The radio silence on The Life Nomadic as of late hasn’t bothered me too much. I’ve been dealing with situations and occurrences that I didn’t expect but should have. After all, I’ve been around the travel block long enough to know that if you expect everything to be picture perfect you’re bound to have that picture shredded into a million pieces that lie at your feet, mocking you for being complacent.
Most of you know that poor Moby was broken into in Barranquilla, Colombia just one day after she was released from Colombian customs. That was two and half weeks ago and while I planned to write about it I’ve decided that I don’t want to. There’s not much more I can say other than the obvious.
We lost some important things and we need beefed up security, which we’ve already put into motion. That’s about all that needs to be said.
However, neglecting the blog is something that I’m concerned about. This blog has never been about money or scoring free shit; it’s been about sharing our experiences with people who like us and illuminating the not so glamorous aspects of this mode of travel. I think I’ve accomplished that but I need to write more, not just for you but for myself as well.
So I’ve decided to try something different and emulate something that some of my favorite bloggers do: a diary of sorts. My friend and all around badass Niall Doherty does this in a series he calls Mementos. Our friends Kathy and Kyle Watts share Five Things on their blog Wherever With You. I like this idea not only because it’s less daunting than staring down at a blank screen trying to will a full post from fragmented ideas but it also feels more personal to me, and I hope you agree.
I’m just going to call this Notes from the Road. A few things I notice, things I think about, things I see, and the way I feel. If it doesn’t work out then I’ll try something else. But for now, this is what I have for you.
- I loved Cartagena but not as much as I thought I would. We were fortunate enough to be spared the intense heat everyone warned us about and we found an amazing restaurant called Demente that offered up a French Onion Soup pizza that blew me away. A rich beef stock reduction took the place of tomato sauce, caramelized onions added the depth, ooey gooey provolone topped it off, and there was some brandy drizzled over it for good measure. The staff was friendly and efficient and the prices were just right. But seriously, that pizza was out of this world crazy good.
- Travel is a great way to learn more about who you are and I have to remind myself that I don’t have to like everything. I’m not obligated to gush over every place we stay or everything we do. That’s the beauty of not relying on sponsors or paid posts as a blogger; I can say whatever the hell I want and The Life Nomadic is beholden to no one. That being said I now know that I do not like the Caribbean south of Mexico. We did Belize a few years ago and both of us agreed it was just okay. That’s pretty much why we skipped the entirety of the Caribbean on this trip. There’s no contract that says we have to go anywhere so we didn’t. Exploring the parts of Colombia’s Caribbean coast that we did simply cemented what we already know. So I guess a Caribbean cruise will never make it on our itinerary.
- Did you know that in Latin American Spanish there are at least four words for earthquake? Terremoto, temblor, sismo, and conmoción are the ones I know and I’m sure that more exist in colloquial terms or regional slang. It’s also very likely that each of these words could describe a different type of earthquake. The more I try to learn Spanish the more I learn about English and this helps me realize that, while I may become conversational at some point in many various dialects, this language will always flirt with me and never put out. I’m okay with that.
- Sometimes when we’re driving and I look out the window at the passing landscape I feel like a kid again. Long family road trips come to mind and I’m always on the lookout for livestock, especially horses. As we left Central America behind and entered the interior of Colombia the obvious health of the livestock became exponentially better. Gone are the skinny, floppy eared, tropical cows and horses with a Henneke score of two or three, tethered to the side of the road and left to forage as far as their rope will allow. Here the horses are fit and robust, coats gleaming in the sunlight as they graze on actual grass. The cows have the Hereford or Angus body type but are covered in spots much more like Paint horses and less like typical cattle markings. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and who’d have thought I’d be gushing about Colombian cattle?
- The very bad day in Barranquilla actually began as one of the most wonderful days we’ve had in awhile. We decided to play tourist and visit the mud volcano northeast of Cartagena. As we pulled up I immediately recognized it from season 28 of the Amazing Race. After we got good and muddy in a pit that was so weird I almost couldn’t do it we were rinsed off in a lagoon by Colombian women who had no problem physically removing our swimsuits so we could get nice and clean. After that we had a beer with some of the locals who told us that the filming for that scene in the show took two full days to shoot. It shattered my illusion of how the race is run but hey, it’s reality TV and I’ve been let down by it before. I also had gray mud in my ears for a few days but whatever.
- Last Sunday was the first time we’ve played tourist since Cartagena and honestly was the first time we’ve felt relaxed enough to do it. We went out day drinking in the little village of Valle de Leyva and signed up for a tour to see the 7 meter long fossil of a dinosaur, a winery, a monastery, and some other stuff. So as we sat in the back of a Nissan Patrol, wind whipping my hair, sharing a bottle of screw top, cheap wine like a couple of hobos I finally felt that spark that I had worried was blown out completely. No, it’s still there. We were happy on Sunday.
So that’s that. My foray into a new format. There will still be full blog posts but I love how breezy it felt to write this, effortless and yet a good reminder of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.
Yeah, this is going to be fun.