Emotions shooting through the roof – I was heading back to Bogota. Or maybe I wasn’t.


I arrived home from Mongolia after 30 hours of travel time, with about that long till my next flight. I slept, organized, and laundered, though it must be said – there’s not a lot of overlap between what I packed for Ulanbaatar and what I’d need in Bogota. Maybe chapstick.

Anyway, this was Sunday morning, time to check in for Monday’s 6:00 a.m. flight. I reached for my passport. In my backpack, of course. Nope. In my suitcase? Impossible, but I’ll look. In my jeans back pocket? In the laundry? Uh-oh! But no, not there either. I ended up at the airport, knocking on Lost and Found doors that wouldn’t open till 8:00 a.m. Monday. I called AA and pushed my flight back in the day, fingers crossed.

But keep your powder dry too, right? I also readied my paperwork for a new emergency passport – but it turns out emergency passports are from embassies, not people in the U.S. And not one passport office within 500 miles had an open appointment. I’d have to go to 19th Street in DC and plead my case to whatever rent-a-guard was standing over the security scanner.

I slept zero minutes Sunday night. At 4:30 I headed toward the airport, even knowing it’d be hours till they opened. In a nearby Starbucks I met a passel of youth pastors who prayed that my passport would be found and that I’d get to travel that day. That was exceedingly nice of them, of course. [Prayer emoji goes here]

I was woozy from lack of sleep and excess of caffeine as I walked up to Lost and Found at 7:56. I was promptly told “It’s 7:56” in an unkind voice, but still, someone went in the back room, emerging a few minutes later to ask my last name. Hope stirred. When she handed my passport over I started crying, which she halted with her sneering question, “Are you OK?” (Asked NOT in a spirit of compassion, but one of, What on earth is WRONG with you?)

Onward to Bogota

Apart from checking securely zippered pockets over and over again for my little navy blue World Master Key, the rest of the trip couldn’t have gone better. A foggy morning departing from Bogota became a gorgeous sunrise on my way to Cucuta, a city on the border with Venezuela.

Two days full of work there were quickly dispatched, and I returned to Bogota. (Normally I would never gloss over so blithely an entire cute little city tucked into a mountain valley, but I was so excited to get back to Bogota I could barely squee.) I scanned the familiar roadsides and interrogated the driver about any changes, as if they’d been his own personal responsibility.

Work dragged me around the first couple of days, but on the weekend, I started with a leisurely four-hour lunch with my lovely friend Cata, at a place my regular readers will instantly recognize: JULIA.

Cycling back to Cyclovia

Sundays in Bogota mean Cyclovia – the streets are closed and the folk come out in droves to walk, scoot, skate, pram, and – of course – bike. I felt like I was home. The skies were a bit gray and the streets were jam packed. Street musicians. Beautiful views of the mountains.

And graffiti – half the fun of walking in Bogota are the murals. I once did a graffiti tour of Bogota – which I would recommend highly – and I recognized some of the artists from when I was here before. The guide reminded us to look around – high up, down low, little hidden corners… It’s worth slowing down a bit and enjoying the magic.


I can’t even talk about these folks without getting teary – it was so wonderful to see them and to relive some of our old fun, then catching up.

Seeing them again gave me such a deep happiness, I can’t describe it in words. If it was a song, it would be the most joyful one you can imagine. They are what I think of when I think of Bogota and of Colombia. This was my first time living far from home on a long-term basis, and these are the folks (along with a handful of other wingnuts, intellects, dancers and tour guides) who became Home for me. Seeing them floored me, and then lifted me up.

Wouldn’t be Bogota

It wouldn’t be Bogota without unpredictable weather – in this case, rainstorms that gathered from nowhere and soaked us to the bone. Just hours later, the sun is out and the sky looks down on us mortals with a “Who, me?” expression. “Sure, play tennis…” the sky says. “If you dare!”

Final pic is me, plotting how to return. I love and miss you, my bogotano friends!