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Top 5 Attractions in Cartagena

Colonial buildings in the Colombian city of Cartagena. Street vendors sit outside the largest building.

The old colonial port city of Cartagena, Colombia, lies lazy and lethargic under a heavy blanket of pervasive Caribbean humidity. Long, labyrinthine alleyways wind between grand, multi-storey buildings coated in ivy leaves and perfumed flowers stretched across their brightly coloured faces and iron-wrought balconies. To explore in Cartagena is to brave the sweltering heat and to be rewarded with colourful streets brimming with local vendors, restaurants hidden behind shop fronts, and tiny squares surrounded by colonial architecture. These are the...

Acknowledging My White Privilege in Southeast Asia

Red and gold Thai temple

I’m considered exceptionally beautiful in Southeast Asia. Multiple local men stare at me as I walk down the street, and I have been propositioned by men several years older than I. My Thai cooking teacher referred to me as a “supermodel”, because I have the long legs that Thai women do not. I don’t attract this attention at anywhere near the same level at home in Australia. I get it in Southeast Asia because I am white. This is a...

Reclaiming Community Spaces in Medellín, Colombia

Blue street art of two young boys, two birds, and a large pink flower.

During the 1980’s, Medellín was the murder capital of the world. In this post, I talk briefly about the conditions during the city in this time and the terrorist acts committed under the orders of the drug lord Pablo Escobar. No traveller in the world would have considered Colombia to be a place that they wanted to travel, let alone the crime hotspot of Medellín. Today, Medellín is a traveller’s favourite and highly recommended by every person in Colombia that...

A Universal Experience of Sexual Harassment/Assault

A girl with brown hair and a grey beanie pointing to a bright red tree.

Trigger warning: this post contains discussions of sexual assault and rape. I was sitting by the side of the road in Kota Bharu, Malaysia, when I saw that a man was sitting on his motorbike and masturbating while staring at me. I froze in place. I didn’t know what to do. I was only 18 years old and I had luckily never encountered this kind of harassment before. I moved quickly down another road, but he continued to follow me...

Travelling with Chronic Depression

depression

Everyone seemed to promise that travel would be, at least at first, an all-consuming source of stimulation and excitement. Most days would be full of bright new experiences and stimulating social encounters with travellers and locals alike. Sometimes things could be expected to be stressful or lonely, but at the end of the day everything would add up to a great learning experience. I’ve spent my whole life trying to run from my depression. I fought seeing a psychologist for...

On Volunteering for the Sake of Volunteering

Green ricefields with a background of small buildings and large green mountains.

Coming from Australia, I’d never actually seen a gun in person before, but Wilson had been nothing but casual as he slung his hunting rifle over his shoulder and led us down the path into the forest. The trees were so closely packed that only fingertips of sunlight could touch upon my face and I wondered how we would be able to see any animals in the deep twisting labyrinth of foliage. These are skills that can be taught, which...