View of Jerico, Colombia from the Statue of Jesus

Arriving into Zacatin one must first go through Jerico.

Jerico is a 12,000 person pueblo that was recently made famous due to one of the town’s natives, Sister Laura Montoya, being named Colombia’s first Saint.

They’ve also been in the news for their resistance to gold-mining in the region as the effects of it on the water supply would extensively damage the traditional, agricultural way of life there.

At first glance of the street leading into Zacatin someone not familiar with the area would likely think there’s not that many activities to do there. And that person would be absolutely right. Almost.

There’s no downtown, movie theatres, malls, strip malls or stores of any kind.

There’s no stop lights, street signs or even any cross-streets.

While there is a road, singular, and it is paved – it’s of such a quality that driving over it is somehow more reminiscent a janky fairground ride rather than a means of regular automobile conveyance. Given the number of horse and cow farms in the area, this is understandable. Nature doesn’t have the same fetish for flat surfaces that man has and they largely outnumber the people there.

The houses along the road going in are decorated in white with orange dust near the ground and bright green, red, and yellow accents in the woodwork around the windows – colors that shine like the smiles of the inhabitants of them whenever you walk past them and their anxious dogs on your way to Jerico.

On the outside of several homes are framed posters of Jesus; St. George Killing a Dragon, and horses in profile or at play. Others, the fincas, hare large imposing gates and landscaped walls and barbed wire that protect the eucalyptus, aloe, hemp, banana, coffee, and other crops within. And of course there’s the cows that amble back and forth on their way to pastures. The area is the very definition of frontier rustic and you are just as likely to see someone on the back of a horse or donkey as you are them in a car.

Entering into Zacatin, you leave the main, paved street to what I’ll call the frontier road that is first lined with bamboo. On this path you start to go up a steep hill. At the top, about a hundred yards in, a four-way crossroad appear.

Should you go to the right, you will take a long walk the snakes back and forth along the the mountains Jerico was built around that provides for a quaint view of the town and ends at a cul-de-sac with a large ranche.

If you go to the left, you’ll head to a town with a population of 126 people. On the post which provides this statistic is other information, however in a fit of poetry this not-even-a-dot on any map has some sort of cement and dirt mixture covering up lettering giving its name.

Should you continue forward, going down and up a few more hills, eventually you’d come to my family’s house.

While there’s not much to do in the form of conspicuous consumption, but there are other pleasures of the area – though ones that only come through a certain kind of existential practice that few people are used to.

Some 500 feet from the front door of my family’s home is a small stream. While no wider than a normal car’s length, the beautiful and numerous animals of the air and ground which hydrate here is immense. In the morning it’s almost impossible to count the number of distinct bird calls. No surprise, given that Colombia is home to over 1900 species of birds. Watching them and the sly, shy creatures of the ground and trees, like red-tailed squirrels, that make a brief appearance is always a delight. Practicing silence and stillness, they will come quite close – though not so close as some of the incredibly color butterflies that if you are luck will land on your hand and seemingly look into you.

In addition to being patient, sometimes one must also be able to brave one’s own fears to find diversion.

Here’s an example of how I spent my last Friday night in Zacatin before the long journey across half the globe to The Content Castle that makes me feel it is such a special place.

After finishing a good meal with my mom, I decided to walk down one of the long paths nearby that leads to a horse farm adjacent a large field the touches the river, which has widened with distance from the roadway.

So far from any major cities, at night the stars are incredibly bright. But on this path they are insufficient to guide my steps as along the path a forest of birch trees emerges which obscures the way. You can see so little that one must put trust in your feet to ensure you don’t walk off the path. The trees give way to the fields the horses graze on during the day.

From this vantage point I now look down at a breathtaking view that of a hundred or so foot high peak on the left and on the right a grassy valley. The river bend was visually obscured except for occasional flashes of glittery shimmering, but still provided a beautiful soundtrack and the hundreds of fireflies that are swirling round and around like a dance, like a Van Gough painting – except for the fact that it is more arresting than anything I’ve ever seen in a museum. Considering that those works representing millions of hours of combined human achievement can’t hold a candle to these flying bugs at night, it’s a testament to a greater author.

But this isn’t even the best view. I’m still standing on the street, looking out from the side. To get to where I really want I must not just be brave but also crafty like a fox. To do this I walk to a particular post near the gate to the field – three hundred years from the gate to the farm – that I first spotted when casing the place out.

