I have just returned to Bogota after a weekend in Medellín to celebrate Australia Day. I don’t necessarily believe in glorification of imaginary lines but I do appreciate the borderless sharing of experience that occurs when people agree to celebrate together; a big party is not too bad either. This would also be the last time I would see my friends I have been traveling with for so long. The beauty of Medellín and the fiestas that followed were a fitting end to our adventures together.
I had an amazing time and it was not hard to make new friends. The atmosphere at our hostel was incredible with the excitement of Australia Day infecting even the other nationalities. On our second day we were in a bus headed up a mountain to paraglide over the city of Medellín. It was a decision that had only been made some hours beforehand while a group of us, under the influence of alcohol, expressed how much we all respectively wanted to go paragliding. So we signed up for the trip leaving the following morning. I hardly had time to think about it when I was woken up from my bed and immediately escorted to a van heading for the top of a mountain.
The whole experience was almost indescribable, soaring over Medellín caught in the draft between the mountains, circling around like a bird and lying back as the instructor navigated the clouds. It was honestly one of the most exhilarating and relaxing experiences of my life and it completely dissolved my hangover. I could not wipe the smile off my face and I was laughing with happiness. Each successive party and of course the big one just made me happier still, but melancholy about the fact that soon it would come to an end. I enjoyed every second with my friends and the others I met, and was afraid of what would come next. I was going to be alone for probably the first real time in my life.
We spend our whole lives trying not to be lonely that we forget what it feels like to be alone. Just 20 minutes after the Australia Day celebrations had ended in the backseat of a taxi traveling to the airport at 5am I was finally alone. I had severed the comfort of sharing the burden of decision, of reliance, of familiarity, and a friend who was the last piece of the only home I have ever known. I was actually laughing to myself in the taxi, a big grin on my face; I felt like I was paragliding again. It is my journey now, I can finally test myself, I now have no excuse, I am forced to grow. The mystery, the experience, all of it, is an opportunity to truly become a better human being. And all it took was saying goodbye, for now at least, to what had up until this point, made me happiest. It might sound sad but this experience of being alone is opportunity, opportunity to escape comfort, and the friendships I have can never be lost. I am truly happy and wish my friends luck and love.
“If you are not willing to risk then you cannot grow. And if you cannot grow then you cannot be your best. And if you cannot be your best then you cannot be happy. And if you cannot be happy then what else is there?”
(Bogota – Medellín, Colombia)