To live in Asia bring us a lot of privileges and one of theses is to travel a lot. We get to visit exotic destinations, eat incredible food, experience unique cultures, observe and mingle with people from different parts of the world.
A couple of years ago, I had the chance to visit Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. It is a busy and active port located on the northern coast of the country. Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be energy, colors, music, and rhythms … lots of rhythms. In the beginning, I thought it was the music, la Cumbia – a courtship dance immensely popular in Latin America with its roots in the African population of Colombia, but that wasn’t exactly it. Then, I attributed my reflections to Gabriel Garcia Marquez – a Nobel Prize winner who has pictured colors, magic and rhythms throughout his work. However, that wasn’t either. So, what was it then?I decided to take a walk with the full intention to deeply observe and find out where was that rhythm coming from.
After wondering around for a while, I decided to sit down on a bench in the plaza. There was action everywhere: vendors following tourists trying to sell their goods, small trolleys selling their “arepas” (flatbread made of ground maize dough), fresh fruits, and tourists capturing all the details with their cameras. There was a remarkable number of people standing in the corners of the plaza, mostly men, they appeared to be waiting for something, but I couldn’t realize what it was. It was exciting, entertaining and inspiring to see and to hear all the pulses, but still I didn’t know where the rhythm was exactly coming from! Suddenly, I started noticing that there was something about women, many women, moving, doing things, being busy, laughing, talking, enjoying themselves and there it was, that was the rhythm! The way these women walked was coming from their inner rhythm. I was amazed and enchanted by this observation. Cartagena is a beautiful land, full of history of hopes and dreams, sacrifices and opportunities, classical Spanish architecture and great tropical weather, but Cartagena is also the rhythm of his women. These beautiful ladies walked proudly carrying their voluptuous, groomed, round, warm bodies through the city’s streets. These self-confident bodies were the rhythm that left footprints at every step. To walk the way women walk in Cartagena is to feel beautiful through our path. To accept who we are, what we are, and how we look, not be afraid to be watched and appreciated for our bodies and to feel grateful for the opportunity to be alive. This trip gave me the opportunity to be inspired by other women, to see that beauty is not what we see with our eyes, but rather what we project with our gestures, our smiles, our tenderness, our connection and our rhythm. Let’s find these wonderful women; those who can be an inspiration to others, the ones who can teach us, show us, and provoke us. Our travels can be inspirational, motivational and learning experiences, let’s start making these trips worthwhile!