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@radiobrendan
When you’re an expat who has been based in Colombia for a while, you generally get used to the place; well, as much as a westerner can in these parts. In fact, you can even start to take it for granted, especially in terms of its natural beauty.

It is only when you return to your old home ‘comforts’ that you are reminded about what are still the standard opinions of Colombia from those in the ‘developed’ world. Those are, simply put, that the place is wild and dangerous, drug-ridden and best to be avoided. As Colombians are well aware, it takes a long time to change a negative image.

Laura Vega, Boogaloo Travel founder.

Laura Vega: “I put my heart into this project and I will do my best to make this an unforgettable and unique experience for everyone who joins.”

But things are changing, if ever so slowly. One way that can be measured is in the increase of foreign tourists coming here and with it, an increase in travel companies focusing on the country.

One of the newest on the scene is Boogaloo Travel; the baby of a petite-sized but larger than life, travel/adventure junky Colombiana, Laura Vega. Wrong Way caught up with her to find out what’s unique about what Boogaloo has to offer the adventure-seeking traveller.

You describe Boogaloo as a ‘trip company’ rather than a ‘tour company’. Why are you so keen to `make that distinction?

“Because our aim is to create a new way of travel where we meet like-minded people who like and want to be active, who know that having a healthy, adventurous life will have a positive impact on not only themselves but also the planet we live on. We don’t organise tours, because it’s not about a group of people following someone and getting told what to do; we offer trips for enthusiastic people full of energy and ideas and who wish to share them with others.”

So Boogaloo Travel is only for people who like adventure and lots of activities when they travel ..?

Pilón de Azúcar, La Guajira.

The wild and majestic La Guajira.

“Yes, but also for curious people who feel motivated to understand the world we live in by travelling to other cultures, actively engaging with them and becoming part of their development. Yet, we offer several different trips with varying styles and costs”

So those who take on the Boogaloo challenge, what can they expect? What gems of Colombia will they get to see?

“The main activities we offer are cycling (which you can enjoy in four destinations), hiking, rafting, paragliding, quad-biking, windsurfing, dancing lessons and kayaking.

From my perspective, the most outstanding places we visit (although every place has something special!) are:
Salento, where we hike to the tallest palm trees in the world; San Agustín, where we explore one of the most important archaeological sites in Colombia, with stunning green mountains providing a wonderful backdrop; Tatacoa, where the desert offers a perfect setting for landscape pictures by day, while you can expect to be treated to a celestial show of meteor showers by night; Villa de Leyva, a simply beautiful Colombian colonial town; Guatapé, where after climbing 649 steps, we have a gorgeous view of a man-made lake that covers the entire surrounding area; Tayrona, home to virgin Caribbean beaches; La Guajira, the northernmost part of South America where the desert runs majestically into the sea; and Cartagena, the romantic city famous for its beautiful colonial architecture full of colourful, flower-filled balconies and unforgettable sunsets.

I could go on, but you get the idea — this is a beautiful country after all! For a full itinerary, just check out our web site!”*

Mentioning your (impressive) web site, which is in English, is it correct to say your focus is on attracting English-speaking tourists?

“Anyone from anywhere in the world is welcome on our trips, but I’d like to point out that the trip leader will give all the information in English.”

By the way, the name ‘Boogaloo’, where does that come from?

“Boogaloo is the name of a Latin music style that started during the 1960s. It’s a mix of Afro-Cuban and soul rhythms. I have always loved to dance and there are several Boogaloo songs that I have danced to since I was a child! Of course in our trips we will teach people some Boogaloo moves.”

Tayrona_Colombia_Adventure_Boogaloo_Travel_1

Tayrona: a must see.

Well that’s Boogaloo, but tell us a little bit about yourself. Have you always been the travelling/adventurous type?

“Since my first ever travel as a kid I felt very passionate about knowing “what is on the other side”. Getting to know and learning about other cultures is something that has always made me curious. I wanted to travel the world making documentaries and in so doing get a better understanding of it. So I decided to move to Argentina to study film production.

When I finished my studies I backpacked from Argentina to Colombia on my own. While I was in Cusco, Peru, I had the misfortune of having my wallet stolen, on Christmas Day of all days. But this unfortunate situation led to a big change in my life. As I had no money I had to look for a job.

Luckily, I found one, at The Point Hostel. There, I met travellers from all over the world, heard their stories, got to know a bit of their own cultures, and in return I was able to help them learn more about South America. This sounded very much like what I wanted to keep on doing; you could say that this experience made me find another part of me.

