especially if you arrive late at night and are already jetlagged.
4. Entrepreneur Stuff
I know this won’t apply to everyone, but as I already mentioned, being able to network and interact with other entrepreneurs is something I consider wherever I go. Additionally, I also consider the following factors that are related to my work:
- Coworking Spaces – Since, from what I can tell, Medellín doesn’t have much of an internet entrepreneur coffee house culture, the best way to network with other entrepreneurs (especially locals) while also having access to fast internet is to join a coworking space. The two spaces I’m considering are Coecoworking and Casa 98. I’ll be touring both when I get there, but if anyone reading has thoughts on which is better (or knows about another that’s even better), I’m all ears.
- Internet Speed – From what I can tell, the internet speeds appear to be fast enough for the work I do. I don’t do web design/dev or graphics work, so I won’t need to upload any large files or do other things that require very fast internet. The only problem I can forsee is that the internet might not be fast enough for Skype video, but we’ll just have to see. Of course, I’m also going to stay at an Airbnb with internet access.
- Entrepreneur Organizations/Meetups – Poking around on Couchsurfing.com and Meetup.com, I’ve found a few groups that look relevant to my entrepreneurship and digital nomad interests. For instance, there’s the Meetup group Location Independent Entrepreneurs of Medellín and the general MEDELLÍN, Antioquia, Colombia Couchsurfing group (you have to be logged in to Couchsurfing to see the group). Whenever you’re visiting a new city, it’s worth checking both these sites to see what the local offerings are, especially if there are ones relevant to your interests (which there probably are).
Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, freelancer, or remote worker, you should still consider any special circumstances that apply to your life when planning your trip. What are your “must-haves”? What’s optional?
From the research I’ve done, opinions on the food in Colombia are, well, mixed. The general sentiment is that the local cuisine is good but not great (compared, for example, to Mexico). I’m always skeptical of assessments like this; I won’t know until check it out for myself.
One thing that’s pretty clear is this: the food in Medellín, at least, is cheap compared to the United States. Restaurant meals, for example, are on average ~70% cheaper than in my native Nashville (particularly as the recent advent of gentrification and hipsterism continues to push up prices. I love brunch and craft cocktails as much as the next millennial, but do we really need another overpriced eatery that does both?). Groceries fair similarly, with fresh produce being markedly cheaper (~50-80%).
As far as the national cuisine goes, popular dishes include the over-the-top bandeja paisa (think “every meat you can think of plus eggs, avocado, plantain, and rice), classics like arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), and distinctly Colombian treats such as chocolate con queso (cheese dipped in…chocolate? I’m game). Have a look at this article from The Culture Trip for more.
The general impression I get is one of lots of meat and fried things, which as a native Southerner sounds just fine. I’m also excited, however, to sample the abundant, uniquely Colombian fruits and vegetables, which should hopefully balance out the fried, greasy, meaty goodness.
(If you’re a teetotaler, you might want to skip this section).
Sampling local drinks is something I do wherever I travel. In the case of Colombia, the most obvious thing I’ll be sampling is aguardiente, a local anise-flavored spirit that is said to be the go-to local party drink. ¡Vamos de fiesta! Data from Numbeo indicates that drinking at bars is a good bit cheaper in Colombia than the U.S. I’m down.
As a lover of beer, I was also intrigued to learn of Cervecería Libre, a new craft beer bar and brewery in Medellín. They serve up their own housemade suds as well as other craft beers from around Colombia. While researching this article I also learned of the craft breweries Cerveza Apóstol and 3 Cordilleras, both of which have their home in or near Medellín. They offer tours; I will be taking them…for science, of course. Reports to follow.
When traveling anywhere, you should always consider how you’ll get around. I try to avoid traveling anywhere that requires a car, as I’ve neither the time nor money to deal with one; and, frankly, I don’t particularly enjoy driving. Plus you have to find a place to park it, which also often costs money, not to mention dealing with insurance and all that.
Luckily, Medellín has a cheap and abundant system of taxis, so getting around in the city is no problem. Colombia even has an Uber-like app called Tappsi that lets you summon a ride from your phone. What a time to be alive.
Beyond the taxis, Medellín (as already mentioned) also boasts a modern, extensive metro system, including the famous and much beloved Metrocable, which I’ll be riding for the view if nothing else.
Finally, flights within Colombia appear to be relatively inexpensive, especially compared to U.S. domestic flights (in this way it seems much like Europe – shoutout to easyJet). I don’t know how much I’ll make use of these flights, but it’s good to know they’re an option.
