by Niall Doherty


I do love me some deep conversation, mind-expanding stuff. Probably why I find myself craving more stability lately, both in location and relationships; easier to have those frequent mind stretches with people you know well. Tonight in Santa Marta, thanks to a limitless lady and her fella, that itch got scratched.


Chatting with a girl just back from La Ciudad Perdida. She’s busted up: swollen ankle, band-aids, mosquito bites. Another girl had to be carried down the mountain on a donkey after wrecking her foot. What’s amazing though is that more people don’t suffer a similar fate. It’s 26 miles of footfalls on rough terrain, a minor miracle most don’t put a foot wrong.


In from a kick around with the local kids, cooling off in the pool as I get stuck into a bio of Simón Bolívar. I visited his deathbed earlier today. You can’t go far in the Americas without noticing cities, mountains, entire countries named after the man. Behind me there’s the sound of travel chatter, billiard balls, Erykah Badu singing baby you got me, and the final scene of Pulp Fiction.


Up before the dawn, reading Lennox and taking notes. Apparently there is still little evidence of intermediary species in the fossil record, no strong link between reptiles and birds, for example. Paleontologist David Raup: “The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time.”


My seventh overnight bus in six weeks, carrying me upwards to the city of the eternal Spring. There’s a morning pit stop at a roadside cafe, the place decorated with scores of portraits of scientific heroes. Einstein, Kepler, Curie, Hubble, Newton… and dozens more I’ve never heard of. I want to know them all, their stories and accomplishments.

Learning about Simón Bolívar in Santa Marta

Learning about Simón Bolívar in Santa Marta


Standing listening to this dude go on and on about clean counter tops and no visitors under any circumstances and please don’t let the garbage pile up and don’t bang the door because we wake up at six every morning and my brain thinks, a) wow this guy really needs to get laid and, b) there’s absolutely no way in hell I’m going to live here.


The apartment search is exhausting, another side of the nomadic lifestyle that’s lost its luster. I remember how fun it used to be, like back in my Amsterdam days. An adventure! Now it’s nothing but a drain on my time, energy, and finances. As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side, but it’s still a bitch to mow.


Aside from the accommodation frustration, I’m liking Medellín a lot so far. The streets are green, the cost of living is decent, and you can even drink the tap water! Not sure yet about the dating scene. I hear it’s more like Thailand than Brazil, which doesn’t bode well. Still, I could see myself returning someday to live long-term.


Ralph Nichols once said, “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.” As such, one of my favorite questions to ask people these days: What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about ________? Fill in that blank according to the person you’re speaking with. Mormonism, America, paleontologists, whatever.


It’s been an epic day of hanging out and sightseeing with some of my favorite people in the world. Now we’re on the metro headed back towards Poblado. I’m due to come good on a lost bet and sing aloud in the park, been getting my mind right. Until Caroline proposes that I just go ahead and belt one out right there in the metro car. My breath catches. Gotta do it.

Epic day out with Man Vs. Clock, Next Stop Who Knows, Life Is Limitless, and other legendary people.

Epic day out with Man Vs. Clock, Next Stop Who Knows, Life Is Limitless, and other legendary people.


Wee hours of the night and sleep is dragging at my eyes, but I lie awake reading back through Momentos from a year ago. December 6th was the last time I saw her, the last time we said goodbye. We joked then that maybe we’d meet up again in Colombia. I’m already here, and she’ll arrive in a few weeks. I wonder how it will be.


I still love to play, reveled in getting out there and scrimmaging across the street this afternoon. One local kid on my team was shooting the lights out, but he was also a ball hog. I switched teams so I could D up on him. Much more fun trying to slow his roll than watching him drop buckets for my benefit.


I posted a public goal earlier today, aiming to win $5,000 worth of new business in November. Honestly, I’m nervous about this, not sure I’ll succeed. Even $1k a week is a ton for me right now. To do better than that four weeks running? Fuck man, I don’t know… I could fall flat on my face here. Deep breaths, deep breaths.


It’s not so much that I want to date someone or be in a relationship right now. I’m quite content being single, having all my time to myself. So why the unease, the craving for female attention? The real issue, methinks, is a lack of sexual expression. That’s what I’m missing most. Being bold and assertive and dominant, a man who goes after what he wants.


I’ve been in Medellín for eleven days now, have viewed seven places, investigated dozens more… and still nowhere to call home. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had to do this once every year or two, but we’re talking four times in the past twelve months. It’s a problem more money would easily solve, another reason I want to be rich.


There’s a kid soldier waiting for the metro, a princess across the track, and a ghoul looking out from the carriage. But that’s nothing compared to Poblado, where all kinds of costumes collide. There’s a guy dressed as an empanada, Michael Jackson dancing with zombies, and enough skin, cleavage and latina smiles to drive a man half-mad.

See what I mean?

See what I mean? (More Medellín Halloween pics on Facebook.)

In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?

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