We’d been in Lima a few weeks. We’d been searching for vans and planning our route. All we wanted was to get on the road. But then, disaster struck Peru.
The huaycos (landslides) destroyed a lot of highways. Thousands of people lost their homes. Others passed away. Watching the news every night was beyond awful. People floating away in enormous SUVs, others being pulled out of the mud, children crying for their parents.
Lima was experiencing power and water cuts. Suburbs just 15 minutes away had been badly damaged. There was an end-of-the-world like scramble at the shops as water, food, and supplies disappeared off the shelves. Food and water prices skyrocketed.
Mao’s family bought enough food for the next month. No one was sure when things would return to normal, or how long the building’s underground water tank would last for. There was an eerie feel in the air.
At a loss for what we should do, we did something incredibly privileged. We booked flights to Colombia, and left the next day.
It felt strange to just pack and up go. But we also felt like a burden on the city. Routes we had planned on driving had been destroyed. We had no good leads on a van. We weren’t even sure if a van was the best choice, maybe we should just travel like everyone else.
As Mao put it, the worst to happen to us was that we went on a holiday. Thousands of others had just lost everything. It forced us to open our eyes and appreciate just how privileged we really are.
And honestly, when we arrived in Bogota, the disaster in Peru felt a million miles away. I guess because we were tasting our first real taste of traveling abroad together. That taste grabbed us, and took front and centre in our minds.
Blowing it in Colombia
Not in that way, you’ve been watching too much Narcos. More like the oh shit we’ve spent so much more money than we thought we would way. In that way, we really blew it.
We stayed in the cheapest / nicest hotels / Air BnBs we could find. We ate the El Menu de el Dia every day. We didn’t even go into museums that were more than $5.
But we did splurge on a trip to the San Andres and Providencia Islands in the Colombian Caribbean. It was one of those if not now, when moments.
My mum always used to talk about money as ‘tokens’, a thing we give power to, or let have power over us. We never had many tokens growing up, but we didn’t give that fact all the power and we had a lot of other riches like time, and adventures.
No one can deny money’s very real value. But on this trip, we realised we would happily exchange our tokens for experiences we would never forget, to go to places we were unlikely to return to.
Even if it did mean we blew our budget big time. But was it worth it? Well take a look below, and you decide…
So many steps up! Endless views, warm sunshine, vibrant buildings, watching the world go by.
Humid, busy, charming, historic, beautiful. Our little base in the north.
All day motorbike rides, jumping off cliffs, swimming with fish, chilling on the beach.
Lazy exploring, swimming with turtles, deserted beaches, views, chilling, incredibly cool people.
Tayrona national park, incredible lush landscapes, where the jungle meets the beach, ancient rocks, families, forest, gold flecked sand, floating in the ocean.
Cooler, moody, lush landscapes, getting lost, finding this waterfall, silence.