Wherever you travel, make sure you assess the local transportation options. Especially when choosing where to stay, see how close your accommodation is to the metro or other public transportation – or, even better, opt for somewhere within biking or walking distance of necessities.
In many cases, the extra cost of staying somewhere more central can actually save money you’d otherwise spend on taxi rides or metro service. I learned this the hard way in Amsterdam, when I found a “great deal” on a place in Hoofddorp…which was a thirty minute metro ride from the city center. I easily spent $50 on getting back and forth, when I could have just stayed in the center for a few more dollars per night (not to mention lots of saved time).
8. Things to Do
What to do in a new city? That’s always the question. It’s impossible to know all that there is to do in a place until you get there. That’s part of the joy of travel–finding random things you could never have imagined. Still, I like to go into a place with some idea of things to do.
From what I can tell, the following are some “must-do” things in Medellín:
- Visit the parks – They’re public, huge, and numerous.
- Go to the museums – The Museo de Antioquia (the Museum of Antioquia, the department where Medellín is located) and the Museo Casa de la Memoria (“The House of Memory Museum,” a museum dedicated to educating people about the past and present conflict in Colombia) both look superb.
- Participate in language exchanges – I’ve already read about several on both Couchsurfing and Meetup, and I intend to attend. These can be a great way to both learn a new language and make new friends.
- Do “outdoor activities” – Just outside the city there’s tell of paragliding, hiking, and picturesque mountains galore.
- Go out – It’s supposed to be a very social country, with lots of going out and partying. Can’t let that get in the way of work, but I’m not going to neglect it, either.
- Whatever else I might find – I have to leave room for surprises. I suggest you do the same in your travels.
Cash is still king in Medellín, according to sites like Colombia Backpacking. And this cash comes in denominations that can look a bit strange to anyone used to USD, EUR, or GBP. The Colombian Peso (COP) comes in bills that range from denominations of 1000 to 50,000.
From what I’ve read, the best way to think of this if you’re used to dealing in dollars is to imagine the $1000 notes are like $1 bills (or €1/£1 coins, for those in Europe). That is by no means a correct approximation of the actual exchange rate, but it works for me.
Because cash is the way to go, and because currency exchanges suck and are a pretty big rip-off, the best way to get cash is one we’re all very familiar with: the good ole ATM. Since I have a Charles Schwab investor checking account, I can withdraw cash from any ATM in the world with zero fees. I’m excited to leverage this ability in Colombia and throughout my travels.
The main thing I’ve heard in regard to Colombian ATMs, especially if you’re a foreigner, is to always withdraw from ones located within malls or other buildings, and only do so in broad daylight. Doing otherwise makes you a great target for thieves. This is no different from ATM safety anywhere else in the world–you should always avoid making yourself an easy target (dar papaya, as it’s called in Colombia).
Mind you, I don’t want to give the impression that credit and debit cards aren’t accepted in Medellín. It’s just that most of the sites I’ve read suggest only using these cards for big purchases or emergencies. Makes sense to me. I grew quite accustomed to doing the same in Europe due to the exorbitant foreign transaction fees charged by my U.S. bank (which shall remain unnamed, but it rhymes with “lesions”).
Whenever I do use a credit card, I plan to use one meant for travelers, one with no foreign transaction fees and, ideally, a useful rewards program. Charles Schwab fits the bill for no foreign transaction fees, but I’m still shopping around for a card that offers the second benefit. Probably something from this page.
The lesson to take away here is that you should never assume the money works the same way abroad. Always read up on local customs and make sure you prepare accordingly.
- Colombia Money – Discover Colombia! (includes photos of the various bills discussed above)
- Digital Nomad Banking 101 – The Yoga Nomads (a great primer even if you’re just looking to do a long trip)
- Banking and Money Tips for Study Abroad Students – The Study Abroad Blog (the guide I consulted before studying abroad. I should have paid better attention to the part about avoiding foreign transaction fees.)
Please, let me emphasize first that I am not a style blogger. This is an area that I’m trying to learn more about, but I’m far from being a super-sharp dresser. My main aim with regards to travel clothing is to pick things that are light, easy to care for, and that won’t get me mugged or peg me as a super obvious foreigner (this last part is kind of tricky when you’re 6 ft 1 with a giant beard).
The type of clothing that fits this description varies depending on the country. For much of Europe, the advice I found was just to dress a little nicer than you might be accustomed to as an American. And to avoid wearing shorts (this was no problem–it was never warm enough to warrant doing so).
