You never know where you’ll find yourself on the road. It’s one aspect of traveling I enjoy the most. Expecting one thing and getting another teaches you to release control of things outside yourself. I’ve learned repeatedly that I can only control how I react to each situation I’m in. Better to accept the unavoidable changes of destiny and make the most of them.
Somehow in the past week we found ourselves helping set up for Colombia’s Burning Man. The legendary festival from the states found a long-lost brother in Colombia and we arrived just in time to help him get ready for the party. We got lucky volunteering with some amazing people.
We spent a majority of our time painting signs for the festival. Anything from “First Aid” to koi fish circling each other. Each day all the volunteers ate meals together, wolfing down food after a long day of work. Breaking bread with Colombians never gets old. There’s always jokes, laughter, and good conversation.
The festival is held in a pasture on Daniel’s property (he puts on the festival). As the week went on, the festival grounds slowly started to take shape. Grass was cleared, showers put up, and eventually, two stages were installed. Long, hot days left people exhausted. We were lucky to be staying at Daniel’s house on the property which had a pool and a plethora of beds.
Every evening we watched the sunset and the fireflies light up the grass from the patio. One of the volunteers, Mark, became a good friend of ours. He shared some wild stories about riding his horse solo from Colombia to Peru.
Before we knew it, Friday had arrived. As we scrambled to get the last of it set up, folks started arriving. Music thundered from the stages and we could feel the bass a hundred yards away in our room. We could tell it was going to be true Colombian party.
Throughout our travels we’d learned Colombians love fireworks. As we watched the Man burn that night they proved their love again. With music blaring and neon lights flashing, hundreds of fireworks were shot into the sky and at the Man.
When we signed up to volunteer we figured we’d be helping at a hostel with daily maintenance duties. In reality, we signed ourselves up to help put on Hombre en Llamas. We met amazing people from around the world, danced our asses off through the night, and had an experience we’ll never forget. Colombia surprised us in ways we couldn’t have imagined.