Three Vignettes from a Room with a View in Popayán

April 21, 2014 Colombia
Overlooking the main square in Popayan, Colombia

By day, Popayan’s main square looks like many colonial towns in Latin America. There is a cafe, a bank or two, and a church on the perimeter of it. Inside the square, you’ll find people watching the day go by from a park bench, city maintenance workers keeping everything tidy, and vendors everywhere. You can […]

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Photo Essay: Scenes from Popayán, Colombia

April 7, 2014 Colombia
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It’s only been a few hours since I left Cali, but the big city feels far away as I arrive in Popayan on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I’ve reserved a quaint little hostel room that’s decorated in shades of blue and overlooks the main square of Popayan. It exemplifies simple perfection. I settle in and […]

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Songs for the Road No. 22: A Soundtrack for a Road Trip on the West Side of Colombia

April 2, 2014 Colombia

In Colombia, there are distinct Afro-Colombian cultures on both the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts. The Pacifico Afro-Colombian culture is even more obscure to outsiders and harder to access than that of the Caribbean Coast. Perhaps because of that, the Afro-Colombian culture there is quite strong. African rhythms and call and response singing are combined to […]

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Punk, Skate, Salsa: A Weekend in Cali, Colombia

March 29, 2014 Colombia
Mural in Cali, Colombia with stencil graffiti

As my bus meanders through the Valle de Cauca, I can tell that I have entered a different Colombia. Throughout my trip, the landscape and atmosphere have varied wildly from place to place, but something about this region feels entirely different. The tenacious hands of tourism haven’t yet reached this corner of Colombia. We drive […]

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Photo Essay: The Gritty, Endearing Streets of Cali, Colombia

March 24, 2014 captured on memory card
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Cali is the kind of city dresses for itself and not for anyone else. It’s aloof, yet playful with its style; it lets you think it’s all urban grit, then it throws in a little bit of quaintness and challenges your perception of it. It’s generally ugly with a splash of color, art, or poetry […]

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Candid Discussions on Race and Travel in Salento

March 18, 2014 race/culture/identity

There must have been consciousness floating around in Salento’s misty air and truthfulness emanating from the mountains. I’m not sure what it was, but something about that little town seemed to fuel incredibly honest and thoughtful conversation among travelers. It started on the day I arrived in Salento. After my travel partner and I found […]

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7 Empowering Anthems for International Women’s Day

March 8, 2014 female travel

International Women’s Day has a powerful energy fueled by the inherent inclusion, unity, and diversity of the holiday. It’s inspiring to see celebrations and activism around the world and know that you’re part of an international sisterhood of women that is driven to achieve equality. So to commemorate International Women’s Day (and any other day […]

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5 Things You’ll Want to Know Before Hiking in Colombia’s Valle de Cocora

March 3, 2014 Colombia
Tips for Exploring the Valle de Cocora, Colombia

While the mysteriousness of the Valle de Cocora is part of its charm, it’s a good idea to get some background knowledge before visiting, especially if you plan on hiking independently as I did. As popular as the valley is among travelers, it’s still a rugged experience with little information available once you arrive and […]

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