If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you will already know that my next adventure will be to Colombia, specifically Cartagena! Prepare to have your social media feeds bombarded with “spontaneously” artistic photos of me “casually” posing in front of vibrantly-coloured buildings in outfits that are totally inappropriate and impractical for gallivanting around in, holding empanadas, arepas, paletas (probably all three at the same time) that I will proceed to drop on myself. The photo of me, food-stained and disappointed at having wasted a treat will be culled from the selection of content that I will choose to share online (natch). Ahhh the “magic” of social media.
What takes precedent over capturing picture-perfect content for social media is actually experiencing those transient moments and soaking up the inspiration from the new sights, smells, and tastes the way my skin will soak up vitamin D from the sun.
Part of the travel experience is the anticipation; planning all the adventures that I’m going to go on. Or, if you’re my super organized mom, the ONLY reason to travel is the planning since it all looks like “a bunch of rocks” to her anyways. Clearly I got my wanderlust from the mailman.
Over the last couple of weeks, in addition to coordinating transportation and accommodation, I’ve been compiling a bucket list of activities in the parts of Colombia that my friend Kelly and I will be visiting.
In the bustling city of Cartagena, our nights will be consumed with salsa-ing in the trendy Getsamani neighbourhood, learning to dance Champeta (local genre of folk music and dance), and drinking mojitos on an open-air, rattletrap wooden chiva bus. Visiting El Totumo Volcano for the Colombian “spa” experience is high on my list because who DOESN'T want to climb into a volcano where Latin men will massage mud into you? Rhetorical question, obviously.
But that is only a small selection of adventures we have to look forward to on our trip. I’ve also developed quite the “lust list” of items that, sure, I don’t need, per se but would be the ideal accoutrements for my exploits. And if I cared for such things, they’d definitely make my photos more Instagram-able.
Here are more escapades on my lengthy bucket list that I plan on going on in Colombia, and my Lust List of items I will acquire if I a) manage to marry rich or b) rob a bank in the next three weeks:
I’ve been described (fondly, I think) as “serial killer organized” which I’m not sure whether to attribute to genetics (my mother’s) or nurture (also my mother’s). Her favourite part of travelling is packing so she was the only one who understood and took me seriously when I said I wanted packing cubes for my birthday. They are containers made of mesh and nylon, designed to fit inside suitcases and backpacks to keep them organized; preventing the contents from becoming an explosion of clothes. The last thing you want when you’re on vacation is to be stressed out looking for things buried in the depths of your bags or to be dreading packing up to leave so this is the elegant solution.
Most of my must-do activities for Cartagena involve food (surprise!). When I’m not climbing into a volcano to float in mud I’ll be scouring the streets for the best Colombian snacks like ceviche dishes from El Boliche Cebicheria and the Anthony Bourdain-approved, La Cevicheria, fresh fruit popsicles from La Paleteria, coconut lemonade on rooftop terraces, and arepas from street carts. Luckily for me, my stomach is either made of steel or I’m dead inside so I don’t suffer from food poisoning often. These pineapple-embroidered, canvas beach shoes from Soludos are appropriately tropical for searching all over Cartagena, a modern port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, for the best local food.
The next stop on the trip will be Tayrona National Park and from what I’ve heard, it is an unbelievable sight, set in a lush jungle among gigantic, smooth, boulders with some of the best beaches in South America with shorelines that stretch for miles. I definitely plan on exploring every inch of the park, whether by foot or horseback, which means I’ll probably need to bring a hat to protect myself from the merciless sun. While at Saks Fifth Avenue the other weekend, I tried on the wide-brim Bunny hat from Eugenia Kim and fell in love with the shape and the whimsy! Perfect for completing an outfit for adventuring and keeping cool.
My number one fear of surfing (aside from drowning and sharks) is nip slip. I suppose in comparison to sharks and drowning it seems like small potatoes, but imagine: You drag yourself on to your board and catch the perfect wave to shore, arms raised in victory! This is where the dream turns into a nightmare and you realize you inadvertently “freed the nip” á la Ms. Jackson. I love the Paloma Crossback and the Biarritz tops with their feminine scalloped detail on the sides and fuller-coverage halter cut from Aussie brand, Liberty Lee. One less worry for when I brave the waves at Costeño Beach Surf Camp Ecolodge in Santa Marta, where we’ll be staying down the road from Tayrona National Park.
After Tayrona, we’ll head over to Isla Baru to the mangrove-surrounded ecolodge, Playa Manglares that I booked through Room + Wild. In between dips into the gorgeous waters and checking out the nearby bird sanctuary, I’ll be swinging in a hammock, reading the second in the Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen. I’m currently racing through the first one so hopefully I’ll exert enough self-control so save the second for my trip at all! This series is recommended for Harry Potter enthusiasts but the protagonist is a determined plain-faced princess set to reclaim her throne from the Red Queen.
Whether it’s lying on the end of my bed, hanging on the wall, or on the white, sandy shores at one of the nicest beaches in South America, Playa Blanca, I’m obsessed with getting The Paradis Roundie towel from The Beach People. Not only does the shape seem more ergonomic for cross-legged sitting but I’m convinced that it will somehow keep the sand UNDER the towel and out of my bathing suit bottoms mores than a rectangular towel ever could. Maybe it’s the tassels or maybe it’s wishful thinking that helps me justify the unnecessary (but so necessary!) purchase. It’ll help me with my tan on this day trip from Isla Baru, right?