In love with Locombia, and more. Disfruta el mundo is a travel blog that will take you to the Caribbean - and make you want to stay there.
Pinned post - 18 April 2017
Hola! Welcome (back) to Disfruta el mundo! As a short introduction for new readers, here's a list of some things that me and my blog like: Avocados, adventures, airports (but we are terrified of flying), Coffee, champagne, Colombia. Dancing, day-dreaming, dolphins. Sea, sunsets, sushi (Ok, the list could go on and on, I'm not going to do the whole alphabet). We believe in doing things that make us happy, we make friends easily and we are curious to discover new places and cultures. We are brave, and work hard to follow our dreams. We try to keep a positive attitude to life, and are always willing to help others. And of course we sometimes go crazy, get lost and find ourselves in the weirdest situations. But hey, life is an adventure, right? So if you feel like we could get along, keep reading.
I’ve been missing it. So much. That feeling when you step out from the air-conditioned airport somewhere far away in a southern country, and you are welcomed by a warm summer breeze. The warmth feels so good after a long and cold winter in Europe. And then there is the smell of summer, a scent that you can only feel when you’ve been in the cold for a too long time. You just have to stop for a second to breathe and take it all in. Ever since I was a kid and travelled to Spain every winter, this smell of summer at the airport is one of those things that always makes me happy. It comes with a thrill of excitement, start of holidays, start of an adventure. You all know how much I loathe the dark, rainy and chilly winter we have in Paris (or even worse, Finland!), but the only reason why I would maybe not want to live permanently in a warm country, is simply that I would not get to experience this joy that I am feeling now.
Atardecer is a word that I quickly learnt when I moved to Cartagena. The definition in Spanish could be: "Llegar la última hora de la tarde, cuando disminuye la luz del sol." Twilight, nightfall, dusk, whatever you want to call it, in Cartagena atardacer is the best part of the day. The temperature gets more bearable, and you can finally truly enjoy being outside. After a day of work or tourist touring in the heat, it is time to cool down. And what could be better than to sip a cold beer, a glass of wine or a tasty cocktail, on a terrace in the early evening breeze? Well, nothing really. These are my favorite atardecer-spots, go try out and share your experience in the comments.
Women traveling alone seems to be the hot topic in the travel world. At 25, a recent Uni graduate and ready to start a career, I announced that I was about to leave for Latin America. I wanted to do something completely different, and had decided to travel in Cuba and then volunteer with a non-profit organization in Colombia. An independent Scandinavian girl, living in international, gender-equal and open-minded Europe, I still got more than enough of rolling eyes and perplexed (read: annoying) questions: “Shouldn’t you be settling down and doing something serious?” “Alone, don’t you have a boyfriend or friends to travel with?” and “To Colombia! That’s way too dangerous for a girl!”
Sure, I could have found a job and started a responsible adult life, but I didn't. Also, I like a lot traveling with my friends, don't get me wrong, but this time I wanted to really challenge myself and experience it on my own. And it was great. However, to truly understand how it is to choose a different path, and despite a general disapproval become a vibrant, cosmopolite woman traveler, I would like you to meet my friend Aida. She is a not-so-typical 30-something Bolivian, with a big heart and big dreams. Embark the adventure and discover what she has to share with other solo woman travelers, and those who aspire to be like us.
That is one thing that I really can't understand. Last year when I lived in Cartagena, many people were enthusing about Tierra Bomba, how great it is as a relaxed Sunday beach destination, and how much easier it is to get there than to Playa Blanca. All this is true, I know it now. I think I just liked Playa Blanca so much (I still do though), and when I didn't want to go far I contented myself with city beaches in Bocagrande, Marbella and La Boquilla (but they are not as nice). For some reason I didn't try out Tierra Bomba until this year on my holidays in Cartagena. But once I did, it was hard to bring me back to the mainland.