Then I’d noticed then a slackness when trying to read the areas defenses. The top line of the barb wire there was not connected by a thick staple like the other ones were. As I’d gotten closer to press the barb wire down to determine just how much it gave, I noticed two other things – the grass around this area was a little more worn down than that around it and that when I touched the post itself it bent significantly. I’d looked around and discovered with a slight push I was able to get over easily.

At this time that I’d jumped back over, the approaching sound of a motorcycle made me return to public property – but now that the dancing horses were bordered in their barn and the campesinos were in their casas I had no such fears of getting caught. Or better said I still did, but it being so reduced excited rather than frightened me.

Once over the barbed-wire fence I walked along a well-trodden path to the top of where and sat, looking down onto the view below. Having had to brave fears of injury, dismemberment, death, and incarceration to get there, somehow made the view and the feeling of freedom felt while being utterly along looking at such a divinely authored convergence of life all, somehow, made it that much more enjoyable.

It’s two hours before I realize just how long I’ve been entranced by glories of God’s creation. Once home I prepare for bed while crickets chirp and the love poems of birds provide the soundtrack which increases the feeling of peace I have.

It’s very simple here, yes, but healthy and sane in a way that even what I’ve just written can’t accurately explain. It brings about a change in state that rankles those used to constant input and action before it beguiles with its charm.
The isolation and nature allows for force quit of all the little programs that those running an urban and suburban OS normally don’t realize are slowing down their ability to find joy and contentment in the everyday. Decelerate and disconnecting parts of the cyborg-self and reconnecting with rhythms of the creatu around is, well, sometime better than being amidst the grandestly planned works of man.

Personal Reflection on Immigration and America

Me with my grandmother

Since I’ve started throwing out and packing my possessions to prepare for my move overseas, I’ve been thinking a lot of my Grandparents.

They came from the desirable countries. From Denmark and Russia. Neither side had any grasp of English before they first set foot on American soil. Neither side had anything other than pluck and their trades and a small bit of savings tucked away to make their way in the New World. They adapted to their environs, raised families and by most accounts flourished – but does that mean that they ever really became Americans?

By mere merit of my birth within territorial borders, does that really make me an American or is there something else that I should look to? I’d venture yes, I’m an American, but not for the reasons you think.

Despite excitement of days off school, the grandeur of fireworks, and the pleasant fictions told to children about: Independence; Noble Savages living in Peace with Entrepreneurial White Settlers; Supremely Ethical Founding Fathers; Dead soldiers fighting Worthy Wars abroad and Dead Leaders fighting Worthy Wars at home – my fondest memories as a boy never revolved around National Holidays and their accompanying spectacles of obeisance and foods that encourage obeseness. Instead I remember with vivid precision the energy and joy the different brought to religions and cultural costumes and practices of my Grandparents.

Though I can’t speak Danish or Yiddish, hearing my grandparents speak bilingually and participating in these ceremonies as a child deeply affected me. Joy, of course. But also alienation. On both sides, I felt like I’d lost something that had been for a long line unbroken in my family. I felt like it weighted on me. All the more so as I was the fruit of a union between what once were families of award winning pig farming Epicureans and solemn Orthodox Rabbis.

I remember their warm laps and doting attention to the millions of questions I had about their stories, their struggles. Each side shared stories about outbreaks of state-sponsored violence around them. They weren’t happy as it was some long-time dream to sever ties with all that one’s ever known and go to a strange land with better opportunities, but because the conditions which for generations had once allowed their forebears to sustain family life and line so deteriorated.

Now joining the demographic pool of the 8.5 million people born in American living abroad, I can’t help but think of my grandparents own voyage to a new world.

Their struggles are on my mind as while the forces which motivated them to pack up their things and leave is quite different in tenor, the violence of primitive dispossession is similar in effect to that enacted in the various markets in which people make their day to day way in the world. The opportunities for “good living” in the United States are rapidly disappearing and will continue to deteriorate further.

I say this not to invoke the rhetoric of disaster now popular because the most apt embodiment of the venality and corruption that is the American Ruling Class sits in the White House. No, Trump is but a symbol, a symptom of a deeper systemic illness rather than some special case. I say this as I’ve reviewed the metrics and can reasonably foresee that to have the family life like my grandparents aspired to, I would have to work myself to death so many of my compatriots do.

If America was once great for letting my grandparents in – those that were fleeing from violence – then it’s not now. In fact it’s reasonable to say that America is the opposite of great since its actions and those of its allies forcefully displace millions.

Defining America’s greatness as the people and energy that composed it – the courageousness of some to brave the acclimation process to a foreign culture, a foreign language, foreign business environments – then the Great Land that was once America is now outside its borders. In fact it’s reasonable to say that America is the opposite of great since those which direct the state openly display xenophobia and ahistorical cultural chauvinism – the same trends in different form which helped form my Grandparents decision to leave.

