Remote Year

35 in 35


I celebrated my 35th birthday in my 35th country, which seemed quite fitting to me. It was quite the full birthday week. Nearly 20 of us traveled to/met up in the beach town Cartagena over Easter weekend. My birthday was that Saturday, and it started with a lazy brunch at a fabulous cafe, followed by rooftop pool time looking out over the both the old and new city. Later that night we celebrated with a private dinner on yet another rooftop, then headed to Cafe Havana, an iconic Cuban salsa bar.

Brunching with my besties. (Photo by Sami.)

The next day we recovered while relaxing on an island beach off the coast of Cartagena. Then, on Monday a dozen of us squeezed onto a boat and motored 2 hours out into the Caribbean to a floating hostel, Casa en el Agua. We had no cell service and no wifi for more than 24 hours. It was fabulous.

Jumping into 35 like woah.

After the two-hour boat ride back to Cartagena, my friend Becca and I said Adios to the rest of the group and hopped on a bus to meet up with Jenna in Santa Marta, squeezing in some work during the 4-hour ride. After spending a day working from our hostel, our ultimate destination was Tayrona National Natural Park, where the jungle meets the beach. The three of us hiked over boulders for three hours through the jungle to a gorgeous beach, where we promptly ran into four British lads we had befriended at Casa en el Agua a few days before. It was yet another sign that after a decade of rebuilding the infrastructure and promoting tourism, the Colombian tourist trail has become pretty well-trod.

Enjoying a quiet morning moment looking out over the jungle near Tayrona with Becca, Jenna and a cuppa Joe.

When I set out on Remote Year, I thought I’d make a couple of good friends out of the 75ish people in our group, but 9 months into this grand adventure, I keep marveling at how much I just simply adore everyone in my Ikigai family. This trip confirmed that the richness of the friendships I’ve gained through Remote Year will extend well beyond these 12 months. Celebrating another year around the sun with one adventure was a great way to kick off 35. Looking forward to whatever adventures the next 12 months bring.

Also published on Medium.