Many people have asked me why I have chosen to stay in Colombia for so long. The natural beauty, great people, weather, etc, etc, are all factors. But a little known-fact is that the country is an intensely spiritual place, providing all sorts of experiences that challenge you to go inward, explore the limits of the self, transcend the physical experience to find something truer, deeper.

I am writing you from a bus, hurtling towards Santa Marta on the coast from Bogota. It is both literally and metaphorically a journey of perseverance, self discovery, and learning the limits of this flimsy physical body. It is the perfect practice of transcendence. I am almost grateful.

In the last 60 seconds we’ve gone from 101km/hr to 29.4km back to 74km/hr and down to 14.3km/hr. This teaches me about the need to be adaptive, flexible, and the importance of bringing a puke bag.

The man ahead of me, talking on his phone in his outside-voice at 2am is teaching me to respect each persons’ unique story, to have patience in relating, to treasure my own inner stillness, and to bring either ear plugs or a baseball bat on my next voyage.

Additionally, I have learned to transcend the body as I go beyond the various garments I’ve adorned myself with – socks, leggings with shorts on top, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, a man’s running shirt, and a knit tank top as the outermost layer, two scarves (one around my head and eyes like a turban, the other around my neck just in case things become really desperate). The in-cabin thermometer says it is 14 degrees in the bus right now. The A/C is relentless in the darkness… I only have 6 more hours before the sun is off and they turn off the A/C as it gets hot outside, teaching me there is no such thing as reason or rationality, that all there can be is surrender.