Were we to look to the ability of people to raise family and enough capital to live a good life as the basis for greatness, we’d see that the conditions today are quite different from then. The institutional embodiment of America, the political organization of the ruling class, Federal and State governments since the 70s have worked to erase the human face of what was always an oligarchy.

As I think about leaving the land that is America to live what I see as the noble ethos of America – meaning bravery to place oneself in uncomfortable situations to personally and professional develop and not the flipside of that spirit, the ignoble ethos which dispossessed natives, engaged in the slave economy and constructed a legal system and press thatjustified these and other injustices – I also cannot help but think of the life and work of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. It is January 15th, after all, and while it wasn’t my intention to leave on such a date it does seem appropriate.

A year to the day before his assassination, King said something that had his contemporaries listened to and acted upon would have drastically changed the current shape of America:

“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”

Had the people of King’s time been more attuned to the long-term truth and acted with vigor to excise these qualities from the economy, from society, from the culture rather than fighting for their minor advantages I might feel better about staying. But they did not, and so I do not, and so I go – just like my amazingly brave Grandparents, on to greener pastures.

Remote Viewing My Definite Office in Thailand

So this is Content Castle, where I’d be teaching the format of content marketing I specialize in.

Here’s where I’ll be developing the workshops that I’ll be teaching on the digital humanities, creative writing and marketing.

I’m not going to link to all the team there I’ve already cyber-stalked and feel like I know somewhat, but suffice it to say I think we’re going to get along great.

I’m also, literally, across the street from the beach.

My days will definitely start day with sun salutations there watching the sun rise, and I’ll probably be working from there as well.

Where I’d be staying is on site.

It’s really beautiful inside and near by are a lot of parks and temples.

Click to tour the area

Ko Samui is also near Ko Pha Ngan.

Home of the famous Full Moon Party.

Here’s what the Full Moon Party’s will be like at night.

Here’s what they are like during the day.

There’s a lot more of those types of photos here.

Looking around on the Google map I found the best for recovering from hangovers.

As sensational as all this looks, truth is I’m not much of the partying type so I’ll be doing less of that and more of this, deepening and widening my Vedic practice.

Which is great, as theres lots of  beautiful temples, old and new, on the island.

This one is new and is called, no surprise, Big Buddha.

Wat Play Lahm Temple Complex

And then there’s voyaging around the nearby parks and waterfalls!

Definitely be doing lots of meditation and yoga practices on the beaches near my home/office.

And of course taking photos of me engaged in these activities.


Well because as Patanjali writes thus in the Ten Principal Upanishads:

“If you don’t have a photo of you doing scorpion pose with a beach sunset background behind you, can you really answer the question, “Do you even yoga, bro?”  with an affirmative? No, you cannot.”

Seriously though, I’m super excited just wished I was going to a place where my English and Spanish would be more useful.

Adapting culturally will be no problem, it’s what we Wandering Jews do.

All of the above, of course, is just the destination. Then there’s the journey getting there before before.

I’ll spending some time travel in Bangkok before…

and accept this challenge.

Remote Viewing My Maybe Office in Quito

Heres Where my Staging Ground Would Be If I Got the Job for TeleSur English!

Nice view of an adjacent Park from my office!

Click me to See in 3D

Birds Eye View of TeleSur English is pretty cool. It’s right by this beautiful park.

I’ll have lunch then walk around.

Click to see more!

Or I’ll walk and then have lunch, cause I do have a taste for Ecuadorian food. One of my nanny’s growing up was one and she’d make Llapingacho, when they have at the street cafes nearby so def will be eating lots of this.Image result for Llapingacho

This whole area is in central Quito.

This is just a photo of a park in Southern Quito, Panecillo Hill, that pops up.  I want to hang out at at night and feel connected with the Angels 😀Image result for ecuador quito

Just another view with a volcano doing is’t thing in the background. NBD.

Image result for ecuador quito

Them colors, right?

Image result for ecuador quito

I like being around mountains, they make me happy.

Image result for ecuador quito

Look at all the cute lil towns around there to explore!


