Last week we celebrated five years of travel, can you believe that? I still vividly remember waving goodbye to our families at Heathrow in 2013, clutching our brand-new backpacks and one-way tickets to New Zealand, heading off on what we thought would be a two-year trip around the world. Yet, here we are in Colombia five years later, reflecting on both the amazing and tough aspects of this nomadic lifestyle we’ve managed to carve for ourselves.
Picture a town nestled amongst forested peaks, with dusty trails leading to icy waterfalls and panoramic viewpoints. Welcome to Minca, our favourite place in Colombia. This tiny oasis in the Sierra Nevada mountain range is a haven for trekkers and nature lovers, full of diverse wildlife such as hummingbirds and toucans. From touring coffee and cacao farms to bathing in waterfalls, here are our top things to do in Minca, how to get there and where to stay.
There are two bird statues in San Antonio Square in Medellin Colombia. One is discoloured and gnarled, destroyed by a bomb in 1995 that killed 22 people who were enjoying a music concert. The second bird is identical save for the fact that it’s shiny and whole. These Pajaros de Paz, Birds of Peace, are a stark reminder of Medellin's troubled past, but also of its transformation from the most dangerous to the most innovative city in the world.
This week has been all about the tiny town of Minca, set in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Colombia. Here the forests are dotted with icy waterfalls and the skies filled with the calls of tropical birds. Despite a bout of food poisoning and being covered in itchy bug bites, we’ve hiked, toured cacao farms and hung out in a rustic retreat where a scorpion lived in our open-air bathroom.
Cartagena was our first destination in Colombia and we fell for its colourful, historical charm. The port city is set on the Caribbean coast and boasts a tropical climate, 16th century UNESCO Old Town, imposing fort and nearby white-sand beaches. Colonised by the Spanish, Cartagena is Colombia’s largest port and one of its top tourist draws. If you’re visiting the city, find out about its top sights, where to stay and how to get around in our Cartagena guide.
'Welcome to the USA', the sign was just visible above a sea of people crammed into the arrivals terminal at Fort Lauderdale Airport. It was nearly midnight and after a nine-hour flight from London, we'd now been stuck in immigration queues for almost four hours. The perfect start to our two-day layover in Miami, right?
Tomorrow we set off for Colombia! We’ve been talking about this South America trip for so many years that it’s taken on a surreal, dream-like quality for me. Now it’s a tangible thing. This time tomorrow we’ll be zooming across the sky to the other side of the world. Here’s a look at how we’ve prepared for this adventure, from buying a new camera to organising insurance, researching visas and compiling our packing list.
January isn’t the best time for a seaside break in the UK, but when The Cumberland Hotel invited us to stay with them in Bournemouth, we couldn’t resist the chance to visit our former home, which has also been voted the top seaside town in the UK. After a low-key New Year’s Eve, it was great to kick off 2018 with a serene break on the coast before we head to South America.
Despite having just booked one-way tickets to Colombia, Andrew and I have been talking a lot lately about finding a future base in Europe. As much as we love our freedom, we know that after our South American adventures we’ll need to find a base in Europe where we can hang up our backpacks, work and save for the years ahead, but where could that base possibly be? Well, I think we found our answer when we rocked up in Porto.