Who would have thought a brightly coloured little square of paper could have such an impact on someone’s life, or on the lives of so many people around the world?
And yet when I look up from my computer screen I am met with a rainbow of these coloured squares filled with inspiration, ideas and to-do lists.
Next to them are the brightly coloured rectangular pieces of lined paper, all stuck to the wall with an invisible line of reusable glue.
These brightly coloured pieces of paper are on the walls of many a leading entrepreneur, million copies sold author and academic.
They are stuck in books with notes and references on, on the kitchen wall or unit in many a household, as well as the bedroom room of many a student around the world; and although they may be small, these brightly coloured pieces of paper have the power to change the world in an instant.
As individuals, we often forget how we as one person, when showing up in our brightly coloured energy, can change the world.
Every interaction we have has the power to change the world for the better. A smile here, a ‘Good morning!’ there and a “Please allow me to get the door for you” as we walk along the street meeting faces we recognise as well as complete strangers.
Walking through the streets here in Colombia I have become known as the ‘singing red haired lady who is always smiling.
It wasn’t intentional, but then again how could it not be when I walk through the streets with my earphones in listening to my music singing away to myself, playing air piano and conducting the DJ or singer on the 4-beat to drop into the offbeat?
Seeing the smiles on the faces of other people in the street, having doors held open for me and little children wiggle with their mouths open at the lady singing, gives me the opportunity to connect with so many people.
And it changes their world.
It changes my world.
And it has changed the towns and villages I have visited in this diverse and beautiful country.
Yes, Colombia has corruption, extreme poverty and is on the verge of civil unrest at any given moment – especially with the current political climate around the world, but in amongst all of this are some of the most beautiful people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
There is something about Colombians which just gets to you. Their ability to just be in the moment, to let things wash over them, to just find joy in the simplest of things. Their willingness to help, give and lend a hand is never-ending.
Their deep love and pride for their country, the vivacious characters in each of the different regions so incredibly different to one another you would think you have entered a different country.
Then you have the colourful buildings, towns, costumes and dishes of food. The landscapes, the rivers, waterfalls, lakes and hidden mountains all go into making Colombia one of my most favourite countries in the world.
Having lived and worked in fifty countries around the world, many of which you will read about in my books, including countries such as Egypt, Vanuatu and Cape Verde, I don’t think there is a country that has positively impacted my life in such surprising ways.
And that is saying something considering I lived in Egypt during the Uprising, also known as the Arab Spring.
I have fulfilled many life goals and dreams during my four-month stay here and with only another 5 weeks to go before I set sail again across to another country, I am reflecting on all the places, opportunities and growth I have experienced.
The lessons I have learnt here, the personal growth, the adventures, the sunsets and the landscapes… oh the landscapes!
The magical energy of this country is unfairly overlooked by millions of travellers who choose Peru for the healing and energy, the ancients, the indigenous community and the Machu Pichu trail. Stuck in the travel industries rut of recommendations, and spiritual seekers wanting to follow the trends, Peru has benefitted immensely.
And yet Colombia has so much to offer even the most discerning of travellers and spiritual seekers. The magical energies of the Sierra Nevada, the mountain air, the call of the wild, the variety of birds, animals and other wildlife, so rich and nourishing, along with the vibrant music, dances and did I mention the beautiful people?
The natural healing modalities on offer, the plant medicine (if that is your thing), the hikes, the trails, the horse riding… and of course the head of the Andean Mountain range, the largest in the world all starts here in Colombia.
Some of the most famous writers, such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, a Nobel Prize winner for Literature, hail from Colombia; and as an author – one who has her eyes on the prize of the same name as Nobel – you can bet your bottom dollar I was going to visit the town in which he grew up and wrote about.
I have danced the salsa in Cali, the birthplace of salsa. Ridden horses through the rivers of the Andes, created pottery in the colourful town of Raquira, the home of some of the most sought after and colourful pottery in the world.
Experiencing the magical hands and healing of the Indigenous Shamans and Energy healers resulted in what can only be described as a kundalini awakening and exorcism all at the same time, whilst also celebrating my 44th birthday with a group of beautiful people from around the world in a co-living space that took me by surprise.
Diving in the coral reefs here in the Tayrona Park, on the edge of the Caribbean Sea means I have now dived in the top three coral reefs in the world, and I have started to free dive whilst here. With the time I have left, I know there is so much more to experience and enjoy, and I intend to.
Oftentimes when I get to the point of leaving a country I feel a sense that I have not seen enough or done enough, but my journey through Colombia has blessed me so much, filled up my cup so it is overflowing with so much goodness.
To visit Colombia is to be gifted something special, even if at first you don’t notice it. It will take you by surprise, transform your life in so many unexpected ways.
And just like the colourful pieces of paper stuck to your wall that may at first seem insignificant, but end up changing the direction of your life one square at a time, Colombia’s true depth of beauty, overshadowed by Peru, will change your life one town, one pueblo, one dance and one smile at a time.
So next time you are considering where to travel to in Latin America, consider Colombia, it really is worth it… even if you don’t enjoy coffee.