Translation of La Tinta del Sur IV

Ink from the South IV

La Tinta Del Sur IV

“I always dreamed of going South and starting over”
The man who ran after the wind

Interpretations of Carpe Diem

Today’s society is us, living poets
Do not allow the life to happen to you without your living it
– Walt Whitman

Months ago I met a couple of drunks
Submissive to the social opulence of a guild.
It was a couple of hours.
I did not need more to lift the mat from his inert whereabouts
maintained based on a white powder of illicit jungle
that tinanciaban with the accumulated intellect of the years,
and the juggling of a scalpel thirsty for organic time.
A couple of decades invested in the knowledge bank
in the search for the South American dorado
to become vampires of dreams
that brought new light to their patients. but darkness for their spirits.
I remember them as a pair of tireless bigmouths in front of me,
a man from town.
Sitting by his side,
he listened as they devoured turns to fill the foundations of his
were not to exclude them from the wealthy link that was now yielding
and eat shit again,
feeling “once again the popularity of its origins.
To show the eyes of the smallest,
-and more stupid-.
He did not live life in his retinas,
half yertas,
like anguished meat
that cracked and resurrected robotically

under an inhospitable light
in claustrolobic salons heartless by reputation,
where I had long ago evicted empathy
to house the opinions of his greed.
Its procedure is only one of codes and coordinates insensitive to the
Happiness that installed in air castles and on occasional ski passes in
Deluxe class to make yourself feel more human.
Empire that proudly exhibited his friend, and clan mate,
in its brand new Silicon Valley technology.
He also boasted of the collection of skirts that attracted his wealthy robe
when walking the clinical corridors,
detailing that more than one of her legs trembled at the perception of her aura.
His pulse did not tremble, especially his soul, when he looked at his patients.
At the same time,
the other butcher laughed, and the game followed him like a good henchman,
putting on the table his last big orgy.
Story he described while holding the ring on his ring finger.
Immersed in a sea of ​​tequilas I ventured to ask them about their
The most stupid,
He commented that it was one of those nights that he would pay to be called
-I imagine so that, at least, in his name it would harbor a loophole
Embraced in body – but not in spirit – this pair of idiots
I grabbed the drink and with hand up
repudiating his smiles scalpel
I toasted for a long life
despising each one of the pillars of his asqueróso Carpe Diem.

If you don’t understand it, look it up! It’s worth knowing.

Murio en Diciembre

Melancholy is the joy of being sad.
Victor Hugo

I do not know if it’s the mist that comes through the chimney
when in our kitchen it still smells like your laughter.

O the euphoria of a love simmered, gradual, secret,
like good sex,
but with a Woody Allen ending.

The tango of you would have and we would have learned in a
and that I did not know how to interpret in other trips after your death.

Life in a bottomless drawer
where we used to write down the list of our outbursts
to avoid the reproaches of the good morning of the last Monday of the month.

A shelf photograph that holds the pillars of your absence
and that supported by esparto tunovela
refuses to the cliffs of amnesia.

The collection of Maghreb shoes that were left without your feet.

The writing of a tickle handbook for our gray days
that powders and wears since I do not move your waist.

Breakfasts and dinners that still know the maturity of a romance
When I set the table and nobody takes over your cutlery.

A hollow guitar -as you left my body-
where the nostalgia is now scattered,
and that I can not find a way to refine when December returns.

a post-feeling without rancor that drowns in the mornings, without reaching
kill the will to live.

You have to understand that life is composed of agitations of the soul,
and that melancholy has those qualities,
that does not understand deaths, nor feeble hearts,
not to overly depreciate it.

Because like the vines of an unattended yard
it spreads stealthily down the slopes of the marrow
until you hit the memory interlinings
where the most precious fantasies and memories come together,
those. No wonder in the markets of forgetting I have no pretext for me
to forget.


It is so cute
Knowing that you exist

Mario Benedetti

I found it in the development of our passions,
disheveled by the mischievous sunset of a recent Patagonian past_
His face shone when he put his coffee smile to use
that hardened her chin and stretched her eyebrows in a loving way_
His wise and pointed nose
where he exhaled the smell of beauty.
His mouth cracked by the salt of the southern seas.
His arms sunburned by the will of the heavens of the world
They were holding an Andean leather pouch that looked light,
but that hid an anthology of jars full of handfuls of
other lives.
Behind him a halo of hope balloons gave color to the
platforms of your dreams,
dreams that were similar to mine.
He did not flinch in tourist class, he was born in it.
It got on trains, cars and carts, unknown agents
that opened his appetite for continuing to breathe.
Eternized the curiosity of the whys and why
to give a sense to the direction of the invisible before the eyes.
With carboncíllo stamped memories on ocher leaves
that signed in verse
He hung in his wandering rooms to enlighten other travelers.

