Tag Archives: SiemprePerdido

Dogs of Colombia: A Photo Essay

For anyone who has traveled in Latin America, you are aware of the number of dogs wandering the streets. Some are house pets just out for a stroll. But most are stray- to be clear, we avoided many, many dogs for hygienic and safety reasons. These friends we made  were all friendly and safe and as clean as can be expected when living outside on a farm or beach…

She was our first love. Up in the mountains in Minca. She didn’t actually live at this hostel and eventually got kicked out. We never even got to say goodbye…

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This beauty lived at the hostel in Taganga… went back into our room and got the bejeezus scared out of me seeing a face peeking out from under the bed apparently her favorite spot to nap.

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Tiniest, cutest puppy ever!!

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This was our first time camping out on someones farm. This pup ran up to help us cook. And knock things over. And bite our hands. And in general be as annoying as possible…

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Second time camping on a a farm. They had many dogs but Chocolate here was the friendliest and snuggliest.

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This big boy was at a stop we made not long after cresting a mountain peak. After sitting and warming up with a cup of deep black joe, he kept blocking my way so I couldn’t leave. Ok fine, I’ll stay a bit longer to give you the loves…

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The route this day was pretty flat. And seeing a bunch of dogs on the side of the road, and having learned from past experience, I slowed way down and stayed on guard for how these dogs would react to me and my bike. They barked a bit then most left me alone…except this guy. He started running along beside me. I stopped, and he stood and waited. I gave him some crackers, which he ignored and we started off again. He stayed with me for at least 15 minutes! Stopping when I stopped, though not getting close enough for me to pet him. Eventually I got to a town and he went a different way. I thought for sure we finally had an official bike tour dog!

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While visiting Bogota we used CouchSurfing, met a wonderful family who also had a dog. We quickly became bffs.

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Another hostel dog. He was always tied up and every time I passed him on my way to the tent I spent a few minutes hanging out.

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Our last night camping in Colombia. The pavilion did surprisingly little to stop the rain. But this guy loved playing fetch with a plastic bottle and did not mind at all to track his wet little paws all over our stuff.

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Moral of the story: I love dogs.

 

Humans of Colombia

I’d say that 90% of the people I told I was going to Colombia, or that I went to Colombia responded with some version of “But it’s so dangerous!”.

(the other 10% were other bicyclists who were like – “Woah! Have fun and good luck with the Andes”)

I have met many people, including other Colombians who have had dangerous experiences in Colombia. But I want to be very clear that this is a country of beauty, and I don’t just mean the nature (which is surreal, by the way). What I’m referring to now are the people. Just as with any other place I’ve traveled, its the people I’ve met and the friends I made that create my favorite experiences.

For example, the couple the flagged me down on the side of the road and offered me coffee. We chatted about how beautiful the country is and how much we all loved Colombia- how inspiring to meet someone so passionate about his country!

IMG_0367Or the guy who saw me struggling up our first mountain and drove back to bring me a gatorade saying ‘mucho respecto’ and driving away before I could properly thank him. I stood stunned, almost cried, and then promptly chugged half the bottle.

Or the guy in a small mountain town who saw us ride in and offered to buy us a drink and snack from a bakery- which of course we said yes and got our favorite cookies- just because he was so impressed with what we were doing.

And the girl who stopped me to practice her English, introduced me to her whole family, and offered delicious coffee without pausing to hesitate.

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And the man who saw us late at night with our bikes eating dinner, asked if we needed someplace to stay, then led us to his house and let 6 of us camp outside and stay up celebration our first night of tour with his whole family just inside.

And the guy who drove a potato truck and gave us a ride further up the mountain (to be fair Casey and Sam did help him load some of the potato bags- I was too far behind and arrived just intake to load our bikes. bummer).

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On the potato truck!

And one of my favorite times was getting stopped by a pick up truck
on a rocky mountain road. He asked if I wanted a ride (apparently I just looked like a wreck)and I said yes please. I soon learned the driver was the mayor of the town IMG_0185we had just left. The MAYORWe picked up Sam and Casey and learned that the car behind were other city leaders as well and they were all headed to the same meeting in the next town. We got out to
snap this photo, and then they bought us all coca-colas and some chorizo and we never saw them again!

And of course, there were our couch surfing hosts from Bogota. They were gracious, and friendly, and welcoming, and fantastic cooks and made us feel like family immediately.