Ever since, I’ve been working in the tourism industry, advising and showing people how inspiring travel can be and leading groups through Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia.

Sport has also been very important to me. At high school I was a cheerleader; from a very young age I’ve been doing swimming, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking and many other sports. All these are activities that I look forward to doing wherever I go.”

So it definitely seems that Boogaloo is very much Laura Vega and Laura Vega is Boogaloo. You might say you’re fulfilling your destiny …

“Yes! I put my heart into this project and I will do my best to make this an unforgettable and unique experience for everyone who joins. I also have the fortune to work with a great enthusiastic team full of creativity and ideas to make Boogaloo Travel a project that will transcend time!”

*If you’re interested in finding out more about Boogaloo, the trips offered and the activities involved, visit the web site at www.boogalootravel.com.

Note: This blog wishes to make no secret of the fact that it has helped Boogaloo in terms of its web site content (as listed on the site itself), and will continue to assist the company if and when required — but Wrong Way is not on the Boogaloo payroll! It is, nonetheless, a project that I endorse and wish it the best of success.
_______________________________________________
Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan – The Blog & IQuiz “The Bogotá Pub Quiz”.

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PERFIL
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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor Irlandés, quien ha estado viviendo en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y cultura, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-colombia-cast.

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    'Cry me a river?' 'Eh, no thanks'

    @wwaycorrigan [Listen to an audio version of this blog entry here.] In the 1972 classic, Godfather, there's an early scene where Don Corleone berates his godson, Johnny Fontaine, for crying because he didn't get a part in a movie. 'Godfather, I don't know what to do', a sobbing Fontaine mutters. Cue a slap in the face and a violent retort, 'You can act like a man', followed by a gentle mocking of his behaviour from the Don. [caption id="attachment_4643" align="aligncenter" width="347"]People who cry regularly get on Wrong Way's nerves. 'Let it all out ...' (Image from emojipedia.org.)[/caption] Crying times That scene is set in the late 1940s, a quite different world from that which we inhabit today, to state the obvious. These days, it's all about being in touch with one's emotions. It's OK to cry, whether you're a man, woman, child or however else you define yourself. Don't suppress your feelings, let it all out. I don't completely disagree with that approach. For one, for the most part, it's good to be honest about how you feel — at least if you're asked that is. What I don't like, what irritates me, is when the waterworks start, especially — although not exclusively — when it's men who are shedding the tears. This is where I side with Don Corleone. It's not that it makes me uncomfortable, it's more a case that I find it hard to take seriously men who cry with regularity. As for women, whether the tears are genuine or not, they often, um, precipitate a granting, justified or not, of whatever they may be looking for. I generally make an exception for death, but even in that there seem to be people who let flow more than really appears "necessary". (Perhaps we could introduce a tear scale. 'Careful now, you're close to your limit.') Bidding adieu to loved ones for an indefinite period of time is another "acceptable" tear-jerker. Alcohol-induced crying is also excepted, meaningless as it often is.

    'When the tears in others come they invoke a negative, cold reaction in me. Rather than wanting to help, I have a desire to walk away.'
    This aversion towards, bordering on utter contempt for crying has something to do with, it's safe to assume, my childhood. I was, after all, a serial crier into my mid-teens. Then, from about 15 onwards, I started to develop a strong dislike when seeing others well up for reasons that I would have considered rather inconsequential. During that time, no doubt having to deal with me, her last born, I recall my mother crying for what seemed like the merest of reasons. It used to get my blood up. Even if I'd been told it was all largely down to the menopause, it's unlikely I would have been sympathetic to her plight. Selfish teens, eh. Dry your eyes, mate This clearly left its mark. For in my current abode, the landlady, a nice woman I hasten to add, cries on an almost-daily basis. It's not only, as has happened a fair few times, a headache when she does it speaking directly to me about some grievance or another (these grievances have nothing to do with me, by the way!). It also irks me simply when I can just hear her sobbing away in her room. I know I should probably be a little more empathetic considering she suffers from depression, it's just when the tears in others come they invoke a negative, somewhat cold reaction in me. Rather than wanting to help I have a desire to walk away. It's not that I lack understanding. In fact, I'd wager I take the time to listen to and empathise with other people's gripes as much if not more so than the next person. I just wish they'd leave the crying out of it. The British-Irish band The Pogues sang in Streams of Whiskey, 'there's nothing ever gained by a wet thing called a tear'. That's not fully true, but I wish it was.   _______________________________________________________________ Listen to Wrong Way's Colombia Cast podcast here. Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan — The Blog & IQuiz "The Bogotá Pub Quiz".

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