My Next Big Trip: One-Way Ticket to Colombia

Last August my boyfriend and I made the decision to travel the world, indefinitely.  This decision was not made hastily – we planned, we saved, and we sacrificed to make this happen.  Timing was everything.  We were both at points in our lives where it seemed ideal to finally venture on the long-term journey we’d always dreamed of.  So we moved out of our house, sold most of our possessions, and bought two one-way tickets to Bangkok.

We spent seven amazing months traipsing around Southeast Asia.  We motorbiked around Thailand, floated down the Mekong in Laos, sipped fresh bia hoi (beer) in Vietnam, went island hopping in the Philippines, gorged ourselves on street food in Malaysia, and chilled out on perfect beaches in Indonesia.  It was bliss.

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Gili Trawangan, just one of Indonesia’s beautiful beaches.
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Malaysia is home to some of Southeast Asia’s best (and cheapest) street food. A vegetarian’s dream!
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Cruising, or shall I say speeding, down the Mekong in a “fast boat.” It’s definitely the most adventurous way to get from the Thai border to Luang Prabang, Laos.

After spending so much time traveling through Southeast Asia, we both came to the conclusion that it was time for a change.  We agreed that we weren’t quite ready to throw in the towel; we didn’t want to stop traveling and return to “real life.”  We were still itching to explore the world while we still had time and (a little bit of) money left.  Since we’ve traveled extensively in the Caribbean, Central Europe, Central America and, obviously, Southeast Asia, we really wanted to go somewhere we’d never been before.

So without further ado I’m excited to announce that I just booked a one-way ticket to Bogotá, Colombia!

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I just picked up my trusty Lonely Planet guide. It’s already full of dogeared pages and highlighted sections.

I leave in less than a week, which is absolutely insane.  I have no clue what to pack, or what to expect.  I plan on exploring the country for 2-3 months.  And I have a rough outline of places I’m planning to visit – the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena are definites.  But I know this diverse country has so much more to offer – from wild Amazon rain forests to icy mountaintop glaciers to historic colonial cities.  I am under no illusions that my “to do” list is going to grow to an incredibly unruly and unrealistic length before I even touch down in Bogotá.

Colombia has been at the top of my “places to go” list for a few years.  My brother-in-law is from there and he and my sister have been lucky enough to vacation there for years now.  Since I was a kid I’ve heard stories of perfect Caribbean beaches, festive cultural celebrations, untamed remote islands and off-the-hook nightclubs.  I couldn’t be more excited to finally stop living vicariously through my family and actually experience these things for myself.

So it’s official – Colombia, here I come!  Stay tuned for lots of travel stories, tips and, of course, crazy (mis)adventures as I try my best to navigate South America for the first time.  With my shaky Spanish, low budget, vegetarian diet and lack of any firm plans, things will most definitely get interesting.  And I couldn’t be more excited!

Have you ever been to Colombia?  Or have you ever dreamed of visiting this South American country?  If so, what do you recommend I add to my ever-growing “to do” list?  Bring on the suggestions!

About Justine

Justine Lopez is a California native who always seems to take the unconventional route in life. She also suffers from a serious case of wanderlust. In 2013, she set out on a yearlong round-the-world journey and never looked back. Since then she's lived the expat life in both Jakarta and Phnom Penh. She's now living and working as a freelance writer in Beijing. As she meanders her way through Asia she's always seeking out great vegetarian food, budget travel deals and amazing new travel destinations.

24 thoughts on “My Next Big Trip: One-Way Ticket to Colombia

  1. Wow seems like a big adventure. Never been to Colombia myself, but I heard about the Lost City there. Would love to hike through the jungle for a few days to get there! But I am sure you have enough else on your plate by the looks of your itinerary!

    1. I’m so excited to explore a new part of the world. But I have so much left over to write about Southeast Asia. I’ll definitely be writing more about my travels there! I know…I want to go everywhere too!!

  2. Hooray! That’ll be awesome. Columbia is in my top five places I absolutely must visit in the future. I can’t wait to see it vicariously through your eyes; everyone who I’ve spoken to who has been there absolutely loved it.

    Excited for you to see it!

    1. Thanks! I can hardly contain my excitement!! I’m a little bit nervous to make the transition from traveling in Southeast Asia to South America. But I think that will make the trip all the more interesting. I’ve always heard wonderful things about Colombia. I leave in 4 days, so I’ll report back 🙂

  3. Congrats on the ticket purchase…so much fun awaits. I don’t know much about Colombia, except they have good coffee…but I look forward to following your adventures!

    1. Thanks Terra! I was really excited about the coffee, but then I read that they export most of the good stuff 🙁 I guess they drink something called tinto, which is made with the lowest quality beans. This is kind of sad because I LOVE coffee. But, hey, maybe it’s better than Nescafe which seemed to be served everywhere in Southeast Asia.

      1. Anything is better than Nescafe that is true. But maybe you will stumble on a small coop cafe where you can taste the good stuff! Can’t wait to read all about it!

  4. Wow! Sounds Amazing…Colombia has always been on my list. I’m definitely excited to see and read your adventures there! Have fun and safe travels.

    1. Thanks! I can’t believe I’m leaving tomorrow. Colombia has been on my list for so long and I can’t wait to report back to you about my adventures. My flight leaves in exactly 24 hours, so I’ll have some stories soon 🙂

  5. Congrats! Sounds like an amazing trip, it’s funny how quickly you can realize that you’re not ready to call it quits yet. Enjoy the next chapter.

    1. Thank you! I’ve been in Bogotá for a couple days now and I’m already in love with it! And don’t worry Cartagena is definitely on the list. I’ll probably be there in a few weeks. Thanks for the offer. I’m sure I’ll have some questions!

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