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And of course, there were plenty of people who wanted pictures with us. Young girls would shyly ask to take a picture with me, groups of people would gather around to welcome us and get photographic proof 3 gringos on bikes passed through their town. It was silly and weird and kind of awkward but beautiful and special all the same.

Colombia has some dangerous places, of course. But it is so, so much more than that- it’s caribbean coast line, it’s the tranquil, endless Andes, it’s massive cities and tiny villages, it’s people who are rich with gratitude, passion, curiosity and kindness.

Bike Tour Complete: Check!

I’ve been sitting here all day trying to think of what I can say to sum up my trip as it comes to an end. I still have a million more posts to write about our adventures; time just flew by. And yet here I am without words. All of the places and people and views and moments are flashing through my mind on a continuous reel forcing me to relive my time in Colombia.

It feels like a dream.
I can’t believe it happened.
I can’t believe the two people who I spent nearly every minute of everyday together for three months are got on planes the other day and I don’t know when I’ll see them again.
The trip was a whirlwind. Everything happened “about a week ago” and yet an eternity has passed. It’s a typical way for travelers to feel, I know that. But this trip was not just about seeing cool places. This trip was a game changer.
It changed forever the way I want to explore. It changed the way I view challenges. The way I handle things that seem scary. And most importantly, it changed the way I view myself.
I learned my worst habits are the words I use to describe myself and what I can and cannot do. I focus on the negative and create a vocabulary full of phrases like “I can’t” and “I’m not ____enough”. Strong enough. Fast enough. Smart enough. Good enough.
And I learned saying these things enough times is enough to piss off the people who do believe I am enough. This trip put me in a bad place mentally (at first)  because I told myself repeatedly I couldn’t do it. Everyday I’d struggle and think, I should just quit. And all the while my travel companions were pissed that I was pissed. They were pissed because I was bringing down the mood, and mostly they were pissed because they believed I could do it.
And then there was the hill two weeks in that made me %100 sure that it was going to be my last day riding. And then immediately after that was the most beautiful, wonderful, perfect ride through one of my favorite parts of Colombia and suddenly everything changed. Suddenly I was fully enjoying myself and wanting more of what I had just experienced. I wasn’t totally cured, but it made a huge difference in my thought process for riding every day.
That’s something you don’t learn sitting at home on your tush or in a therapy session. This tour became my therapy; and every step of the way was something to be learned. I was learning about myself, about my friends, about Colombians, about biking about nature, about everything!
.IMG_0026..all of that post was written a few days after arriving back in the states. It’s now almost a month later. I’m not sure what my point was there (as happens a lot with me), but take what you can from it. I watched a TedTalks on my flight and there was something he said that really stuck out to me: he said that confidence compounds. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything more true in my life. Surround yourself with the type of people you want to be like and learn from them. I did that this winter. And all I accomplished allows me to continue to compound my confidence, which I had little of beforehand.
Life is still happening and moving forward, though I wish I could be forever suspended in my Colombian Bike Tour. Now comes the fun part of figuring out how to put what I’ve learned into practice. Wish me luck!

The Tales of Siempre Perdido Part 2

The morning of day 4 Team Siempre Perdido rose early full of determination to ride their biggest day so far. Despite Steves gps leading them on a small and unnecessary scenic tour of Barranquilla and after only slight frustrations the team crossed the bridge out of town.

And then Nürph got a flat tire…

…Which ended up being a great stop at a gas station with AC, a super friendly security guard, and cheese sticks.

The ride really kicked in then, with a slight head wind and unshaded marshlands as far as the eye could see. The Team teamed up and rode single file to help break the wind, but it was still a grueling, long day.

With only about 6 miles to go, they stopped and had the best papas (potatoes) con carne ever and as usual, a Coca-Cola.

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Arriving in cienaga the team found a place to sleep. beers were bought and a magical sunset on the beach finished out the day.

Day 5 of bike terrr began in search of breakfast- and an iguana fight to near death in the middle of the town square. Typical Colombia, amiright?

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The ride to Santa Marta was uneventful. The hostel search ended with the discovery of the Mango Tree. Beautiful, clean, quiet and basically the best hostel ever. At this point, all three team members had come down with a cold so a few days a rest were well received by all. Yummy street food was eaten, lots of naps were taken, and beautiful sunsets were watched.

**the tales of Siempre Perdido, shall henceforth be told in a more normal format. Tips of Bike Terrr, what it’s like biking Colombia, and more coming soon!