That is the small and idyllic fishermen's village Rincon del Mar, perfectly located on a white-sand beach and next to the sublime San Bernando islands, one of Colombia's treasures. In the department of Sucre, a short bus and moto-taxi ride south from the magical city of Cartagena, awaits Rincon and the staff of hostel Mamallena, who will welcome you with open arms to stay with them for a couple of relaxing days (or longer if you feel so...). Wake up with the sun rising over the Caribbean Sea. Take a day-trip to a nearby island. Go kayaking, snorkelling or paddle-boarding in the turquoise water. Spend a lazy afternoon tanning and reading a book in a hammock. Be sportive and go horseback riding around the town with a local guide. Admire the sunset on the terrace with your new Mamallena friends. Enjoy a romantic dinner on the beach, and fill your stomach with delicious and affordable shrimps, lobster and coconut rice. And then, just have a good night of sleep. Sounds tempting? It does, I know.
These past 5 months back in Paris have gone in a blur. After two relaxing weeks of holidays, wandering around in sunny Paris and reuniting with my friends and family, I started a new job and was forced to readapt to a 9 to 5-schedule and to a life full of responsibilities. Those careless days traveling around the Caribbean coast of Colombia were soon far behind. In many ways life in Paris is great. For starters, I am lucky to have a job that I like and an apartment that I love (none of these is a given here), and amazing friends to spend time with. I appreciate the everyday luxury of hot showers, real supermarkets, cleanliness and absence of mosquitos, as well as the possibility to walk around in (almost) any neighborhood without worries.
We don’t have a sea or beaches here but les quais de Seine are always as beautiful to stroll on. Yet to speak of the endless narrow cobble stone streets, parks and beautiful buildings, small cute boutiques one after another. The old city of Cartagena is a lot like a miniature Paris, and maybe that is why I liked it so much there. Moreover, being back I’ve noticed how much I enjoy the Parisian lifestyle and being a bon vivant. Going out, not only on weekends but on any day of the week, discovering the overwhelming choice of restaurants, bars and (roof top) terraces. Drinking wine and eating terrible amounts of bread and cheese. In the beginning I just let myself be free. I had missed it so much and I told myself that it was ok to enjoy the end of the summer and to go out almost every evening. Now I’m trying to control myself at bit more but sometimes I just don't care, I hear somebody even said that a glass of wine per day is good for health. This is the part of Paris that I love. There are so many different neighborhoods, so many different things to do, so many lovely places to see. In no amount of time could I ever get bored of Paris. I know this is the city where I am supposed to live.
For those who don't follow me on Facebook, yes I have arrived back to Paris. However, the return has not been as smooth as I expected (if I ever expected that the return to Paris could be smooth) but petit à petit, day by day, I'm getting used to it and starting to feel better and at home.
This is it then. I feel overwhelmed; strange but somehow happy. 199 days (200 when I land), 5 countries, 74 posts, 80 300 words, 1520 pictures. I want to thank you all for reading this blog and for following my travels. Your likes, comments, inquiries and support mean the world for me. Should you have any questions regarding the places I visited, volunteering, or anything else, keep contacting me, I'm happy to help. I hope you have enjoyed reading my stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.
As authors often do, I wrote this last chapter long ago, when I was traveling in Cuba. Back then I promised myself that I would keep an open mind for changes and for other opportunities that would certainly come along. I reminded myself that I was free to do exactly what I wanted, that I wasn’t tied to anything or anyone. That if I wanted, I could keep traveling to exciting places, and I could find a job anywhere in the world.
But somehow I knew it all along, that I would not change my mind. And I haven’t. On this day 199 of my Caribbean life, there is really only one thing I want to say. As always, one picture tells more than thousand words, and I think this picture speaks for itself.
I'm going home.
I have a strange relationship with Miami. First of all, I don't seem to get out from South Beach because I like it so much. Second, I'm always sick here (pfff). But even if I'm sick I always manage to have a good time. Miami has already become to me like a hideaway from the real world, and a break between trips or chapters in my life. Last time it was to escape to the civilisation for a couple of days between Jamaica and Cuba, and I really made the most of it. This time, I'm here to take a break and clear my head between Cartagena and Paris. It is good because I don't think I could have handled arriving from Cartagena directly to Paris. Miami is my safe haven, I don't really belong here but it's nice to be somewhere in between and not to think about anything before facing my new life.
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!