Travelling is the greatest gift that you can give yourself. It is a wonderfully exciting adventure. After a year and half on the road I have been lucky enough to see so much of this beautiful world and encounter so many amazing humans along the way. However, being away from home for an extended period of time can take it's toll. Being separated from loved ones and familiar faces can be difficult, especially when travelling solo. Packing your bag every few days and starting fresh in a new hostel, city or country can be exhausting. It can also be lonely. Only staying in one place long enough to form Surface relationships and only knowing a place well enough to say you´ve seen it. My advice; slow down.
Not only will studying Spanish allow you to travel more easily, and have more authentic interactions with locals, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to slow down and settle in somewhere for a little while. Unpack that heavy backpack. Take a deep breath. Make yourself at home. I had intended to study at Spanish Adventure for two weeks, and six weeks later I'm still here writing this post. Whether you are able to attend Spanish school for one week or eight, let me tell you why you won't regret making time for it.
From the moment that I arrived in San Carlos I felt at ease. After the hustle and bustle of hitting up all of the backpacker hotspots on the Northern Colombian coast I was in need of a change of place. I had an amazing time but I was getting sick of the gringo trail and seeking something off the beaten track, and San Carlos was exactly what I was looking for. It was immediately obvious from the moment that I set foot in the Spanish Adventure school that it was a small, close knit group. After only a few hours I felt like part of the family, and that feeling has just kept growing exponentially.
Before studying at Spanish Adventure I rarely felt confident enough to practice my Spanish, and didn't need to since I was primarily surrounded by English speakers in touristic destinations. However, after quickly feeling comfortable around my fellow students and teachers I no longer felt ashamed to try to speak Spanish and even to make mistakes. Given that San Carlos is a small, non-touristy town, using Spanish on a daily basis with the locals is absolutely necessary. Not only are the San Carlintanos happy to speak with you (even when your Spanish isn't great) but they are also incredibly friendly, curious and interested in getting to know you. Being invited into strangers homes for a meal, or to the community dance aerobics class with the local women are regular occurrences here and have really made me feel part of the community.
Another major factor that contributes to feeling at home is having a routine. When you take the time to study at a Spanish School you will inevitably fall into some kind of routine. Here at Spanish Adventure a typical day consists of: going to Spanish Class, cooking and eating meals together family style, afternoon adventures (hiking, swimming, climbing), studying and practicing Spanish, spending time with the locals, exercising, and of course exploring the San Carlos nightlife. Of course you are travelling to have new experiences right? Slowing down long enough to learn Spanish will only expand your capacity to explore Latin culture further.
It is also inevitable that you will form incredible friendships with your fellow students (and teachers), especially considering you spend so much time together and are all here for the same common goal; to learn Spanish and have amazing adventures! While the time to really learn Spanish and explore Colombian culture