As the seasons change in the northern hemisphere (insert sad face emoji), we are already thinking springtime — and the City of Eternal Spring to be exact. With an average annual temperature of 72°F, life is blooming in Medellin, Colombia all year round. Today on the blog we sat down with our honorary paisa (someone from the northwest regions of Colombia), Unsettled Experience Leader, Corey Schultz. Corey will be leading his 5th month-long retreat in Medellin! Before you snag your spot, we sat down with Corey to talk all about living Unsettled, why he loves Medellin, and what the city and its people have taught him.
Q) Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where have you been living and exploring this summer so far?
A) I have been working with Unsettled for about a year and a half and am currently on my 11th retreat as an Experience Leader! Before I joined Unsettled, I lived for 2 years in Botswana with the United States Peace Corp, where I taught English in a primary school. So far this summer, I was the Experience Leader on Unsettled: Amazon in July and earlier this year led Unsettled: Nicaragua and Unsettled: Medellin. Between March and July I went on a two month road trip where I saw three of America’s National Parks.
Q) What do you love about Medellin? What makes it an easy place to call home?
A) What I love about Medellin is how the city has found the perfect intersection between urban and nature. Just today in Medellin, I was walking down the street and at one of my favorite cocktail bars, in El Poblado, there is a beautiful babbling brook meandering through the neighborhood. The city has beautiful green spaces as well as very hip, funky, and urban nightclubs, restaurants, and cocktail bars. It is an easy place to call home because it has a bit of everything. For example, Park Arvi is just a short trip away and there you are in the trees. If you want to party, you can. If you want to have a private dinner, you can. The music is incredible. The dancing is epic. It has a little taste of everything a person needs in a city — nature, an urban community, music, culture, art, and the occasional break of quiet.
Q) What makes the spirit of innovation and the unique coworking culture of Medellin so special? Why do you think it is a productive and inspiring city to work remotely?
A) I think that the spirit of innovation is alive in Medellin mostly because of its darker history. Up until pretty recently, Medellin was considered one of the most dangerous cities on earth. Once Pablo Escobar was gone and the narcos were under control, the city was sort of free of this dark torture it had been through for so long. It could literally do anything. I think so many cities and so many people are burdened by wanting to make the right choices without being superfluous. Medellin sort of just said “yes” to everything. It has one of the most innovative transportation systems in the world. It has done a great job connecting the poorer neighborhoods to the downtown centre. That spirit of innovation, of saying yes, has spilled over into its entrepreneurial sectors, its coworking, and every other aspect of the city. Innovation is valued here more than any other place I’ve seen before. It is inspiring because you are able to try and fail here. In addition to that work ethic, it is a beautiful city to work in as well. You are in this bowl surrounded by mountains and it’s so alive and so happy. It is so happy here because of its dark past, because it remembers what it used to be like, and what life could be like. It is such an incredibly grateful city to be in. And that vibe carries over in every aspect.
Q) Where is your favorite place to go to for a weekend getaway?
A) The Pacific coast! Everyone is always eager to go to Cartagena, which is on the Caribbean coast. There is a lot of beauty there but for me it is crowded. The whale migrations take place on the Pacific coast and you can watch them migrate from Nuqui, El Valle, Bahia Malaga and Bahia Solano. There is a quiet solitude there compared to the Caribbean coast. It is also great for surfing, scuba diving, and the beaches are beautiful. It is not your average weekend getaway because it takes a little more effort to get to. It’s less developed than the Caribbean coast and just a little more adventurous. They don’t have the white sand beaches like you do in Cartagena, but they have miles and miles of black sand beaches that kiss the edge of the jungle. You can walk for miles without seeing another person. My ideal way to travel is with a little more effort and a little more adventure. That is also my style as an Experience Leader 🙂
Q) While leading an Unsettled retreat, where do you go for a quiet moment?
A) There are more places than you would think to get a quiet moment in Medellin. It is a loud city for sure, but if you know where to look you can always find a little time and place to collect your thoughts. There are many, many coffee shops in El Poblado, where we live, which can be quiet and reflective. For me, if I need a moment of meditation, if I want to do some photography, or have a beer and do some journaling, the rooftop of our apartment building is my favorite place to go. For me, it is the best view that I have found in the city, especially when the sun drops behind the mountains. You have this perfect view of the city when all the lights come on. It also overlooks the smaller airport, and I like to watch the airplanes take off and land. You can see all of the hustle and bustle from a bird’s eye view.
Q) What has the city of Medellin taught you?
A) I am a citizen of the United States of America and for many Americans, we sort of consider this time in our history to be pretty dark and unfortunate. One thing that I have learned in Medellin is that it is easy to focus on the darkness and all of the bad shit that is happening. But if this city is any indication, it is often through those terrible times where the greatest contribution to art, culture, and community are made. We have a choice in life to either say “these are terrible times” or we can be inspired by people who don’t take things sitting down and act to make this dark world in which we find ourselves a little more colorful. This can be done literally through a mural, or inspiring the world through the innovative spirit that Medellin has proven is possible.
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Knock knock! We have arrived for our second retreat in the land of eternal spring. Open up, Medellin🚪 . Announcing our Medellin experience for later this summer. If you missed out this month and want to explore #Colombia with us, link in bio to apply for Medellin September and grab the early-bird spot. . (📷: @lauramachs) . #BeUnsettled #EmbraceTheUnknown #UnsettledMedellin #VisitColombia #Jardin #BeautifulDestinations #DoYouTravel