Barefoot throbbed Earth wounds
going through the years of the towns and their fields,
and with words and silences it illuminated the exile of those who believed
My traveling soul, was not always an expert,
I was also sensitive to pillow fears,
I had outstanding scars to cure
and even I recognized to run the curtains some sunrises to avoid
the sadness of the West.
And I cried, believe me I cried for their sins and weaknesses,
I cried until I blushed the iris of their green almonds.
I have to say that, in a way that I still do not know,
untangling the amygdala and flattening the road to resilience.
Disarmed, not sunken,
he painted his lips with the brush of the bougainvillea of ​​the Mediterranean,
and he threw himself into the street without plans or ties,
again on the road,
where I found it,
willing to tattoo his memory with another trip
and to fill new jars with the knowledge of the world and its people.

My soulmate,
my traveling soul,
my partner.

In the valley of. An

To the sea (us)

Your hands named lifesavers.
rescuing the shipwrecks of my lonely afternoons.
The silence of the moles on your back.
Your smile like a Cove,
(prelude to your chest lit between my hands).

We have learned to wait for the rain as something good,
to share a candle,
to hold the music between your fingers,
to light the incense that rests in a blink.
And we grow every day like a garden, between seeds, books and photographs. ‘

My hands named lifeguards,
Rescuing the shipwrecks of your lonely nights.
The waves of my hair where we both inhabit.
My hands that are a bowl where I keep your teachings
And they are white thread that repairs your wounds.

We merged slowly into fleeting ports,
Freeing our shoulders of a weight that we carry on our backs,
and the notes of a past that hurts your ways and mine.
We are ocean and sea bordering coasts,
With that sound that diluted fears and absence.

I discover myself by your side every day,
on the high seas, with its waist full of maritime foam.
And I always see your eyes as a beacon,
fairy where the air that escapes from my mouth goes.

You discover yourself by my side every day,
making your voice a work of art,
making your walk poem,
and you see me knitting ñores to decorate my breasts,
as we grow each day as a garden,
between seeds, books and photographs.

I give you a movie …

Some enigmatic images show a badly wounded whale the surface of an unknown sea while a voice in off utters the sickening words: “Once I saw a whale with three calved harpoons and it still moved. It took an entire to die. We meet the bellena again. We had never been closer. He was weaker because of the harpoon that had fired at him. And covered with scars from all the battles I fight.”

We do not know where we are or who is the narrator. The we will find out more adclanlc. For now, outside of that scene inaugural, the story officially begins with the arrival of two boys to a remote place, the island of Bastoy, located in the fjord of Oslo, Norway. There reigns a disturbing peace where the cold, the fog and the sound of the waves and the wind tend to silence the voices of their forced tenants. Or maybe it is not only the wind, but we do not advance events. Well, in this land area of ​​one square mile stands a reformatory for young misfits that lasted more than fifty years since its opening at the beginning of the 20th century.

As in other narrations of a prison nature (and this one is), the first minutes are intended for introductions into this microcosm, in that place where time seems to have stopped in its tracks and in, the one that flies over a calm that is nothing but the prelude to the disturbing, realities that are sheltered there. The inmates there have been held stripped of their names and their daily work alternates physical works with
lessons in classrooms. The treatment of workers and vigilantes who are in charge of maintaining the correctional is a reflection of that confrontation between oppressors and oppressed often dismissed not only by the extreme rigor of the context, but also by that tendency (painfully human) to the army of power over queines are  onsidered inferior on the social scale.

Except for a few facts, we ignore Erling’s notebook, two young people who have just entered the center and about which the story begins to direct their attention. Erling, unlike the rest of the reprobates, who have internalized the rules of the game and behave like automata. Rapidly highlighting an indomitable character that leads him to be subject to harsh penalties. This composition calls the attention of one of the convicts of Bastoy. Olav, who, after having been there for six years, has completed a model of institutionalization in such a way that only a couple of weeks remain to be reinserted into society. The price has been high. Olav has had to keep silent, obey the orders of his superiors and ignore the injustices that have been testified. But something inside seems to have been removed after witnessing the unyielding Erling temperament and, in fact, despite the initial rivalry, will be producing between them a solid friendship. Throughout this journey, the camera registers with meticulousness the persistent glances of Olav, who assists admired again and again to the indiscipline actions of his commiffer. This friendship begins to shine as it becomes a denim light of the hopeless stage that welcomes them, a sign of humanity in a scenario dominated by sadness. While the relationship between the two boys evolves, the new convict will need help to write a letter addressed to his sister. It tells a strange story about his past experiences as a sailor… and about a hardy whale that refused to perish.

