This year, I started my year off with a Latin American adventure. While part of me was longing for a complete beach re-charge (being the beach-dweller that I am), my soul needed the culture and vibrancy that Cartagena, Colombia could offer in spades. I definitely heeded the city’s siren song. Using my five senses, my words and the photographs I took, I want to share a sensorytour of Cartagena. These are the things that I felt and experienced most profoundly and most memorably:

SIGHT: The COLORS. The paint on buildings is so inspiring to me. Whether they are lived-in and rustic or pristine, each building has its own character.

SOUNDS: Even when the music isn’t playing, there is a vibration of celebration you can feel. The music of Colombia has a range of influences; whether you’re into traditional or more modern music, the country’s cultural blending is diverse and enchanting.

SMELLS: the sea and fresh fruits of all kinds. The sea has its own distinct allure—it’s almost palate-cleansing. Sometimes, the best fruits carry a whiff of the sea as well.

TASTES: Everything is sweet in Colombia! The natural sugars which are found in the fruit are so delicious. There are many varieties of Maracuya (passionfruit), Lulo, Pitahaya, Mora, Feijoa, Carambolo (starfruit) and on and on… one could become lost with their heads and bellies full of exotic, tasty fruits.

TACTILE: the water when you jump off of a boat or walk on the beach and feel the water. The sea is where all of my answers find me– it speaks to me.

Finding treasures to bring home from distant lands that evoke the place I’ve just visited is one of the greatest joys of my life. The soul that the object contains, its provenance and how it makes me feel is beyond the concept of a simple souvenir. Cultures should be celebrated and new things discovered all the time, and it’s my passion to do just that.

In Cartagena, I found beautiful brightly-colored woven bags of perfect size that are so cheerful, they could make the sun rise over a cloudy hilltop any day. That’s how Cartagena seems to make everyone feel—even if you feel troubled, the city awaits with its bustling yet warm and uncomplicated energy. Still in the throes of winter in NYC, it’s a feeling I will hold onto for a long time to come.


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