I am often asked why I like Colombia, South America so much. My response is, “Colombia and I share something – we are both misunderstood and quite often misrepresented!” I am quite happy when people realize that in spite of my progressive politics, unique views about religion, and gay activism – I am still quite a nice guy. The same is true of Colombia – in spite of the exaggerations of Colombian life portrayed in Hollywood movies, Colombia is quite a nice country! Seeing beyond stereotypes opens the mind to so many new possibilities! Also please notice… the country Colombia is spelled with an “o” not an “u” (Col
Like me, Colombia is much more progressive than many realize – sorry, I mean Colombia is more progressive… anyone that reads my blog already knows I am Progressive! Colombia’s government is a Republic with Democratic elections and three branches of government including Executive, Legislative and Judicial (that should sound familiar to Americans). The FARC have basically been neutered and the days of drug cartels controlling the country are now mythology. The drug lords, guerrillas, and kidnappings are great for the movies, but not a part of the typical Colombians daily life.
I have lived in both of Colombia’s largest cities, Bogota and Medellin. My opinion is that Bogota is more of a
metropolitan lifestyle similar to living in New York or San Francisco and Medellin a little more like living in Los Angeles with San Diego weather. Bogota has the larger population with just over 8 million to Medellin’s 3.75 million. Medellin’s climate is more ideal with a very pleasant 65 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 27 Celsius) year round, compared to the cooler climate of Bogota ranging from 50-75 Fahrenheit (10 – 24 Celsius). I have great friends in both cities but I feel the weather in Medellin is more conducive for Multiple Sclerosis, so now Medellin is home!
Colombia’s tourism campaign is: “Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay”. This proved to be very true for me! With an American Passport, 60 day tourist visits and there are other options for longer stays. I wanted to stay longer and found the way for me to get a resident visa called a pensionado visa ( basically a retiree’s visa to encourage people to retire in Colombia) . I do have to renew my visa annually, but that is ok with me. Colombia could be an option for many more, especially for the benefits of the climate for people with illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis. I invite people outside Colombia to come experience the reality of this beautiful country with beautiful, warm, welcoming people and forget what television and movies portray about Colombia! This is a country you should experience for yourself!
*** I will be posting weekly (maybe more) about life in Colombia – follow this blog and let’s share the experiences of this wonderful culture!