After an early morning refreshing tuk-tuk ride trough the beautiful nature of Cambodia, I caught my plane to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was a short flight and the first thing I noticed there was that you could see ladies wearing headscarfs everywhere. So after the Buddhist Cambodia I was in a new culture again. I thought it is interesting how much the place and the environment where you are born shapes you in all aspects of life. A couple of hours later I was in Osaka at the airport and enjoyed a very friendly and humble Japanese environment before flying over the Pacific to Hawaii. On the plane I had good conversations with a guy from the wilderness of Alaska and a couple of hours later I heard chilled Hawaiian music from the speakers at Honolulu airport. Megan picked up and I got to enjoy my first Hawaiian coconut beer of 2018 ;)
I immediately felt my good connection to Hawaii again. I remembered many places and everything was familiar to me. It was like coming home. I felt very relaxed and not like a tourist. Hawaii has kind of become “my place” :)
In the next days, Megan, some friends and I brewed our own beer (a dream came true for me) and we did some hiking (the "Three Peaks" hike) to enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian landscape.
I also got to see Rina and her Indonesian-German family in Hawaii. I met her on the plane to Taiwan a couple of weeks ago and she invited me over to have dinner with her family. We spent a really nice evening together and I got to enjoy delicious Indonesian food with them.
So my second stay in Hawaii was a personal one without doing the typical tourist things and even without my camera.
On the 12th of January it was time to head to another part of the world: Latin America. The travel route took me from Honolulu (26C) to Atlanta (0C) and Cartagena (33C). The interesting thing was the clothing style and attitude of people. From HNL to ATL everyone had chilled, loose, colorful summer clothes and people were pretty relaxed. In Atlanta people wore the typical black and grey winter clothes (matching with the weather) and the Hawaii chill seemed to be far away. In a way people seemed to be more stressed here and everyone looked pretty serious. I was happy to see and feel that for only two hours before leaving to the heat of the colorful Cartagena in Colombia. While leaving the plane a heatwave hit my face (temperature difference 33 degrees in comparison to Atlanta). Immigration in Colombia was easy going and luckily I remembered some useful Spanish words which helped me taking a cab to the hostel ;)
I chose to stay at the "Volunteers hostel" in Cartagena because it has an altruistic purpose. With the money they earn by having the hostel business they empower local underprivileged communities through their organization called FEM (www.femcolombia.com). In addition they educate about the challenges which the Cartagena area and Colombia as a country face. Together with locals we had a community evening in the hostel where we talked about the problem of racism in the country. Especially Cartagena used to be a “trade hub” for slaves from Africa and in the year 2018 they (by far) still haven't reached equality.
The hostel community at the Volunteers hostel (backpackers and staff) felt like being in a family. There was an older couple from Canada and the husband Michael played the guitar which filled the rooms in a warm and relaxing atmosphere. I did a day trip to Playa Blanca with Fernanda and Luis from Brazil. They were very kind and warm hearted what made me decide to add Brazil on my travel list. I spent a great beach afternoon with Natascha from Switzerland who teaches in Bolivia now and I had quality time in the city with Ieke from the Netherlands and Jade Ariel from the US. We did a guided city tour together and later on we discovered the local cuisine. A big thanks to the locals Kevin, Mary and all the staff members from the hostel for being such great hosts. I also wanna mention Edward and his girlfriend from England and Bernat from Barcelona. It was wonderful getting to know you all. In general people in Colombia are positive, smiling and full of life. It adds additional sunshine to the life there.
Besides being a beautiful city, I will remember Cartagena mostly because of the people I met there and the times in community we shared. So it kind of matched with my thoughts on the last evening when I read the following quote on a website of a German institute for happiness and well-being.
“Was ist Glück? Zusammensein mit Menschen die man liebt und von denen man geliebt wird als Königsdisziplin. Was lässt uns das Leben wertvoll erscheinen? Einen Ort zu haben, an dem ich sein kann wie ich bin. An dem ich willkommen bin und auch gerne andere willkommen heiße”
“What is happiness? Being together with people you love and people who love you as the most wonderful thing in life. What makes life valuable? To have a place where I can be who I am. A place where I am welcome to be and where I like to welcome others.”
À la prochaine heure pile (2h, heure de Paris), MyAtlas sera coupé pour une durée de 15 minutes pour une maintenance.
Toute l'équipe vous remercie pour votre patience.