Dear Colombia: A Love Letter

I’m in my final stretch here in Colombia, and I’m feeling nostalgic.

Ten months is an eternity to spend in one country for a nomad, but that’s how long Colombia has kept my attention.

No matter where the road takes me, whether I’m volunteering in the Caribbean or looking for Eurostar deals from Spain to Germany, I’ll always remember Colombia with love and affection.

Paipa Boyaca Colombia

Paipa, Boyaca

Before I went to Ecuador at the end of last year, I was sitting in a café in Bogotá reflecting on all of my experiences here. I remembered the friendly hippies I met on the coast, the welcoming of the campesinos in the pueblos, the Paisas that taught me my first Colombian groserias (swear words) when I first got here, and all of the countless people who make Colombia so special.

I thought about all of the never-ending hours on buses, watching the majestic mountains, rivers, and waterfalls unfold before me.

I reminisced about all the secret spots I had found, the friendships I had made, and everything else that I appreciate about this country.

And then I wrote a love letter to Colombia.

After I had written it, I realized I was pretty much a freak show for writing such an intense letter to a country as if it were my lover. But the truth is, Colombia has had an powerful effect on me, and I owe it to her to publicize the truth here.

waterfall in Jardin, Antioquia Colombia

Jardin, Antioquia

Colombia, te quiero mucho. We have been together for almost six months now. I don’t usually do long-term relationships, but there’s something about you that I find irresistible.

I love your music and the way you dance so freely, at any time and in any place. Your food comforts me. I admire how you’re so full of hopes, dreams, and passion. Behind the scars left on you by your tumultuous history, your beauty shines like a lone star on a dark night.

All of the fascinating aspects of your personality have kept me hypnotized since we met. I love your secrets. It has been one of the most delicious pleasures to uncover them one by one. I feel like I could spend the rest of my life with you and never stop learning.

I love your mind. I love the way you think, how you express yourself, your fearlessness, your perseverance.

Bust most of all, Colombia, I love your people. Their smiles make my heart happy. The genuineness, generosity, helpfulness, openness, and friendliness that live in the soul of your people has changed my mind about the world.

Valle de Cocora, Salento Colombia

Valle de Cocora, Salento

I write this letter to you because I must leave you.

Though we will be apart physically, you will live on in my mind and heart forever. I may come to know other countries and share great times with them, but you will always be my #1. And I will continue to come back to you.

How could I not?

  • Great post! Colombia has the same effect on me. It is a truly amazing country.

  • I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it :)

  • Jason

    I spent my spring break in Medellin volunteering with at-risk youth and I too have felt Colombia’s love. Counting the days until I am to return again!

  • Wow that sounds like an awesome experience – do you write about it? Would love to check that out :)

  • Thanks Mark! Sounds like you have a pretty epic trip planned – leave the link here if you plan on blogging about it :)

  • Mark McElvain

    I would say the same thing, what a great sentiment in this post!  After my first trip there I just HAD to go back, and soon I will go again, driving from Toronto to Brazil, but staying in Colombia for 6 months on the way, and really love hearing about your experiences there!!  Thanks for allt he great information!  Keep having an awesome time wherever you head next!

  • The scenery in Colombia is wonderful, but it was the friendly and welcoming people the left the biggest impression on us. There must be something in the water there :) We’re so glad that despite earlier apprehensions we still decided to visit. 

  • Gareth Leonard

    I couldn’t agree more… I think I just cried a little bit. Haha, great post Jasmine. Hopefully we can meet up soon in Colombia. 

  • I’m glad you guys came to visit too! Though unfortunately we didn’t get to meet… glad you liked Colombia :)

  • Would love to Gareth! Though I have no idea when I’ll be back…

  • I’m getting teary-eyed here!  I’ve always appreciated that you’ve been as passionate about Colombia as me.  It helps remind me I’m not crazy — there’s something special here that’s worth our time.  I imagine I’ll be writing a similar letter in August when it’s my turn to leave (again).

  • Nice to know I can make 2 guys cry with my love letter! :)

  • Ed Herzog

    Oddly, I´m in the minority.  Okay, maybe not that odd, I always seem to be in the minority.  I too had heard so many great things about Colombia.   But I definitely didn´t love Colombia.  Which isn´t to say that I hated it either.  Just felt kind of so-so about it.  Which may have been the result of having my expectations too high based on everything I had heard about it.

  • Aww – beautiful sentiments here. We’ve only had a taste but are feeling the same way so far…great to meet you last night =)

  • Travel is such a subjective experience, it would be hard to say that everyone will love Colombia. It depends on who you come across, where you go, your mental and emotional state, if you speak the language, what you like, etc.

  • Great meeting you guys too! I hope that Colombia continues to treat you well :)

  • I loved this post!  This is how I feel about Brasil.  I’m sure that Colombia will miss you as well!!!

  • Mark

    Right on, thanks Jasmine!  I’m hoping to have the site up within the month before I hit Mexico, and it definitily would be great to share the link when its ready, greatly appreciated!

