Photography, South America, Thoughts, Travel

Medellin, You Changed EVERYTHING


I felt like I was going to puke. My travel nerves were at full force that day – something I hadn’t really experienced since Mexico. I was a pro at this. Why was I feeling so shitty?

“You’re already missing them.” Shaun’s replied.

And you know what? He was right.

Our travels have taken a completely different direction. As we are on our last leg of our budget, we have practically spent the entire past month in care of Couchsurfers. The dynamics have changed. It is no longer the locations that make the place, but the people we have come across and taken us into their home.

After our recent experiences, I just can’t imagine going back to hosteling alone.

We arrived to Cristina’s house exhausted after a night bus through the windy roads of the Andes. A little scared (this was only really our 3 or 4th actual time Couchsurfing), we were invited in with love and care. A full meal was set in front of us at lunch time and famished, we destroyed it.


Over the next few days we were taken under her wing along with her little girl and older sister, Laura.

Cristina’s daughter voraciously eating a hot dog.

We had a night tour of Botero park and parts of downtown our first night. Laura should have been a tour guide. Good lord. We got the skinny on some of the major buildings around downtown and the history of the parks. We could feel the love for the city’s architecture from Cristina. The ladies were in love with Medellin and their excitement to show us around was contagious. I was already loving it as well. It is not the most glamorous place in the world but the charm was thick.

Botero Park, Medellin
Lookie at this awesome architecture!

Did I mention that people who live in the state of Antioquia are like Texans? They tend to relate themselves to their state before their country.

Oh yes, I love it here.

Laura and Cristina joined us as we took the tram to sight see the massive city. Coming from a smaller city, it takes my breath away when I see urban sprawl. It is indescribable. HUGE. WOW.

Shaun and Cristina


One night we were invited out to a friend’s bar (The Creed Bar) to get a few drinks with friends. This is when it hit me. We were no longer just visitors to them. We were officially long lost friends or family. Conversations were free flowing (as was the booze) and for the first time since Guadalajara, I felt like I belonged. Hugs were genuine. Our new friends were not treating us as a commodity. They wanted us to be part of their lives.

Friends in Medellin

Friends in Medellin.

Creed Bar in Medellin

It still pangs my heart when I receive messages from Cristina and Laura. I so want to be part of their community. I have to force myself to move on. We have a major traveler’s dilemma. We have the rest of the continent to see and not that much time to do it in. Do you sacrifice not seeing things to stay put? We will eventually have to leave. Will forging stronger relationships be detrimental in the long run?

And this is why I felt like hell leaving Medellin. So many thoughts in my mind. So many emotions filling my heart.

Our travels have already changed so much.

33 thoughts on “Medellin, You Changed EVERYTHING”

    1. @Brooke: I think we’re considering going back for New Years and Christmas since we seem like bastard children trying to go anywhere else. Getting accommodation during the holidays is rough!

  1. You should stay! One thing we learned on our first RTW trip was never to leave a place until you are ready. You’ll regret it and the places you have on your list to visit may well disappoint. We’ve been taking things slower now that we’re permanent travellers and we love immersing ourselves in a place for a few months. Having a real, local experience and making connections with people isn’t that easy so you should take advantage. Medellin is a great place to spend a month or two.

    1. @Erin: You guys convinced us. Depending on what we hear over the next few days, we’re buying our tickets and heading back to Medellin. I need to be with my “family”.

  2. These are the good problems to have, right? Trust me, I can relate to having people all over that you wish you could just group up and take with you, but that’s what frequent flyer miles and meet-ups in random countries are for!

  3. Can understand why it would be hard to leave that scenario. Q & I are pretty new to couchsurfing ourselves. We haven’t been successful with many or any of our couch requests in New Zealand so far. We’re hoping it’s mainly because it’s holiday season because we really want to experience towns & cities with local peeps. :-\

    1. @Gerard: Why howdy there stranger! We wish you the best of luck in your Couchsurfing endeavors. The experiences really are life changing. We have had terrible luck trying to find people over the season – so much we’re looking at returning with our CSer in Medellin for Christmas and New Years because we’ll have a place to stay!

  4. I am hoping to try CouchSurfing soon. I tried finding a place for my Patagonia travels, but there just aren’t enough options. Will have to wait until I get to a bigger city in Chile I think.

    Can I ask them to make me a home-cooked meal? 🙂

    1. @Stephanie: I can imagine that finding people for Patagonia can be quite daunting. I know we’re looking at spending time down there. Let me know how it goes. Also, we may need to bother you for information once we reach BsAs.

    1. @Amanda: Thank you! I’m so glad I’ve learned that lesson. I can’t imagine going back – I’m in a hostel right now and am missing the human element of CSing. Don’t get me wrong, my hostel is badass, but just so different.

  5. So glad you had a wonderful experience with Couchsurfing in Medellin. I wasn’t new to CS when I arrived there in 2009, but for the first time, I participated in a social way (vs just staying with hosts). Parties, dance performances, walking tours of downtown, informal salsa lessons.

    They welcomed me openly, and within my first few days, I’d already made good friends and felt as though I had a social circle. I stopped in my tracks and spent 6 months there much as a result of those connections. Glad to see the spirit is still alive!

    1. @Dave: I feel so lucky to have been able to be a part of this community. We took some of the informal classes at this one hostel – so many CSers there! We took part of Austin’s CS scene a lot like you did in Medellin and we have made some awesome, albeit crazy, friends. 🙂 I’m trying not to spend 6 months there. I’m really hoping we make it to Argentina!

  6. The people definitely do make the place. I’ve never had more than a couple of days here and there that came even close to what you just described. I haven’t met too many people I really click with on my trip, but yours sounds amazing. Glad you’re having a good time, but sad to hear you’re nearing the end of your budget! I hope you figure out something soon to keep you traveling!

    1. @Ali: And this is why we’ve bought tickets back to Medellin for Christmas. We need to be around the people that make this so special. Yeah – the budget thing is disheartening but we’re trying out hardest to make things work for sure! I know we are planning on going home and saving more money.

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