Monthly Newsletter for Colombia Calling, May 2020

As I write this, Interstate Love Song by the Stone Temple Pilots sounds in the background, and loudly. Perhaps I am drowning out other thoughts and thinking of more positive times but, what thoughts are there apart from Covid-19 and the fallout from this. Numbers in the US increase and there is a worrying uptick in Colombia too…against the backdrop of further phone-tapping and the revelation of files of information used for the monitoring of journalists in the country. 

Maybe this is a time for greater reflection and to reconsider how we live our lives and I definitely appreciate the articles being produced by most media outlets to this end, “how travel will change”, “how cities will be re-formed”, “how office spaces will adjust”, and so on, but how do we even know? 

On that note, this brings me to Ep322 of the Colombia Calling podcast with Australian hostel owner Shaun Clohesy in San Gil, Santander. Shaun is one of the original hostel owners in Colombia and helped pioneer the Colombian Hostels Association and amongst other things is almost single-handedly responsible for opening up San Gil as the adventure sports capital of Colombia. He, just like all of us with small businesses, is suffering immensely and is casting his net far and wide to try and raise funds to save his Macondo Hostel. His plan is to sell discounted pre-paid vouchers for stays in the hostel, and he hasn’t done badly, yet, nowhere near enough to see through another six months of this pandemic and the travel restrictions in place. Hear the podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud or Stitcher

Youtuber Zach Morris, waved farewell to his 900,000 plus followers and returned home to Kentucky. I don’t and cannot blame him for his actions, he was feeling the solitude in Cali under lockdown. As Zach is a Colombian citizen, we know he’ll return, this is merely a corona virus inspired hiatus in which he can spend time with his family. Be sure to keep an eye on his youtube channel as there’ll be a conversation with author of Kilo, Toby Muse (Eps 302 , 320) before long and as you listeners know, Toby is great value for money with his anecdotes and knowledge of Colombia. Tune in to hear Zach on Spotify, Soundcloud or Stitcher

May Episodes

Ep323: We take a rest from the Covid-19 theme and return to our favoured topic of Colombia and chat to Judge and Barrister, Sarah Lucy Cooper from the UK, who shares with us a little about how a stint in Colombia in 1990 defined the way in which she decided to live her life. 

Ep324: Many of you will have read the incredible article and piece of journalism that paints the harrowing reality of what migrants go through when venturing through the Darien Gap from Colombia to Panama. Canadian journalist Nadja Drost will give us the full story. The photographer for the piece was Carlos Villalon, who some of you may remember from Ep227 and then perhaps compare Drost’s experiences with Daniel Eggington‘s ill-fated expedition on Ep303.

Other news 

The good folk at the Colombian Coffee Connection, have offered listeners of the Colombia Calling podcast a fantastic discount. Order 60,000 COP of coffee on their website and enter the code, “Colcalling” and receive free shipping to anywhere in Colombia. I can vouch for the quality of the coffee and not only is it fair trade and organic, but a percentage of the proceeds goes back to the Nasa communities in Cauca, where the coffee is cultivated. Ervin Liz, the director of the CCC has been on the podcast several times. Refresh yourself and tune in to Ep 267

And finally, as the owner of the San Rafael hotel in Mompós, I have decided to join the initiative to offer healthcare workers free stays in the hotel once the pandemic has come to an end. This is something that was cooked up by two englishmen in Spain. Check out the My Travel Pledge website for more information. Obviously, our offer extends to healthcare workers in Colombia as well as overseas and is just a small token of our appreciation for their work at this most challenging time. 

Thank you all once again for your continued support, please feel free to suggest topics for discussion and people to invite on the Colombia Calling podcast. 

Stay safe please 


About Richard

Anglo-Canadian resident in Colombia. Journalist, Writer, Hotelier, Expedition Guide
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