Cartagena breathes a moody romance – especially as the sun sets and silky shadows drape the city’s historic walls.
It was only a few hours after my arrival and I was exploring the old city’s fortifications, waiting for my Courchsurfing host to return home after work.
The day was late and sun tired. I’d been awake since 3:30 AM and decided to wander around Cartagena’s old city in a sleep-deprived stupor of exhaustion and inspiration.
The tiredness can be overcome – my body’s ability to transcend its limitations (after 3.5 hours of sleep the night before) – paired with a mind-bending perception of life under travel-induced duress creates a recipe for redemption.
Travel for me is a blessing that imposes many challenges. What can I endure? How does a place resonate? Who was I before arriving? Who am I now?
It elicits these questions of self and even if no answer exists, the introspective journey parallels travel’s existential adventure.
Travelers change as much as their surroundings. Certainly it’s possible to avoid and ignore the traveler’s inner disquiet but like every good challenge, the results of enduring and working through everything presented are like buying a winning lottery ticket with the payout being greater self-awareness.
In a way, the sun is the perfect anecdote for travel’s wonder. Each morning it rises, casting its radiating light on the world. Its glance changes as the day passes, reshaping and recasting the world underneath its gaze until fading into the night sky.
The traveler bends and adapts to their new world, embracing its synchronicity and eager – after a day of exploration – for the sun to rise again and return its uninhibited – yet soothing – morning glow.