Sam Castañeda Holdren
It was a year ago today when I landed in Medellin. I was on a mission — I wanted to see if I could make the city of eternal Spring my home. You see, I had visited here before, and like so many tourists, I had fallen in love with the place.
Around town, I often get asked, especially by paisas – a word Colombians use to describe the people from this region of the country – what is it that makes Medellin so special that I would leave my home in the United States and move here. I was even asked that question by superstar J Balvin, a world-famous reggaetonero from Medellin who I happened to meet casually one day at the movies. Okay, sure, I was star-struck and I barely made any sense when I tried to speak, but it stood out to me that even he asked that question that I get asked all the time, as if it’s somehow surprising that anyone would love the perfect weather, tropical greenery, friendly neighbors, easy pace and other great characteristics that define this gorgeous city.
The thing is, I’m not sure there’s just one way to answer that question. Medellin is a magical place – a part of the world where I feel at peace. And as a gay man who has fought some uphill battles in conservative parts of the United States, finding peace is, at least for me, a huge part of finding happiness.
With this blog, I hope to be able show you why Medellin is that magical place for me and for so many others. More specifically, a few friends of mine and I hope to share our experiences as members of the gay community in Colombia, providing a window to gay Colombia life.
Why is this important? Well, when I first came here in 2013 to study Spanish, I naturally wanted to find ways to connect with the gay community. Locating information online proved to be a challenge. While some websites exist, the information I found was often out-dated and a lot of the information didn’t really speak to my interests of finding and forming community with gay Latinos and expats in the area.
So, after a year of living in my new home, my friends and I are starting this blog – for now titled Out in Colombia. Our hope is that the next time you google the terms gay Bogota or gay Medellin you’ll find some useful information on our blog about all that Colombia has to offer LGBT visitors. We’re not yet sure how this site will evolve or all of the topics we’re going to cover, but you might expect to read about the local scene, tourist sights and destinations, health and fitness, dating, community events and activities, political issues and things like that. If none of that interests you, let us know what does. We’re just starting the conversation. As we kick things off, we’d love to hear your opinion. Have some ideas for content? Or have some design suggestions? Send us your feedback or submit a comment on this blog post. We’re looking forward to talking with you.