In Medellin, it is illegal to dry your clothes on the balcony.
And that, really, tells you everything you need to know about the city.
It’s a pressing, wonderful shock, coming from the laid-back anything-goes life in Puerto Escondido.
My apartment is filled with poetry, art, sculpture - and it’s just a normal little apartment in a quiet part of town.
Identity is a funny thing - we never exist independently from the societies we live in, and the human tendency to conform and mimic is powerful and inescapable.
We live, every moment, feeling pressure from the archetypes that surround us. We can break those molds, but it takes consistent, constant effort.
This is what I meant about when I said that I don’t think Mexico is me. To be the full person I really am there means fighting against the tide. It’s doable, but it’s easier to blow things off, go surfing, and lay around all afternoon.
Here in Medellín, it feels like an entire wing of my personality just got unbarred. There’s space to expand into areas that previously took effort to enter. It’s harder to sit around all afternoon and soak in genuine relaxation. It’s easier to grab a notebook and get writing.
There are new pressures, too.
Here, I find myself silently coaxed to sit up straight when I’m eating out. To walk taller, more directly. To flex my brain, meet interesting people and connect with them, despite my limited Spanish. Yes, it’d be nice if I spoke better Spanish. But we come from different cultures. Here - a first in my travels - my status as a foreigner makes me more interesting, not less.
I’ve met three people in twelve hours who want to grab coffee. I had friends in Puerto, but other than my hosts, nobody really wanted to talk.
Art weaves through the city as a central thread. Inescapable and sharp. It’s like Paris that way - but unlike Paris in so many others.
Here, almost immediately, Medellín has reminded me of something I lost in the wonderful hazy summer days of Mexico.
I am driven. And I am an artist.
This me, this city, I can’t wait to explore.
One of the most powerful and suprising things about these travels is how different cultures draw out different aspects of my personality.
Who I am, shifting, finding a way to a new form, new expression of self.
To find myself capable of things I never knew were in reach.