This will not be the final blog entry of the year but, as I reflect on the year that has been 2014, it is hard for me not to use a startling cliché, but it really has been a year of transition for me. When I think back of how the year started, I really took a long time to push the lift-off button and get into the flow of things. We remained in Mompos until late January and then went on holiday to Brazil!
Of course, the usual existential concerns plagued me as a freelance journalist. Where would the next piece of work and subsequent pay cheque come from, and there would be the invariably techy emails back and forth with “friendly” editors. But, as always rather than through my own productivity, work fell from the sky and I continued as an OpEd writer for Bogota’s City Paper (which got me in trouble on one occasion!), as the Colombia correspondent for the Turkish Anadolu Agency and indeed had a fulltime job in the Alcaldia Mayor de Bogota for all of a whopping 12 days.
Colombia Calling, my niche market online radio show and podcast has continued to grow and we are routinely pulling in 6000 downloads per week. I am happy to say that as I write this I am prepping episode 76 and when the year is out we’ll have completed 79 episodes. Keep on listening folks and please get in touch and recommend people who you would like to hear from and to be interviewed. I was particularly touched to be sent some recording headphones/ mic and a book by different listeners out there.
So, the transition of 2014. I really thought I would move away from journalism but it appears to have pulled me right back in. For this I am thankful. More literary circles appear to be opening up here in Bogotá and so it seems to be a good time to be in the writing circus. On that note, I am plugging away trying to get the first draft of “the Mompos Project” done for the end of the year and there is one publishing house prepared to look at it. So, please, keep the good vibes coming for that dream to materialize.
Of course, the political situation in the country has kept me busy with the peculiar elections and the intrigue surrounding them and then the, at times justified, bullying of Bogotá’s Mayor Gustavo Petro. The peace dialogues have been a source for both despair and hope and 2013’s Specialization in Conflict Resolutions has come in quite handy for background knowledge to what is going on.
There are further projects in the pipeline in addition to my own book, the updating of the Bradt Guide to Colombia, some work on a Gabo Anthology, some guiding and other restorations in Mompos to keep me busy in addition to the initially small yet massively impacting news that Alba will be having a baby boy in mid April.
So, the year of transition is coming to an end and heralds another year of transition really. I shall see out 2014 fittingly with some Suffolk Cider, imported and provided by the Great British Cider co. If that doesn’t represent a transition in Colombia from the ubiquitous aguardiente and warm Old Parr, then we’re all in trouble.
Stay tuned for my final piece for 2014 which is going to be a reflection on the peace dialogues taking place in Havana, Cuba between the FARC and the Colombian government.