Bogotá is Not for Tourists

I’ve never been one to read reviews on Yelp or Travel Advisor or just about anything else because the world has somehow become full of bitter, angry people, and people who spew foolishness to be noticed over the last few years, it just feels great to develop my own thoughts on just about everything. Traveling is no different.

When I told folks I was coming to Bogotá, Colombia, the reviews poured from their mouths and fingers, unsolicited, but accepted. They shared words such as:

“It’s an okay place, but after a day, you’ll be tired of it.”

“The weather sucks, and that will make your trip kinda lame. You should go elsewhere.”

“I liked it, but nobody speaks English and that blew me, but I survived.”

And many other seemingly negative thoughts. But then there was the one from Beth:

“Oh, yeah, I loved it there. There wasn’t enough time to do everything I wanted to do. You’ll love it.”

Bogotá isn’t for tourists. Michael Lewis, author of Boomerang: Travels in the New World, wrote, “A tourist can’t help but have a distorted opinion of a place: he meets unrepresentative people, has unrepresentative experiences, and runs around imposing upon the place the fantastic mental pictures he had in his head when he got there.” Bogotá isn’t for those people. Those people who come with more than one carry on item and make reservations weeks before arriving. Those people who live so far from the edge, they’re barely on the roof. No, Bogotá is for the travelers.

“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” – G.K. Chesterton

The traveler shows up not know what will happen, when it will happen, and isn’t concerned with that. The traveler’s only concerns are a safe place to drop the carry on bag, good energy all around at all times, and an open schedule. The rest will take care of itself. The travel is never done with a place because there will always be more to see and do. There will always be new faces to become accustomed to, new stories to tell, and foods untried. The traveler doesn’t know boredome with a place. If the traveler ever says “Three days is enough in that city,” it’s because they’ve gauged your feelings, thoughts and what you’re seeking to do in a location, and knows how soon you can make those things done.

Bogotá is for the traveler. 5 days in the city, moving and shaking from early morning to late night, and I still haven’t cracked the surface. It gives me reason to return.

Tourists should stick to Caribbean islands and cliché destinations with resorts and concierge.

“The traveler was active. He went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive. He expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes ‘sight-seeing.'” – Daniel J. Boorstin

Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.