An ode to stop-travel days

I’m currently writing in a vegetarian cafe, fresh fruit smoothie in one hand, food menu open, using their free wifi. Earlier today, I was sitting with a book in my hostel pool. This day could be anywhere in the world, but today it happens to be in Santa Marta, Colombia.

I’ve previously written about not being a bad traveller: about getting out into culture, food and surroundings of a new place. And 99% of the time, I agree with me 100%. However, once in awhile during long-term travel, you might find yourself needing a break.

As a travel writer, I probably shouldn’t admit this, but after three weeks of non-stop travel and being social, I needed alone time in a cafe with an English menu that doesn’t require me asking for special vegetariano options.

Tomorrow I’m off to couchsurf in Medellin and find more adventure. Yesterday I returned from a 4-day hike through the Sierra Nevada to see Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) with a group of about 10 amazing people. In the weeks before that I’ve followed friends and family to salt mines, desert beaches, churches 3,152 metres above sea level and had numerous Colombians attempt to teach me salsa.

But today, trying to communicate in a Spanish country with little to no grasp of Spanish, navigating public transport and meeting fellow travellers is beyond me. And that’s ok. In fact, giving myself permission to be lazy for a day already has me feeling rejuvenated.

I finally caught up on sleep, was able to plan for the next chapter of travel, and get some work done. But most of all, I owe my current peaceful mood to a short, friendly conversation with Brian, a local of Santa Marta. He spoke very little English, I have only a couple of words I’ve picked up of Spanish, but for the short five minutes we happened to be walking next to each other along the road, we managed to have a conversation about nothing in particular.

Language doesn’t have to be a barrier, I’m ready for more of the unexpectedly delicious bean/banana/egg traditional food combos, and I can’t wait to see who I’ll meet next.

Oh stop-travel day, how I love thee.

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