by Niall Doherty


Giant came to Colombia to live with me. I guess he expected we’d be out having fun and picking up chicks all the time. He has been doing that, perhaps better than anyone I’ve ever seen, but he’s been doing it without me. I’ve been something of a hermit here, work all-consuming. I’m well aware of the opportunity cost, and I’m at peace with it.


I met TG more than four years ago in Vegas at a personal development workshop. Good dude, originally from Israel, he’s been lifestyle designing since before there was a name for it. He just arrived in Medellín, and we sit in a park/restaurant/bar chatting about money, work, women and plans for the future. Big plans. The adventure never ends.


I try to read for at least an hour a day, putting in time while eating breakfast, lunch, and before sleeps. This gives me peace, quiet time with a book. So far this year I’ve finished sixty-three. Favorites: The Obstacle Is The Way; Nonviolent Communication; The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible; Guns, Germs, and Steel; Wooden.


Whatever was wrong with my dong last year, it’s not wrong now. I feel like a horny teen again, insatiable. This morning I clicked off the neocortex and let the reptilian run wild. Skype calls were missed, emails went unanswered. Finally clocking in now to see that $3,099.43 has been deposited into my bank account. Not quite noon, and it’s a beautiful day.


We went rock climbing today. The gym is good, cheap and uncrowded. I’d love to spend a few months immersed in rock face, make that my thing, then move on to dancing, fighting, music, swimming, surfing, public speaking, motorcycle maintenance… and a million more. But first I must crack the money nut. Until that happens, my attention is always divided, my efforts half-assed.

Leaving Medellín

Leaving Medellín


This dude at the juice stand talks fast and relentless. I barely catch a word he’s saying. Shouldn’t have asked him for directions in the first place. Finally I smile and nod like a light bulb went off: “Ah, okay! Muchas gracias!” We walk away and she asks what was said. “I have no fucking idea. I just pretended to understand so he’d stop talking to me.”


We were fooling around, fell out of sleep and into each other. Then she stopped me, something not right. Lying on our backs now, I see the face of a dog in the ceiling, knots for eyes and a snout, as silence lingers. I’m resisting the urge to rush in with explanations and apologies. Because I don’t feel bad. I’m not sorry. I’d do it all again.


I awake to sounds of screams and broken glass. It’s not the first time one of Giant’s ladies has disturbed my sleep, but it’s usually a soundtrack of moans and spanking that does it. This is altogether different. I check my clock. 5:30 a.m. Through the wall I can hear the volume increasing, yelling something about la policía.


You leave tomorrow. The next eight weeks will take you through eight different countries. Leaving places and faces, it’s nice to think it’s not goodbye but see you later. Fact is though, most of these places, most of these faces, you’ll never see again. You say you’ll be back someday, you promise to stay in touch, but it’s not entirely up to you. Tomorrow has its own plans.


Our third adiós, hopefully hasta pronto. I’m not sure if we’ve gotten better at this, or just grown accustomed. These last couple of weeks with her have kept my heart warm. Once upon a time I wrote about missing people, how that didn’t apply to me. But I’ll miss her. Through all the change and uncertainty, she feels like home.

Sunrise in Cartagena

Sunrise in Cartagena


This lady on the bus has been groaning and dry heaving all night, like she’s got the world’s worst case of food poisoning. Weird thing is, nobody has come forward to ask if she’s alright. I wonder if she just died there in her seat would anyone even notice. Of course, I’m no better than the rest. I tell myself I’d attend to her if my Spanish was better, but that’s a lame excuse.


Coming up on 7am and I’m running streets named after men I’ve read about. Someone’s playing a trumpet atop the murallas as gangs pull ropes in from the sea. The old city looks good, with sunlight creeping in through the terraces. I’d like to have more time to explore and experience this place, but lots of work to be done before my boat leaves.


There’s this weird thing when you pass another gringo on foreign streets: you both kinda pretend not to notice each other. But then, what’s the alternative? Offer some kind of acknowledgement? Maybe a nod and a smile, as if to say, “Hello there, fellow white person. I can relate to your being white in a strange land. That is all. Carry on.”


An epic work day if ever I’ve had one. Actually, the last three have seen me put in something like twelve hours apiece at the computer. Intermittent fasting today so I didn’t break for lunch, just plowed straight through. And it felt good, stretching my capacity to do hard, focused work.


On a boat named Maluco, we’re literally sailing off into the sunset, heading west from Cartagena towards the San Blas Islands. The captain, his wife, and two bothers are from Venezuela. Myself and a couple from Australia has us at capacity. I lay out on the cramped deck for a few hours and watch the land fade with the light.

First evening at sea.

First evening at sea. View more pics from my sailing trip 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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