For “Latin America” in general, the advice is this: people dress more formally than Americans are used to. As Joseph J. Keenan explains in his superb book Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish, “Dressing down has not yet caught on in most Latin cultures, perhaps because millions of people dress that way for reasons not related to fashion.”
It’s always true that your clothes make a statement about you, but in the case of places like Colombia, they make an even stronger statement. This can be a very positive or negative one; it’s up to you.
I like the way this post from Go Backpacking puts it:
When you dress shabbily [in Latin America]….you’re associating yourself immediately with some very ‘undesirable’ people that no one else wants to be associated with…
Ouch. We don’t want any of that. What to do instead? Honestly, it’s not terribly difficult. My go-to guide for how to dress in Medellín is this one from Medellín Living. Don’t worry, there’s a women’s version, too. It appears that things in Medellín are a little less formal than some other parts of Latin America, though it’s possible that things may be getting less formal in general. I’ll let you know once I’ve spent some time “on the ground.”
The key points for how to dress in Medellín seem to be the following:
- No shorts
- No weird “travel clothes” that make you look like a tourist (good advice for pretty much everywhere)
- Collared shirts for men
- Close-toed shoes (this appears to be more for men as well)
Wherever you go, you should pay attention to how you dress. At best, it will help you fit in and make friends with the locals; at the very least, it will keep you from getting robbed or disrespecting local customs.
- Men’s Fashion in South America – My Latin Life (aka, “how to avoid dressing like a gringo slob”)
- Look, Mommy, a Gringo – Bootsnall (a primer on other matters of etiquette besides just clothing–definitely an essential read for gringos traveling to Latin America)
I’ve already discussed some of Medellín’s cultural offerings in the form of museums, but there are certainly other cultural sites I plan to check out.
Here are a few:
- Murals and street art in Comuna 13
- Public parks
- Everything on this list and this list
- The public libraries
I hate to be so brief here, but this is a topic that I plan to write about extensively in the future, and I really prefer to let my own experience guide me here. Expect much, much more in the future.
For any trip, encountering the arts and culture is, in my opinion, one of the best things you can do to really get to know a place. Like the “Things to Do” section, you should let your spontaneous experience and intuition guide you above all. Walk down the street and see what you can find!
An accurate accent is powerful because it is the ultimate gesture of empathy. It connects you to another person’s culture in a way that words never can, because you have bent your body as well as your mind to match that person’s culture.
– Gabriel Wyner, Fluent Forever
No travel plan would be complete without considering the local language. For the most part, my travels up to now have been in places where English was the primary language (United States, Ireland, UK) or a widely spoken second language (Iceland, The Netherlands, Austria).
In planning future travels, one of my goals has been to break out of speaking only English when I travel. An “easy” way to do this is to visit places that force you to speak another language. Because the language I’m currently learning is Spanish, Medellín is a perfect choice. Spanish is the number one spoken language there, so I won’t face surprises like the one I found in Barcelona, where I learned that Spanish is most people’s second language, with Catalan being the first.
Language learning is a big part of my travel–indeed, I learn languages precisely to make my travel more rich. Wherever you go, I encourage you to learn at least a few words of the local language. Even just basic pleasantries such as “Hello,” “Please,” and “Thank you” go a long way toward making a positive, friendly impression.
Of course, I encourage you to get beyond the basics and learn even more about the language if you can, especially if you’re going to spend an extended period of time in a place. Even getting to A2 fluency opens up a new world previously unavailable to you. As Nelson Mandela put it, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
I’m excited to learn everything I can about the Spanish of Colombia and, for the first time, truly live through another language. I plan for it to be the beginning of a lifelong journey of language learning and language practice.
I hope this post has served as a useful case study in how to plan an extensive trip such as my one to Medellín. When planning your own travels, it’s not necessary to go into quite this much detail. For this trip, however, I plan to document every stage, so expect more updates like this (the next one probably in a few months).
For the moment, I continue to save money, research, learn Spanish, and work on projects that will support me while I travel (such as this site). I have yet to fix an exact date of departure, though I’m planning on the end of August 2017. Hard to believe that’s only seven months away as I write this.
In the meantime, expect plenty more travel tips and stories. I have a trip to Denver, Colorado, coming up in March, along with the possibility of a road trip sometime in the summer. I’ll definitely be doing write-ups of those.
Have you been to Medellín, to Colombia, or Latin America? Or do you call one of those places home? Share your experiences and tips in the comments section below.