Until we meet again instead of saying goodbye
It’s time to say goodbye to one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been. Colombia has stolen my heart. From day one I felt like a lovesick teenager in this country.
I fell in love with the people, who are so sweet and helpful. So patient, even though it sometimes takes forever to formulate the correct Spanish phrases. So proud of their country. So happy that there finally are people who want to visit their magnificent Colombia. So full of life. Most people here are not rich, but what does that actually mean: be rich? People are in my opinion rich when they enjoy life as if each day is their last. And maybe that’s just sometimes the way the Colombians look at life after so many tough and difficult years. Years of war. Drugs. Liquidations. Running. Fear. Hunger. Ignorance. But this has not turned off the fire in their hearts. On the contrary, they live like never before.
I fell in love with the sceneries. How can one country have so much diversity? I walked through beautiful valleys and sweated every drop of sweat out of my body in bloody hot deserts. I flew over breathtaking canyons and was intensely happy when I saw the views over the lush green coffee plantations. I spotted the most exotic animals and my heart skipped a beat every time I saw a hummingbird. I fell in love with the atmosphere in the country. I enjoyed the vibe in the big cities, each with its own identity. I strolled through colorful villages and imagined myself as if I was in different ages. I felt how the sunrays touched my face and how the raindrops offered me refreshment. I danced the salsa with smooth Colombians and other, less flexible, travelers. I felt the warm sand between my toes and dove into the water on the most beautiful spots. I did it all.
Colombia is the first country I traveled to on my own since my father passed away. I went in the last months to some other countries, but there was always someone with who I could share stories about my father. I will not deny that sometimes there are tough moments. There are still days that I open my mail to send a message to my father, to find out that I no longer can do that. Every day you meet so many other travelers, but most conversations are global, superficial. The death of your father is not something to talk about within five minutes. On the other hand, people surprise you sometimes. The boys from New Zealand with whom I traveled recently knew about it, listened as I wanted to tell a story about my father and knew the right moment to give a hug.
My father and I both love, or loved, the water and the ocean so much. My travelcompanions and I were walking back the other day from the beach to the hostel.
The sky was all orange and I had a really strong feeling that my father was there. I slowed down, gave a sign to one of the boys that it was okay if they walked further and sat down at a quiet spot on the beach. For more than half an hour I looked at the water, listened to the waves and let the tears roll down my cheeks. And you know what? It was okay. I needed it. I want to remind my father in joy, but sometimes that’s just incredibly difficult.
Saying goodbye is hard. To places, to people. Therefore, I actually do not like the verb ‘say goodbye’. ‘To meet again’ is a better verb. I’m pretty sure I will return to Colombia. I’m sure I’m going to see some people I’ve met during my trip again. And I am sure that my father and I will see each other again, wherever that may be.