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Many people on the outside looking in think our Colombian life is kind of cool. An exotic existence, away from the dreary 9-5 drag with a nice amount of time to travel.

On that score, it is. Our work life is anything but 9-5, Colombia certainly is exotic and we’ve been able to explore a fair chunk of it.

What’s more, a few somewhat surreal ‘acting’ gigs have come our way that were enjoyable to be part of.

The end of an era? Wrong Way Corrigan contemplates his Colombian future overlooking Paipa, Boyacá, Colombia.

Contemplating the next move: Not a bad place to do it …

Nonetheless, when you do the same, economically unstable thing for a number of years, the gloss does wear off. It’s not for nothing there’s the saying ‘A change is as good as a rest.”

Shaking things up
Of course making that change is not always easy. Plus it’s not always clear when we should make it and what exactly it should be. As we’ve oft said, that grass over yonder may not be as green as we think.

However, if there’s a feeling that progress isn’t really being made as regards the current situation, then it’s probably a good time to shake things up, even if it is a step into the unknown as such a move often is.

We’ve become somewhat cosy in our Colombian comfort zone, albeit one that for most other Westerners would be anything but comfortable.

Now it is easier, in theory anyway, to move on when things aren’t going to plan (we do have a rough plan, honestly we do).

So the fact that the goalposts to obtain what is a ‘key’ fifth consecutive independent work visa have moved should make bidding adieu to Colombia a less difficult decision. (For the record, after five year-long visas you are entitled to apply for residency, which itself lasts for five years.)

Persona non grata
With official Colombia making it harder for us to stay coupled with our own long-lingering doubts about being here, it could be said it’s a no-brainer. Our previous four work visas were obtained with little hassle, thus opting to ‘give it a lash’ for another year required less soul searching.

This time around the thinking is, ‘If you’re going to make it more complicated to stay here, no thank you.’ It’s not like we’re looking to stay in everyone’s favourite Latino country, Venezuela. (It’s a joke, relax. Although it does seem our loyalty to Colombia over the years has counted for nothing!)

Yet, Colombia has been home since late 2011. As frustrating as many things have been during our almost seven years here, there have been plenty of highlights as well. It’s proving to be more difficult than we’d thought to just quietly walk away from it all. (Not having something concrete to go to elsewhere is playing a significant part for sure.)

In some ways it’s a similar mindset to the one a rather green ‘Wrong Way’ had back in 2008 before making the decision to leave Ireland and take flight for a period of solo travelling.

Nothing to lose?
Once on the road, the many hiccups aside, it was a case of ‘What was all the fuss about?’

With that as a guide, ten years on albeit and slightly more concerned about our financial situation, leaving our Colombian comfort zone is unlikely to prove fatal. Unlikely that is; things could happen outside of our control.

In any case, while losing our work visa status will be a little bit deflating, the option to stay here as a tourist until the year is out is still on the table.

We don’t have to drop everything in an instant. Although, at times, that’s the best strategy to adopt. When it’s done, it’s done. Move on, at haste.
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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

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