Today is one of those days when I ache for languid time on the road, afternoons spent lounging on a sun-washed square. Those days when there is no rush to get to the next place. When the destination is the here & now.
I am writing this from Medellín, Colombia. I arrived yesterday afternoon, to stay for a four-day hosted trip that would show me all the best of the once drug cartel-ridden and now safe and cleaned up second-largest city of Colombia. A considerable chunk of my first day in Colombia was spent in a van driving to various stops in the city’s surroundings. Today’s theme: traditional crafts, foods and way of life.
There was a moment in the charming town of Retiro that made me miss happenstance so. Two men meet on a street corner, chat and catch up. It is a simple moment, unadorned and pure. A moment that makes me pause my rushed step, take a breath and inhale the scent of eternal spring.
That got me wondering why these moments happen so rarely on my recent travels. This “speed travel” that I’ve been doing allows me to only scratch the surface of a place, get merely a superficial glance at what life may be like for the people who live here.
As the rest of the group was shopping for pottery, I gazed out the window and across the rooftops to catch any sign of “real life”. There was laundry drying, a child playing in the street, a dog sleeping in the sun. No more than that. Yet there was stillness, life as it’s really lived in a small Colombian town.
Today I ache for travel as I like it – slow, off the grid, true, with the people and for the people. I ache for exchange of cultures, meeting of the worlds unobstructed by schedules, agendas and time constraints.
Perhaps I’m asking too much. I am just a tourist after all, a passerby… I can still dream though.