The question is that an exchange in the roles established by the narrative, because who we thought was a Secondary character (Olav) will initiate a gradual but moving process Transformation until seize the role of the film. This in this way, we are witnesses of an individual in whom the flame of the indignation, the nonconformity, the courage. . . , to the extreme of give up that longed for exit that, in the initial phases of history, A destination impossible to change. Many things passed between them, a revolt spurred by Olav himself after checking that the preceptor who had raped one of the boys in his barrack. Driving him to suicide, he has been reinstated in his position. Per, suffocated the Insurrection, the main character now will be the only inmate that achieves Evade the reformatory. Yes, unfortunately it will not be accompanied.

Events seem to have come to an end; but it is then when we return to those enigmatic images with which the story. And we guess its nature. These images, now we know, are mental projections of Olav from the marine narrations dictated by his old partner. We deduce that these recreations are have sedimentznlo in the memory of the character and tend to reappear over and over again in your imagination knowing that a portion of your current idiosinerasia was forged thanks to the example of that figure that instilled in him the seed of nonconformity. What we contemplate, therefore, it is nothing other than the internalization of an alien story, now integrated into the consciousness of another person. A prolonged ellipsis we moves to the present. Olav, as an adult, wakes up from his rest when, In the fishing vessel where you work, you are informed that you are Approaching the region to which the island of Bastoy belongs. Olav goes out on the deck and is reunited with the unmistakable sea that surrounded that prison where he spent a good part of his adolescence. And it’s here, with a noticeable pang of emotion, when those who return to their memory Mementos where he had no choice but to leave Erling behind, accidentally engulfed by the waters of an icy fjord, and travel with a wounded leg that snowy desert in search of his freedom.

The island of the forgotten ones (Marius Holt, 2010)
Jose A. Plans Pedrefio

Facebook Groups for Ex-Pats Living in Medellín

Prior to moving to Colombia I spent many hours reading through various online Facebook groups to get a better understanding of what sort of issues people had trouble coping with, a sense of the various communities (locals and ex-pats) perspective on issues, prices of goods and services, places and situations to be wary of, etc. Below are the links to the groups that have been the most useful in orienting myself to life in Medellín

Digital Nomads Medellin


Medellin Expats

Medellin Gringo Classifieds

Doing Business And Living In Medellin, Colombia

Women Entrepreneurs of Medellin

GringoPaisa (Americans In Medellin)

Food in Medellin | Comida en Medellín

Medellin Living Events & Activities

English Teachers Medellin

Medellin Entrepreneurs Society

Cultura en Medellín

Blogging In Medellín

Medellin ENGLISH – SPANISH Events

Medellín Heroes

Medellin Events

Medellin Rooms, Apartments and Expat Info

Medellin Short Term Apartments

Medellin apart/rooms 4 Rent/Sale

Alquiler de habitaciones en Medellin

Clasificados Medellin Antioquia


Groups For All of Colombia

Backpacking Colombia

Teach in Colombia

Colombia Digital Nomads & Entrepreneurs

Music That’s Playing in Medellin

This is by no means any sort of scientific attempt to curate the music scene in Medellin. This is just a short playlist of some of the songs that I’ve listened too in various places I’ve voyaged to in Medellin over the past two weeks.

Tu Me Enamoraste by Lary Over, Anuel AA, Bryant Myers, Brytiago, Almighty

Ahora Dice by Chris Jeday featuring J. Balvin, Ozuna, and Arcángel

Un Polvo by Maluma featuring Bad Bunny, Arcángel, Ñengo Flow,and De La Ghetto

Si Tu Novio Te Deja Sola by J. Balvin featuring Bad Bunny

Ella y Yo by Pepe Quintana featuring Farruko , Anuel AA, Tempo, Almighty, and Bryant Myers

Cuatro Babys by Maluma featuring Noriel, Bryant Myers, and Juhn

Ornette – “Crazy” (Nôze remix)

Esclava Remix by Bryant Myers featuring Anonimus, Almighty Y Anuel AA

Or Nah by Anuel AA’s Remix of Ty Dolla $ign’s same named song featuring The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa & DJ Mustard

Tu No Vive Asi by Arcangel x Bad Bunny

Escápate Conmigo by Wisin featuring Ozuna

Si Me Muero by Pepe Quintana featuring Farruko, Ñengo Flow, Lary Over, Darell

Si Tu Lo Dejas by Rvssian featuring Bad Bunny, Farruko, Nicky Jam, King Kosa

Krippy Kush by Farruko, Bad Bunny, Rvssian

Draft of National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship Proposal

