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Updated: Apr 6, 2018

With months of arduous traveling behind my back, I found myself at the edge of the South American continent gazing outward.

backpacking in cabo de la vela

January 16, 2016

after many steps through the hot sands, life and beautiful vistas awaited me on the other side

The desert I am in encapsulates the feelings of Love I have. It is barren, minimal and certainly still exists, but it hides. It is dormant, awaiting the call to awaken.

I feel I have regressed to the state of a child to comply with the ego's demand for satisfaction. Ego has stood in the way, using the Love I have as its battle ground. Taking from me the internal stirrings that once guided, mesmerized and relieved me of the necessity of self-gratifying actions.

The clash between Love and Ego rages on. I hold strong, hopeful for a breakthrough. A way to comply with these uncontrollable fallouts. And after many steps through the hot sands, life and beautiful vistas awaited me on the other side. It's hope answered that I too am a receiver and giver of life. This beautiful passage has led me here. And from here new moments to put my back to the wind and charge onward. Upward and higher. Climbing in ascension of a brighter being.

White-capped turquoise waters sweep their way in to the tan, jagged coastline. Out to the wind farms and beyond that a segmented ridge where the sun emerges..

Now, here in one of the best summits of my life yet I watch the army of white crested Frigate birds rise up from the winds like on a suspension. 4x4's crossing the ridge below me. Winds near strong enough to sweep me off my feet like being at the top of a skyscraper. A collection of names are spelt out with rocks and adorning the adjacent ridge to where I have climbed. White-capped turquoise waters sweep their way in to the tan, jagged coastline. Out to the wind farms and beyond that a segmented ridge where the sun emerges in the early morning hours. To the other side of the steep, sheered cliffs, a dark ridge cuts out into the water, creating a bay for ocean-goers to gather in between. The wind shreds with absolute tenacity. Beyond the two ridges that create this landmass is the small, flat little strip of bamboo huts that is my current residence, Cabo de la Vela. Along the ridge where the names were laid out in stone, I compiled the only thing that came to mind, "Mt."

This area of Colombia, known as La Guajira, is a total desert. I am allotted one bucket of water a day to shower and clean with. I fetch water from the ocean to flush the shoddy toilet. I am renting a hammock to sleep in and I am uncertain how and where I will find my food for each day. The culture here is apathetic towards its travelers and simply want their money. It is around every corner and pointless to try and negotiate the prices as each person is going to treat you the same. A cola is going to cost 12.000 pesos ($4) and a sparse meal will go for 50.000 pesos ($16).

Along the beach are a few wind surfing instruction spots, which for an adventure enthusiast, this would be the ideal spot to do it as the winds rage all day and night. A boy with a moto would stop in front of my hut to take me on rides each day. I told him I didn't have any money to pay him, but he just shrugged and said vamos. We would stop periodically and he'd say, "photo, photo" insisting I do so.

Though, much of the appeal I have for Colombia is its diversity in terrain. To have gone from the antiquated city of Cartegena to the loud and bustling Northern coast, to the historical Tayrona park that looks back onto snow covered peaks of the Sierras and further up the coast to the desert region of La Guajira, it's a country that has it all.

January 18, 2016

It's clear I have left Colombia's coast as I circle around the backside of the snow-capped Sierra's and transported my way down into the interior. It seems this route is less frequented, as I have hit a patch of dodgey price negotiations. As well as countless military checkpoints. One even had two tanks stationed alongside the road. They were there for show most likely, but the nation has a violent enough history to warrant such a showing of force.

It's not to be assumed that these are the hard-edged, corrupt officials that so many speak of. From nearly every encounter, la policia nacional are smiling, friendly and will greet you with a handshake as they hang their head in the window to check everyone out. They're not great for asking information to, but when they're speaking to you, its done so with a deep level of respect like a friend or neighbor would do.

They're not acting different than you because they are wearing military fatigues and carrying machine guns. Instead, they make up the same part of humanity and they treat you as an equal. I admire their resistance to the years of corruption and persistence to the path of being a supportive and integral part of the community.

(Policia Nacional is Colombia's only branch of police)

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