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@wwaycorrigan

[Listen to an audio version of this blog entry here.]

Before my adult days, I remember being rather puzzled about my father’s strong desire to get back to his local haunt(s) whenever we’d be out and about.

A street that I call the Middle East in Barrio Santandercito, in the north of Bogotá. There's rarely a dull moment here at the weekends.

Calm after the storm: The at times action-packed Barrio Santandercito in the far north of Bogotá.

In fact, even when I started my own beer-accompanied socialising and on the rare occasions I’d be with my Dad in an unfamiliar setting, this itchy-feet tendency to return to his stomping ground bemused me.

Where everybody knows your name
‘Just relax and enjoy the new surroundings’, I’d think to myself. ‘What’s the panic?’

Now, however, and perhaps with the pandemic serving as a catalyst, I better understand this fondness for “home” comforts. Similar to my father, this isn’t an eagerness to be back where I sleep — I’ve never been able to truly call home any place I’ve rented. It’s a case of being in the environment where I socialise the most, with my Bogotá buddies.

This is at odds with many an adage. Take your pick from, to name but three, variety is the spice of life, familiarity breeds contempt, a change is as good as a rest. I’m sure there are more.

Yet, forced for months on end to not really being allowed to venture outside my part of Bogotá, now that one can “officially” travel unrestrictedly around Colombia, my enthusiasm to do so is somewhat lacking.

‘Thrifty tendencies do also have their mental rewards.’

In fact, it’s at a stage where visiting the first barrio popular that I called “home”, La Perseverancia, 18 kilometres south of my current abode, now seems like a holiday. I haven’t brought the overnight bag there yet, but it might be an option next time after the hassle I had trying to get home on the previous occasion I visited. One can never rely on public transport in Bogotá.

Break free
What’s more, the few times that I haven’t been able to call into my panadería “office” throughout this pandemic, I’ve been left a little ill at ease. The panadería owners, acting in good faith, of course, play their part in this, chastising me for my sporadic absences, accusing me of being a traitor. ‘If Brendan’s not here this morning, where the heck is he?’

What all this basically amounts to is that I’ve become comfortable in my routine. Comfortable in mediocrity, in the unspectacular one could say.

Linked to this is a feeling, to a certain extent, that I’m undeserving of a holiday because I haven’t had steady work — or at least work that puts pesos in my pocket — throughout the pandemic. You know, one shouldn’t be spending money recklessly when one isn’t sure from where the next meaningful payday is going to come.

That whole live-each-day-like-it’s-your-last mentality is wonderful in theory. However, if I were to let the handbrake off and truly live as I wish, well then I’d want to be in my last few days on this planet — it would be financially unsustainable as things stand at present. Thrifty tendencies do also have their mental rewards.

Nonetheless, a break from the Bogotá barrio is coming. It must.

Experience lets me know that I can find as much joy — if not more, for a time at least — in a more tranquil setting. Every town has its panaderías, tiendas and streets to wander after all. Same, same but different.
_______________________________________________________________
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.

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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