After 15 hours of travel, two plane rides and one sleepless night, I finally arrived in Bogotá, Colombia. I’d dreamt of visiting South America – and Colombia especially – for years. But now that I’d finally arrived, something just didn’t feel right. Usually when I first step foot in a new country, let alone a new continent, my stomach fills with butterflies (the good kind) and I feel all kinds of excitement. Typically my adrenaline pumps to such a degree that all I want to do is check into my hotel, put down my backpack and start exploring. But as I touched down at Bogotá’s international airport, I felt a little apathetic. I just wanted to get to the hotel, lie down and sleep. Maybe it was because I had taken a red-eye flight and barely slept for 24 hours. Or perhaps it was because I’d only eaten a small sandwich in as many hours. But maybe, just maybe, I was second-guessing my last-minute decision to travel to Colombia.
Was I right in choosing Colombia as my next destination? Would South America pale in comparison to my experiences in Southeast Asia? Would I even be able to travel on a budget of $40 a day? And what is there to do in Bogotá anyway? My lack of enthusiasm was disconcerting, not only because it’s out of character but also because I’d wanted to visit South America for as long as I can remember.