Latin America Cultures and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

My proposed digital storytelling project will focus on Chile, Peru and Mexico (CPM) in order to investigate some of the changes to be brought about by the soon to be ratified Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Long-form reportage on this is timely, as just some of the numerous and significant shifts the TPP will cause include national signatories capacity to control policy areas related to biodiversity, climate change, food self-sufficiency, political cultures and cities composition by accelerating urbanization. To my knowledge there currently no major news outlets addressing this, which is unusual as those who have commented upon it typically describe it as an expanded NAFTA, a trade agreement that has had vast effects on multiple registers in the United States and Mexico. I’ve chosen these three countries as these are they are the only Latin American (LA) countries to be involved in TPP negotiations, I speak Spanish, have a background in LA political economy and literature, have grown up amongst Latin American’s so would be culturally competent while in those countries, and am able to use personal and professional resources to connect with various people and institutions that would be willing to assist in the storytelling project.

While in Mexico and Chile, I will be able to obtain letters of introduction to academics, government bureaucrats and NGO workers via my former Latin American Studies professor, who has worked extensively in both countries. In Peru, I will be able to connect to business networks through a personal friend whose father is involved in the equivalent of the American Chamber of Commerce. What will additionally assist me in meeting people for interviews is my amiable, outgoing manner honed from having traveled extensively. My background as an educator, political scientist and historian will allow me to contextualize broad issues (Cities, Cultures) in a way that allows for focus on the most pertinent aspects as they relate to the reader. Some examples of my approach would include addressing questions to politicians, NGO and community activists such as: Will the environmental component of TPP mean that regions currently protected for use in eco-tourism will become sites of extractive industries? How are national laws protecting biodiversity going to be affected by a new regime of international copyright laws? How are city and national governments planning responses to their projected population growth following the increased capacity of international investors to purchase traditional, under-capitalized small-farms? How are domestic, traditional cultures adjusting to international market pressures, be it migration or new practices? What are some of the methods that civil society groups as well as local and national government bureaucrats are encouraging the use of new technologies to help them manage these issues? How is access to oceanic resources allocated, monitored and regulated? What impact, if any, does Pope Francis’ Argentine birth and Jesuit background have in these aforementioned areas? In addition to this, my reporting will also alight upon more general interest themes, such as culture and food. As I have extensive travel experience, am a chef and enthusiastic user of food and travel experience-sharing social media websites I plan on attempting to include as much content of this sort as possible. Food sourcing practices, recipes and general customs may not seem as significant a topic in the light of these other concerns, but are also important in providing a holistic picture of the Chilean, Peruvian and Mexican lifestyle in relation to these changes.

The presentation of this material will take a multi-medium approach. While I imagine that the majority of my reports will be a combination of text, photos, and various charts and graphs that can provide a visual indication of some of the thematic areas that I am investigating I would also like to obtain as much footage as possible with those that I am able to converse with in English. As I am skilled in using iMovie, I could ably produce short segments of video for upload to wherever is requested of me.

My travel plan is to move from the southernmost location and then move north, from Chile to Peru to Mexico. This pattern will be repeated within the countries themselves as it will be the most efficient for timing and allow me to avoid unseasonable weather. In each country I visit I would primarily spend my time investigating the financial, industrial, cultural and political centers as well the adjacent park and agricultural regions that also be affected by the TPP. What follows is a general itinerary and a brief explanation as to what it is about each place that deserves exploration related to the project themes as they relate to conservation, development and innovation.

In Chile I would begin in Puerto Montt, a once independent region that is now a key transport hub known for it’s sizeable salmon industry. In 2007 this sector had to rapidly shift their practices when overcrowding and the ISA virus made them lose much of their stock. An additional feature of Puerto Montt is its proximity to Chiloe Island, the site of sizeable indigenous community and a significant portion of Chile’s mussel industry. How the environmental conservation efforts of marine life and the people’s deeply connected to the sea will be affected by TPP will be just two points of investigation. From there I would take a travel to Concepcion – the country’s youth culture and rock-music capital. An investigation of the differences between the once Independent Puerto Montt region and the second largest city will highlight the differences as to how the TPP will be felt in each region. From there I would go to Santiago, the country’s economically divided industrial center. I believe that here I would be able to get a more urban perspective on the conflicting views towards the TPP. One such story, for instance, could include an investigation of Los Caimanes, just north of Santiago. This is the home to mines that have been a point of controversy between the local, indigenous Mapuche community and a Chilean company over the latter’s usage of water. From here I would go to Valparaiso, notable for its novel forms of public transportation, strong European heritage evident in the styles of housing of different neighborhoods and a place to explore issues of preservation versus innovation both in the city’s housing and commercial real estate market and also as it relates to the nationally protected parks around it. As national parks currently compose 19% of the country’s landmass and could potentially become sites of extractive industry, I would visit the Reserva Nacional Lago Penuelas Biosphere Reserve adjacent to Valparaiso. Additionally worth mentioning is that as it is considered the Land of Poets, I would like to incorporate some elements of cultural history into my storytelling – be it visiting the former home of Pablo Neruda or one of the haunts of Roberto Bolaño.

