Unsettled Medellin, Through My Eyes: Eugene Leventhal
By Eugene Leventhal, Founder of EduDAO. Medellin alumni 2017
Another month comes to an end. Though this last month was unlike any of its predecessors. To say that my month with Unsettled in Medellin was fun would understate the profound impact that this month has had on me. Between the new environment, the great experiences, continuing my work with a fresh perspective, and mostly importantly, the beautiful people who were with me on this journey, this last month was unquestionably an unforgettable one.
One of the many amazing pieces of graffiti in Comuna 13
Changing up my environment at various points in my life has had a major effect on me. Medellin blew all of my expectations out of the water. The country as a whole, the city, the people, the pride — all absolutely stunning. The energy in a place like Medellin is contagious in all of the right ways. It makes you want to live life to the fullest, try new things, meet new people, and get out of your comfort zone. Maybe I was itching for something like this, but if any of that resonates with you, I’ll put my money on Medellin and a program like Unsettled unlocking all of those things within.
A waterfall hike through a river outside of Envigado
What’s a trip to an amazing place without fantastic stories to tell?! The trips around the region, going on adventures within the city, getting to stay up till the sun comes up with fantastic folks from all over the world, I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that. This month offered no shortage of opportunities to embrace the unknown, and taking life up on those opportunities has been a very lovely experience. It really gave me a glimpse into a new culture and a sense of pride in the growth of a city/country that I’m not sure I’ve seen before. From waterfall hikes to Colombian party buses to coffee farms to climbing a staircase that I still don’t fully comprehend the existence of, I know I got to experience a whole lot even though this wonderful place has so much more to offer.
Working with a fresh perspective
Our coworking space
I think one of the (many) things that Unsettled absolutely nailed was doing some purpose and value workshops to help those on the trip understand what they really want to get out of the month and out of life as a whole. Going through those exercises with people from all walks of life and ages really helped me both gain a new perspective on my life while also reinforcing that I’m not the only weirdo who can’t find fulfillment in the mundane, in the rote routine of life. I got to hear about other people’s journeys, successes, and failures, and all of gave me first hand exposure to lifestyles very different than my own. It also heightened all of my passions and helped me redefine my own priorities. I realize that not everyone is as privileged as I am to be able to do something like this, but this trip really highlighted the importance of having faith in my own passions and doing whatever I have to to make them a reality. A fulfilling, travel filled lifestyle with a career to boot isn’t a fantasy. It just takes overcoming fear, a lot of hard work, and having confidence and faith in yourself.
Photo taking of photo taking o n top of the tower in Guatapé. (This happened a few times)
As great as everything I just mentioned was, bar none what made the trip was the people. I’m someone who frequently feels out of place. Getting to be with a group of cosmopolitan characters who are all going through or have gone through similar struggles and challenges, who make themselves available for sharing and learning, and who readily embrace being vulnerable is priceless. The sense of connection and community I felt on this trip is something magical in its own right and I know it has left me with a new group of people I’m honored to call friends. Now I have more people to bother in new parts of the States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, the Netherlands, South Africa, and wherever else in the world these awesome folks will end up :). I do my best to be aware of what I’m lucky enough to have on a regular basis, but I have to say, I haven’t felt this blessed in a long time.
In case it hasn’t come across yet— I loved this trip. I can’t wait to see the results of the seeds we all planted this month, both in terms of professional conquests and, more importantly, in terms of the effect we’ll have on each other’s lives. I’m only on the cab ride (well I was when I wrote this) from a gathering with these wonderful peeps, but I know with absolute certainty that this experience doesn’t end here. No, it’s just the beginning of the next chapter of my life and this trip and people on it will all help me write the story of what will be the rest of my life. Thank you Colombia, thank you Unsettled, and thank all of you who shared this special moment in life.
Eugene Leventhal is a technology lover who uses it for social good. He currently runs eduDAO, a nonprofit that uses blockchain for crowdfunding and builds a community to crowdsource new solutions to social problems, and is starting up the Being Human in the 21st Century content series.