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Vacay in the Middle of the Semester: The Bogotá Experience

For this year’s Valentine’s Day, I decided to embark on a journey of self love. In addition to leaving the experience with a new tiny family, I built relationships that touched me in ways I hadn’t expected were possible within the span of a week. More importantly, I returned to the United States with an open and warmed heart, a little tan, and a thirst for more adventure. Here’s exactly how it went down.

February 14th – At around 5am, I headed to the airport with my dad. I was half asleep and fully nervous, constantly checking my bag to make sure that I hadn’t left my passport or money. I went through security and all of that fun stuff, then sat at the gate and waited to board. I was especially anxious because this would be my second travelling experience. Only, this time I’d be navigating logistics of getting through an airport on my own. Other than an itinerary I’d received prior to the trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect and to add to my nerves, I didn’t know anyone else who’d be accompanying me in a group for the next few days– save for my friend and her amazing mom who had planned it out. I was excited and anxious, as I usually am before trips. I had a very short layover, and then I arrived in Bogotá a little after two and made my way through customs. As the day progressed, I became more familiar with the individuals on the trip– all girls, by the way– and we ended the day with salsa dancing and dessert for dinner.

February 15th – After getting up super early, we had breakfast in the cutest place– pancakes with fruits, such as ghost berries– before going on a walking tour. In an attempt to fit in as much as possible, we gave ourselves a walking tour of the city to see sites such as the Casa de Nariño– the house of the president– and a small restaurant to try Chicha, which is another traditional drink. To wrap things up, we finished the tour at another small eating establishment, playing tejo– a throwing game with gunpowder– to ease some of the awkwardness still felt because of how new everything and everyone still felt. I munched on some empanadas and arepas as we headed over to Museo Nacional. I love art museums and everyone in the group knew this by now, so this was a highlight for sure. We went back to the hotel to change, and then decided to go to a restaurant called Andrés for dinner, drinks and DANCING– a much needed break from walking around and touring.

February 16th – We had breakfast at the hotel, then went to some of the vendors who were open at this market happening close to the hotel. Afterwards, we went to visit La Catedral de Sal and had community lunch in this nice open space with live music. Because there were so many vendors around and because I like to shop, we did a bit more shopping and then got ready to go to the spa. We ended the day with dinner at a restaurant called Oliveto, then went back to the hotel for the night.

February 17th – Monday was the last full day! We went to De Tal Madre’s house — @detalmadre on IG– to have empanadas and to indulge in a self-love workshop and some calligraphy lessons with Catalina –@Cata.tinta on IG. The self love workshop was extremely emotional as we revisited difficult situations and opened up about both the painful and the joyful experiences we’d encountered throughout our lives. However, it definitely brought all of us closer. De Tal Madre made us tartar, tres leches with gulupa–passion fruit– and encocado de corvina–fish, rice, coconut, and other yummy ingredients. It was delicious! Catalina taught us how to make beautiful pieces through the art of calligraphy, and made us the cutest notebooks and bags. We went to get matching tattoos later at Dr. Calavera’s– I got the signature of one of my favorite artists, Caravaggio. Of course, we had to do shop in the area one last time, and then we headed to a restaurant called Wok for our last dinner together. We cried together at dinner and revelled in the beautiful, emotional day.

February 18th – By the time I had woken up, a few people had left for the airport, but the remaining six of us congregated to have a light breakfast and wander around the area by our hotel one last time, before heading off to the airport. I got to reflect a lot on the trip– I truly and honestly felt like I had been there longer than a few days and like I had known every single member of the group I’d been travelling with for all of my life. I will truly miss Maggie, Tennessee Queen and enthusiast, Taylor, the sweetest person and my dance partner, Ali, an amazing artist, Jordan, a fierce animal lover and easygoing individual who had inspired our last night at the bar, Rebecca, someone with the sickest dance moves, Mercer, a beautiful art enthusiast with killer spanish skills, and Nikka and Manualita– the amazing mother- daughter duo who had made this all possible. I don’t know if these people realize how much they’ve touched my heart or all that I’ve learned from them. However, it happened! These connections and memories made it extremely difficult for me to say goodbye, which is a feeling I’ve treasured. However, we’re already planning our trip to see our Tennessee Queen, soon. So, it’s not a “goodbye” but a “see you later”. It has been real Bogotá. ¡Hasta Luego!

My name is Jhazzmyn Joiner. I am a 4th year Literature, Media, and Communication Major at Georgia Tech. I enjoy writing, singing, and stepping in front of the camera sometimes. I was born in Las Vegas, NV (reasons my ig name is SinCity.Records). I enjoy doing things with my non-profit, The Joiner Foundation, Inc. (look us up!!!)
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