In Peru I would begin my storytelling project in Arequipa by investigating how new capacities for investment outside the industrial center will accelerate the countryside’s transition from artisanal farming practices towards increasing urbanization. Political and cultural problems created by highly centralized land ownership, a recurring political issue in Latin America, has been felt particularly hard in Peru due to the racial and ethnic concerns. How it is that the government and civil society groups are planning on manage this issue following the likely exacerbation of the economic divide with the passage of the TPP will be one important topic I will address. A second is the increasingly planned use of water in the periphery via irrigation and a third relates to the distinct, UNESCO recognized Arequipeña architecture and manner of speech. From here I would go to Cusco, the former Incan capital and now an important tourist destination to highlight food and biodiversity issues such as the cultural effects wrought by a six-fold increase in monthly earnings brought about by the growing global demand for quinoa. Near Arequipa is Manu National Park, categorized as the most biologically diverse place on Earth. I would also visit here so as to bring up how the park has been partially privatized for natural gas exploitation despite protestations by the UN due to it’s environmental repercussions and the forced relocation of numerous indigenous communities. Once in Lima, the gastronomic and financial capital, I would have increased access to interview people working on projects related to Manu park as well as the recent increase in attempts at finding sources for oil, metal and mineral exploitation. Of specific interest is how it is that illegal mining operations and oil spills are affecting the Amazon. From here I will go to Trujillo, the cultural capital of Peru and considered by the Inter-American Development Bank to be the region’s first sustainable city. Exposition into what exactly this means and how it relates to concerns over climate change will be a major focus of investigation. It’s status as a model city and how it has dealt with a population growth of almost 100% in 20 years would be key themes to have academics and urban planners discuss. Continuing to contrast the cultures of indigenous peoples and the descendants of European immigrants would be made highly visible via the temples of the Sun and Moon.

From here I would go to Mazaltan in Mexico. The “shrimp capital of the world” and a major source of the country’s processed fish, I would here probe how their fishing industries face similar issues as Chile. While they face EMS rather than ISA, how the government, the private sectors and international regulatory bodies are deal with this while also competing for ocean access with newly re-authorized tourist cruise ships provides numerous arenas for insight into how the local population navigates conflicting interests. Going to Puerto Vallarta, additionally will allow me to highlight how here, in contrast to Chile and Peru, the rapid growth of population has led to numerous negative effects in waterways, a major problem considering the large role tourism plays in the area, and access to basic services. From here I would go to Chiapas to highlight the at times severe divisions that exist between the rural south of Mexico and it’s more industrialized northern region. To best illustrate the differences between these regions I would then go to Mexico City. I would build on this theme but also investigate how it is that civil groups, such as Grupo Eolico Mexico, have successfully petitioned the government to set a goal to have 35% of it’s energy usage produced by wind by 2024. Additionally worthy of attention is the effects of recent opening of investment into the country’s historically state owned oil-sector.

It is important to visit all of these locations to illustrate that variety of political and environmental conditions that the TPP will soon be implemented in. As the unleashing of new market forces and trade norms will not impact each region in the same manner, consumers of the content I produce will get a broader perspective of what the conditions are that the TPP will be affecting. I believe that by personalizing, historicizing and contextualizing the likely changes created by this trade agreement’s intent of increased prosperity and affluence for signatory countries will become more evident to current detractors while also pointing to areas that will require more conscientious effort to circumvent preventable problems.

New York City Radical History Tour

The content that I made for GPS-My-City is now available for download. It is an 18-stop GPS tour map with a history of each location in text and audio recordings. It’s almost like having me give you a guided tour of the sites!

In order to purchase it, first download the GPS-My-City App from the iTunes AppStore. Then search for the New York City Radical History tour from the in-app catalog.

Barcelona's Civil War History App Now Available!

The content that I made for GPS-My-City is a 18-stop GPS tour map with a history of each location in text and voice recording. It’s almost like having me give you a guided tour of the sites historically relevant to the Spanish Civil War.

In order to purchase it, first download the GPS-My-City App from the iTunes AppStore. Then search for the Barcelona Civil War tour from the in-app catalog.

A Civil Rights History Tour of New York City will be also up in the next three months!