  • I’ll have to check out Brazil then and see if it measures up :)

  • Lawrence

    very nice, my name is Lawrence, I have been living in Colombia for around 4 and a half years < and I feel something like you, llook Colombia is not perfect, and many times I have felt like a foreigner and worse of all… not understood truely and rather feel like a… n outcast, even though I make the effort to be open with, But I agree with what you write, and I love you r post about Pereira, because it is my first City in Colombia and ther are definitley the best for hospitality in all aof Colombia I would generally saym, and the pepole from Bogota are defintily for me the worst in all of Colombia, and the paisa people are with no comparision the best for me….    I lived on the coast of Colombia and in Cali Pereira, and rthe antioquia region, and the best for me are defintely for people and for girls and for lovely nature and to mak e me feel nostalgy for Colombia  es …….  definitely the PAISA region ….    antioquia risaralda caldas armen ia….  anyways , I am glad that there is anaother person like me who really could wirte a song or a poem k,   I sing to Colombia many times Salsa songs that I freestyle… well <   A pleasuse and wehn you come come to meet with me in antiqouia or Risaralda baby or anywhere in Colombia that I can possibly be

    Stirling Lawrence

  • TriniSpanish

    Hi Jasmine :) I am thoroughly enjoying reading your blogs. Right now I am feeling that way about Costa Rica and I think it is a combination of factors…the friendly people, natural beauty of the land, flora and fauna and just the happy vibes. Funnily, in Jaco I felt almost at home – the most “at home” I felt in any Latin country – with Caribbean music and the diversity of ethnicities; I met people from all over the world in this one town. 
    After returning from there just over a week now, I know I’ll be back in just about 6 months and this time see Central and South America by land…Hope to see you there!!!

  • Paisas are special but I love Rolos too! I love them all :)

  • Can’t wait to hear about your adventures! :)

  • I’m glad I could help :) I hope you guys enjoy it there.

  • Dave Chen

    I’ve really enjoyed your Colombia posts and so I’m excited to move to Bogota soon. My family and I arrive on the 18th! Thanks for putting a positive spin on the country and making me feel comfortable about being a vegetarian there. 

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  • Andrew Yelverton

    I also feel like I could spend my whole life with Colombia and never stop learning. I think that what you wrote is beautiful, you experienced and captured the passion, hope and deep essence of that magnificent country. This brought a tear to my eye, I find myself feeling isolated and lonely in the Northern Hemisphere eventhough I am surrrounded by people. I spent three months in Colombia and now that I’m back in the Northern US, I feel disconnected from the people, I can’t relate to them on a deeper level. I can’t explain it.  I think that Colombia has a powerful cultural and spiritual essence that touches you and which permeates in its people.  Even the things that seem rustic or third world in colombia carry that essence that teaches and touches you. Each day, each landscape, each interaction feels so crisp and alive there. It has broadened  my perception.

  • Aww that’s so sweet :) And that’s why I’m going back in November!

  • Prasitkhotchakhot

    Pls visit Isaan,Thailand for you next trip.

  • Prasitkhotchakhot

    Pls visit Isaan,Thailand for you next trip.

  • Sounds amazing, enjoy your golden years :)

  • Jasmine Hi =) I took the time to read a few of your posts… I just can realise how much you do really love my Country!! I’m so glad to met you and i’d like to ask u if   can I share this letter on my fb profile?? soo Can I ? :P Here are really beautiful words that many Colombians don’t know about this Country…. Good Luck…

  • Gracias Alberto! Y claro que si lo puedes compartir con quien quieras :)

  • Gina Ing

    Oh Jasmine. I am adopting you as an honorary sister. and if you come to Bogota or California, Mi casa tu casa. My cell in Bogota. 315 838 0223. My apartment is yours. In California 619 392 1320. Please stay with my family and meet my two children and my gringo husband. You have touched our hearts deepley with your love letter. We will be reciprocal to you whenever you want to visit our part of our world. Gracias preciosa. 

  • Thank you, that’s so sweet! Cuidanse mucho :)

  • Hi Luz,

    La Cueva del Esplendor is very hard to find, and you definitely need a guide to get there. It’s not difficult to find a guide, ask around for Jaime in the central park he owns a few horses and he can arrange for a guide. I paid 25000 pesos to rent a horse all day but that was with my friend as a guide who didn’t charge me. It’s not a short trip, you’ll leave in the morning and come back in the late afternoon. It’s totally worth it though! Have fun :)

  • Joel

    Wow – I actually felt like weeping a bit (macho version of crying) since I feel the same sentiments. Although I am only leaving for a few months, it feels as though I am being sent off to fight a war while my family and kids wait at home for me. I understand ever line of your love letter and I may just have to write one of my own when I am at my lowest point – the day before I leave. 

  • Noel

    Its nice to see so many kindred spirits that  have come to discover the beautiful country that is Colombia. I too love this country, the people , the culture, its natural scenery, the food. I am sure you all have your own  list of reasons why you love Colombia. I am back in the US now and I cant tell you how I miss being in Colombia.
    Jasmine , you are obviously one very cool person, I hope i get to cross you path someday. In any case hats off to you for the way you are living your life.

  • Thanks for your kind words, Noel :)

  • Julia

    of course as a Colombian born I thank everyone that loves my country…I know we have a lot of social problems but despite of all our imperfections one thing remains constant our people and our warm hearts…our good humor and our open arms to non Colombians. Please keep comig. We are lloking forward to see you all.   Julia

  • F.

    LOVE IT!

  • Hi Michelle,

    Have a look through my site, I always write about where I go. http://dev.jasminewanders.com/category/colombia/ Some of my favorites are Jardin, Mongui, and Las Lajas.

  • Michael Puscar

    Great entry, Jasmine. I live in Medellin now, it domesticated me from the nomad that I was. Perhaps some day I will venture away, but not anytime in the near future. As the paisas say with their groseros, Medellin es una chimba. :-)

  • Pink Diamond

    I feel you, Jasmine. Colombia is my favorite, too. Especially Bogota. La Candelaria was one of the most memorable place for me. Will definitely visit Colombia again. Anyway, I just recently found an awesome travel show on TV. They’ll have an episode about Colombia this week.:) Here’s the video on youtube, you may find this interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsEYEJnkbH0