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Journal #22: Medellin!

This is from a journal written on February 10, 2022, from Medellin, Colombia.


Ok, first thing's first – we love traveling on Saturdays. It's the best way to jump straight into action when visiting a new city. And that's precisely what we did our first night in Medellin.


Our flight was supposed to be on Sunday, but three weeks in Cartagena is plenty of time, and we did not feel the need to spend another Saturday night in the city. So we switched our flights two days before. Since I got a premium fare for the original flight, we could change the flights to leave Saturday for only $40.


I have been booking basic fares for all of our flights so far, but the flight was so cheap from Cartagena to Medellin that I decided to spend a 'lil more for first class. I think that's why it was pretty cheap to change so last minute. Present me would like to thank past me for trying to be boujee on this particular flight.


Also, I'm starting to feel like my Spanish is flowing better.

I took several years of Spanish in high school and college and studied abroad in a small town in Spain during my third year of college (where the locals didn't speak a lick of English). I was basically fluent by the end of my time in Spain. However, that was over three years ago, and I had since lost any ability to speak with confidence.


Now, though, after traveling through Latin countries for two whole months, my Spanish has gradually made a come-back.


On the taxi ride to the Cartagena airport and the Uber ride from the Medellin airport to our new hostel, I talked to our drivers with some success and was able to carry on a conversation!



The Selina in Medellin is dope and is located in a sick area, El Poblado, with bars, restaurants, and shops galore. We immediately walked around the neighborhood and quickly fell in love.


Walking around, it seems like someone took a trendy metro neighborhood and plopped it down in the middle of the jungle. Well, I mean, we're still in the middle of the 4 million person city of Medellin and surrounded by apartment buildings and sky-rises. BUT this area is nestled between tropical trees, plants and there is a gorgeous river cutting right through it all.


It's enchanting.




We grabbed beers, watched some Italian soccer, then returned to Selina to prepare for the night.


Now, when you get to a new city and don't know anything about the nightlife or have anyone to go out with, you have two options:

  1. Wonder the streets yourself and discover cool bars through trial and error.

  2. Pregame at your hostel bar and meet people who either know what's up or are down to do #1 with you.

We prefer the latter.


And when traveling with someone like Brett, making friends has never been an issue. However, on this particular night, we decided to play a game.

Here's how the game works (Brett came up with this on the spot):


Step 1: Order tequila shots (or any drink, really, but tequila is my fave).


Step 2: Think of a question (i.e. What is your favorite color?).


Step 3: Think of your answer to the question but don't share it.


Step 4: Guess each other's answers.


Step 5: If you guess right, you're in the clear. If you guess wrong, you have the choice of either drinking tequila OR going up to a random group of people to start a quick convo (with the goal of meeting people to go out with, of course).


Step 6: Repeat.


Brett opted to talk to people a few times, and I opted for the tequila every time. But on the last round, Brett changed the rules. If I lost, I had to go up to someone. I agreed to the new terms.


However, when I did lose, I randomly got so nervous to talk to strangers! I didn't want to do it.

Brett insisted, "Come on, Tay, you got this."


"But I don't want to do it! Can I please just drink my tequila?" I pleaded with him.


"Nope," his stubborn side was starting to kick in. "You gotta do things that scare you. You'll feel so great after!"


Ugh, I knew he was right. Plus, I remembered one of my trip goals was to do something that scared me in every country. I think I've gotten so used to being around mega-extravert Brett that I lost a little of my super-social side.


After some back and forth, it was apparent that I wouldn't win this one. So, I downed the rest of my tequila, waltzed over to a group of three people, and led with:


"Hey! What are you doing tonight?"


The couple seemed entirely uninterested in my moment of courage, so I glanced at the guy to their right. He admitted he had no plans for the night, but it turns out this guy is from San Diego! What are the odds?


We chatted for a bit, then he followed me back to where Brett was sitting at the bar so we could all take a shot together.


A few more people came up to us shortly after, and, boom, we had a squad.


Me, Bert, San Diego guy, another San Diego guy, a French girl from London, and a German guy named Yan.

We hit the streets of El Poblano in search of electronic music and found a club that supposedly had three floors; one for rap music, one for reggaeton, and one for house music. Perfect.


But when we got to the "house music" level, there was only one person up there, the DJ. Classic, Latin America. So, we went back down to the most poppin' floor (reggaeton, of course) and partied the night away.




Comuna 13


The next day, after shaking off a surprisingly mild hangover, we took a tour of the infamous Comuna 13.


Brett and I usually don't like to take tours. The idea of a person talking at us through a megaphone never sounds appealing. But we did book a tour for Comuna 13 (thanks for the recommendation, Rob), and we're so glad we did. Also, this one was a free tour, but we, of course, tipped our guide at the end.


Our guide grew up in the neighborhood, and we got a 2-hour history lesson from her while stopping to admire local graffiti and landmarks.


We learned that this place was considered the most dangerous neighborhood in one of the most dangerous cities in the world just twenty years ago. This was primarily due to the comuna's geographic location and its advantage for drug trafficking and many political and social divides at the time.


Today, it's thriving with art, dance, and a strong community. There's even free wifi in the parks to deter drug deals from going down. When we visited one of these parks, it was teeming with families and children.


It rained the entire time but was still one of the coolest places I've seen on our trip.















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My boyfriend and I started our digital nomad journey in December 2021. We're just starting out and want to share all the ups and downs with you!

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