critical tourist (1)

Travel stories that shouldn't be shared🤫

In this tale, journey with me through the heart of Cartagena, where love dances to the tunes of salsa, secrets hide behind colorful facades, and every sunset brings a story of its own.

Iulia Hau
Iulia Hau

Returning from Venezuela, with less than 24 hours under my belt, I finally felt the weight lifting. The bustling streets of Caracas, the nights of restless anticipation, and the deep yearning for sleep all seemed distant memories. The muscles that had been tense for days now felt a semblance of relaxation. While the emotional rollercoaster of love, frustration, and agitation was still very much alive, there was an undeniable hint of freedom in the air.

It must have been around two in the morning when I arrived in Cartagena, after over 30 hours of travel. All I wanted was to quickly get into the hostel, rush to the locker where I had left all my valuables, and ensure they were still there. I parted from him with a passionate kiss (or at least that’s how my body felt that night, leaning against the hostel wall) and hurried to my bed, wondering if my question, “Why can’t I sleep at your place?” was genuinely answered. Why couldn’t he take me to his home in Cartagena after two weeks of being fully integrated into his family? After sharing everything I had with him and his family? After the future plans we made together? These were the questions on my mind as I awaited sleep.

“Well, Carlos also has his woman who helps him,” one of the boys’ words hit me a couple of days later during a casual conversation after a street breakdance show.

“Carlos is with someone?” I managed to mumble, my mouth half-numb.

“Yeah, that’s his woman. They’re expecting a child.”

If I said the sky fell on my shoulders, I’d be underestimating the weight of the sky and mocking gravity. No, it was infinitely more painful. In those moments, it felt like the earth stopped spinning, life withered and vanished in a snap, and loneliness consumed me as if it had been starving for centuries, waiting just for me. It was one of those moments where you can’t distinguish between the heart and the stomach. It felt like the stomach, witnessing the heart’s desperate attempts to break free, decided to start beating too, hoping to weaken the resistance of the bones. Or perhaps the wounded heart sought refuge in the stomach, aware of its fragility and the impending explosion.

I’m convinced Jorge didn’t let that comment slip by accident, even if it seemed so at the moment. Such words that can paralyze a human being don’t just slip out. I haven’t yet discerned the real motive behind his statement, but I didn’t care much. I was grateful from the very first second.

My time in Cartagena was a whirlwind of emotions. From the highs of new experiences to the lows of heartbreak, it was a journey of self-discovery. And as I pen down these memories, I’m reminded of the complexities of human relationships, the transient nature of emotions, and the timeless beauty of Cartagena that witnessed it all.

To all the travelers out there, remember, every journey has its tales – some spoken, some untold. Embrace them all, for they shape the traveler in you. 🌟

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