February was a little different for us.
We ceased being peripatetic and instead made a home in a city everyone avoided only a decade or two ago. It was a month where we remembered what we missed about our 'old' lives, but also felt reenergised to tackle the challenges we've made for ourselves in our 'new' ones.
Having heard so many good things from people on the road, we had decided that Medellin sounded like the perfect spot for us to decamp and get some work done.
Here's what we did, saw, drank, ate and generally enjoyed.
finding a home in a hostel
Unless you've spent this long living from hostel to hostel, constantly packing and unpacking your backpack, you have no idea how refreshing it is to finally have a big cupboard of your own for a few weeks. To not have to dig under two weeks of dirty pants to find that elusive clean t-shirt is a benefit of civilised life that we didn't fully appreciate until recently.
To our joy, that very special cupboard came as part of a home. Yellow House hostel was all we could have hoped for when we were firing out long-term accommodation enquiries to every corner of Medellin. And best of all? Dogs. Two of the biggest, most friendly, aptly yellow, canines we've ever met.
Staying put in one place for so long also meant that a big chunk of the budget that would normally be spent a buses of varying quality was left for little extras. Granted, some went on rum, but it also meant that we could stock up on good food and luxury ingredients, creating some awesome meals whilst still sticking to the budget.
The rotating cycle of pasta, pasta and eggs was regularly punctuated by pad thai, mushroom risotto (it even had wine in it!), Indian, Thai and Caribbean curries, Mexican burritos and plenty of wholesome veggie soups. And, to Andrew's very vocal joy, bacon sandwiches with Heinz ketchup. Of course, this meant that our emergency PG-tips stash took a bit of a beating, but it was well worth it.
For an entire month we had the same bed, went to the same shop, saw the same people and did the same things. Back in the UK we might have called this boring, a little too 'normal', but after nearly a year on the road, to us it felt just like home. The very thing we had been missing without even realising it.
When we started this little site of ours, we had no idea how saturated the 'travel blog' market actually was. We also had very little idea how much work making something worthwhile, relevant and mildly entertaining would take.
However, several months in, we're determined to make a success of it.
Though this meant that the vast majority of February was spent in pyjamas guzzling cups of Colombian coffee whilst glued to our laptops, it was time well spent. We caught up on a lot of the 'backlog', reformatted old posts, created new content and tried to come up with some semblance of a strategy for the next 12 months.
As we said, it takes up a lot of time. But it is time we genuinely enjoy giving.
Not for self-indulgent reasons (ooh, look at us on this trip!) but that it actually feels really good to be - forgive the twattishness of this statement - creative!
We both love that a big part of our day revolves around writing, taking and editing photos and trying to capture the essence of a place we've visited. Or writing crappy listicles. But hey, whatever works.
And the time we spent working actually paid off. We had our best month ever in terms of views and visitors, exceeded all our social media targets and had a mini-viral post on Nicaragua.
We now feel much more confident about what we want our site to be, what we want to write about and where we want it to take us.
being well cultural innit!?
The 'city of eternal spring' is not a particularly pretty place, but it is alive with culture and history.
Whether we were enjoying art galleries (Emily's high point was the dressing up area for kids), spending hours in the fascinating Casa de la Memoria, enjoying Colombia's greatest export (we of course mean coffee!), sampling fresh produce in the markets or getting to grips with the country's exotic fruits, there was always something to do around town when we were both ready to throw our computers out the window in frustration.
In the lead up to our stay, both of us were guilty of watching too many youtube documentaries about Medellin's most infamous son - Pablo Escobar. In fact, at the top of February's hypothetical bucket list was taking a tour to visit some of the key sites in his life and death.
However, after giving it more serious consideration, we decided instead to discover the city as a whole, rather than dwell upon this one man. We realised Medellin has so much more to offer than just its dark past and we only hope future visitors can take the same approach as we did.
It was refreshing for us to put down roots in one place and feel like we did more than just scratch the surface of Medellin's story. We devoured articles on the country's history and current trajectory, spent less time watching sensationalist documentaries and more on soulful pieces about the country's civil war victims and displaced.
This city and Colombia as a whole have so much to offer anyone willing to get past their negative stereotypes of crime and cocaine.
new friends and nights on the town
Our first night in February saw us meet our first ever real-life blogger and Medellin ex-pat - Leah from The Mochilera Diaries - and start another trend for this month. Drinking and dancing. And lots of it!
Leah introduced us to two things you simply can't miss when in Medellin - Parque Lleras and Aguardiente. The former being the place where people go to drink the latter pretty much every night of the week.
She knew where we could dance like idiots until 4 a.m. on a Saturday, where we could find the best cup of coffee, where to go for the tastiest pizza and helped Andrew perfect his paisa twang. It was great to have our own little guide to the city (she really is little).
And like London buses, you wait ages to meet one travel blogger, and then two come along at the same time: in addition to bringing back an inordinate amount of glitter from Carnival, Leah also returned with Jeremy, the guy behind travelFREAK.
Together, we formed a blogging super-team with a lot of hair gel, a lot of red lips and a lot of travelling under the belt. Pretty nasty hangovers ensued, but lasting friendships were made.
It turns out bloggers aren't all that bad y'know.