Straight to La Plata, Bahia Malaga, Colombia, with this question! I worked in a remote part of Colombia this summer, helping with some capacity development efforts being made in a tiny community on the Pacific Coast. Read on…
What woke you up in the morning?
Birds. Dogs. Chickens. Crying babies. In what seemed to be a volume competition between these rival teams, my daily alarm consisted of the cacophony of sounds that projected into the warm morning air, which normally coincided with the sunrise, bright and early. After a brief adjustment period, I actually grew to love this part of my day, as it was the most peace I would experience for the following 24 hours. I would take 4 or 5 steps walking out onto my door step while trying to slip my toes through the straps in my sandals, often with the waves splashing close to my feet from the high tide, and mosey on down to the dock, which happened to be the focal point of our work, and just stare out, having an intense sensual overload: the sweet smell of the ocean water that inevitably lead to the sweet taste of the ocean water, the overload of noises coming from each entity of my alarm clock as well as the lapping of water on the muddy shore, the postcard-esque landscape that I tried each day to take in 100%, but to no avail. It was at this point that I was awake.
Most memorable experience?
We set our alarms for 4am, well before any other life forms had even considered starting their day. Wiped the crusts out of our eyes, slipped on some jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, and of course our rubber boots. Breakfast had been made for is that morning so we grabbed it and boarded the boat. Without being able to discern which was ocean and which was sky, the darkness matched with the eventually-soothing sound of the 15 hp engine vibrated me almost back into a light slumber. Ocean chop jolted me back to full alertness and rays of light climbed over the horizon and spread itself among us. In the distance, Bird Island was tiny and as we closed in on it, it grew and grew with the sunlight. We reached it at about 5:50am and listened to about 15 difference species of rare bird sing and chirp and yell at each other in what seemed like early-morning bird rush hour. At 6:00am exactly, just as the sun peaked its actual face over the ocean horizon, hundreds of birds coordinated a synchronized exit, all flying into the new day at once. Their exit was abrupt and it ended in silence, as we watched them all float away in two separate directions to start their day with the sun. That was a memorable moment that no picture will be able to give justice.
Tweet of advice?
Go to places people often say not to go but have no reason why. Because one day, that place will be discovered for it’s true beauty and it will no longer be a novelty for people to visit. Be a part of the trail-blazing group that defines their own path #cheesybuttrue