Change making tours has been a beautiful change in every sense

“Life is not what who lived but what one remembers and how one remembers it to tell the story.” – Gabriel García Marquez

Maybe influenced by books and films, by references or past relationships, but the truth is that I had wanted to get to know this Latin American country for a long time and that moment came with the most unthinkable yet exciting project that could have crossed my life. Living García Marquez’s aptly named magical realism, Change Making Tours gave me a wealth of experiences and amazing coincidences that in a way or another, also sowed change in my life.

The Change Making Tour in Colombia has been an experience that has made me grow personally and professionally.

My adventure mates were an Italian, who more than an anthropologist, seemed like a perfect biologist for her interest in birds and nature, and a Mallorcan, who with the most precarious tools could make you dreamy potato “tortillas”. And our destination and home for two months was none other than a village located in the highest coastal mountain range in the world: Minca, embraced by the natural and cultural richness of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

As I have already talked a lot about the amazingness of this place and its ancestral cultures, I invite you to visit the project’s blog and I will share other learnings from this experience.

During the two months of the project (which felt like two weeks to me), we, volunteers, covered local issues through audiovisual and written journalism, as well as organising community events with the host organisation. The latter was a plus that made me discover another facet of my own: I have a great time with pedagogy and playing with children. Although I’m still very clear about what I’m passionate about, putting my background as a journalist into practice in an environment like this has been an experience that has made me grow a lot both professionally and personally. 

Through visiting different local projects and conducting interviews with their creators, I have been able to discover inspiring stories, which move one to understand the cultural and spiritual significance that the land has for its inhabitants, and to get close to people whose values and stories touched my heart.

Like life itself, not every moment has been one of euphoria and fairy tales. We have also had to face the technical limitations of the place, get used to the lack of water or electricity, be the main dish for the mosquitoes and even go through moments when your health does not respond as you would like it to. I never thought I would come back from Colombia without a gall bladder after undergoing the first surgery of my life. But in the final balance, all of that is part of the experience and gives meaning and weight to everything else.

For those people who are hesitating whether to embark on such a project (possibly you who are looking for us and reading):

  1. Don’t think twice! Two months is a little time that flies by and once there you realise that just when you leave, you feel at home, and a little more time would be great.
  2. Don’t believe the prejudices you are told about a country or a region without allowing yourself to get the opportunity to know it by yourself. Seeking safety when you travel is a common sense, but don’t let fear hold you back from discovering new places.
  3. Take off your shyness, take the opportunity to get to know everything that surrounds you, ask questions, listen, and be curious, and you will see that you have much more in common with the people you meet than you imagined.
  4. From the indigenous people I learned that nature has a lot to say and to give you, just you have to take care of it and thank it.

In conclusion, I return home with a happy heart for all the experiences I have had and the people I have met, and with a broader vision of the complexity of reality in this incredible corner of the world.

Thank you Asociación Brújula Intercultural and Misión Gaia for this opportunity!