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Backpacking with my boys!

Piranha fishing in the Amazon

‘Gapping’ for the whole family…
Becky Gunning, the fashion, interior and travel blogger @Bricksandstitches shares with School Notices her story of travelling with her young family around Colombia

Earlier this year my husband was given gardening leave. We needed to make the most of this valuable time and had talked for years about doing a big family trip, but something always seemed to get in the way. Having travelled across South America in my twenties, Colombia was definitely top of the travel list.

Colombia’s size and diversity meant that we could experience the Amazon jungle, Caribbean beaches, mountainous coffee regions and vibrant cities. The 2016 Peace Treaty also meant it was safe to travel with huge areas of the country opening up. This was critically important as we were taking our eight and ten year old boys.

We knew the only way to experience the real Colombia and have a true adventure was to backpack and do the trip on a shoestring, so we stayed in hostels and took public transport. We travelled light. The boys only took what they could carry which meant a blissful six week digital detox!

After a few nights in Bogotá, we flew down to the Amazon on the Brazilian/Peruvian boarder. We travelled for a few hours down the river by boat and stayed in an Indigenous tribal village. It was a totally authentic and humbling experience to stay in one of the most remote parts of the world, whilst slightly daunting given the boys were with us. To give you a sense of how remote it was, the nearest highway was over 800km away. After the jungle we flew north to the Caribbean coast, working our way towards the Venezuelan border (which we didn’t get too close too!). We then headed up to Panama, gradually making our way south through Cartagena, Medellin and eventually back to Bogotá.

Cartagena’s mud volcano

Obviously there were a few inevitable low points. Leaving a bag containing £3,000 and all of our vital documents in a taxi was a hairy moment, amazingly we found it untouched! The food wasn’t great either, so if you plan on visiting Colombia as part of a gastronomic tour, think again!

We saw and experienced so many incredible things. From the wild, natural beauty of the coast, to the untouched expanse of the Amazon. From the devastation caused by the inconceivable violence of the 50-year long war to the hope and happiness of people who are experiencing peace for the first time in their lives. It is an experience that will stay with us forever.

We were beyond proud to see how kind and respectful our children were of their environment, the culture and the people. Nothing can quantify the value of this type of experience together as a family. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat.


Follow Becky on @Bricksandstitches for fashion, interior and travel ideas

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