Happier, Healthier, and Stress Free in Colombia’s Andes

Our friends and family thought we were crazy when they found out we were moving to Colombia. We left “perfectly good” jobs… Sold our house, cars, and most of our stuff…

What were we thinking?

Two years later, my husband, Darren, and I have an incredible life that we love in Medellín. Since our monthly budget in Colombia is about one-third of what it used to be, I was able to trade in my high-stress as a lawyer, for a part-time, relaxed schedule.

I now spend part of my day freelance writing and sharing stories about my adopted home, and I have the rest of the day to spend as I please. I am currently taking Spanish lessons, I have tried Salsa dancing, but mostly I just enjoy spending time outside in Medellín’s year-round perfect weather.

Last December, we bought our very own Medellín apartment with a pool, gym, and Turkish spa, in a great neighborhood. With two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and an enormous balcony, it cost less than $135,000. The same apartment in a similarly sized city, such as Chicago, would have cost at least twice as much. It’s great to be able to enjoy a bottle of wine with our new friends—expats and locals—on our balcony, or better yet, poolside.

Since moving to Medellín, Darren and I are healthier and happier. We buy the majority of our weekly staples at the farmers’ market in Parque Presidenta each Sunday. We buy from the same farmer each week and he often tosses in a little extra something after he tallies up our bill, which averages at about $30 for the week. What we can’t find at the market, we order from an online organic produce company which offers next-day delivery, directly to our door.

When Darren doesn’t feel like cooking, there are a wide variety of sumptuous restaurants within walking distance of our apartment. You can find almost every type of food here, including Indian, sushi, Italian, French, Spanish, Argentinian, and of course, traditional Colombian fare. Sometimes we splurge at one of our favorite restaurants, Barcal; with their trademark dessert, the chocolate sphere, which you crack open to find creamy caramel goodness inside.

For a taste of local flare, the best empanada place in town is within walking distance from our apartment. El Machetico serves up crispy pockets of meat and potatoes with a slightly spicy salsa for around 70 cents each. We always treat our guests to at least one of these hot and tasty pastries when they visit.

We are never bored. Between the theater, orchestra, multiple museums, botanical gardens, the aquarium, and frequent festivals, there is plenty to do throughout the year. Medellín is renowned for its Feria de las Flores (a week-long flower festival) in August, and during Christmas the city is magically illuminated by over 30 million lights.

When we travel back to the States for a visit, our friends remark how relaxed and vibrant we look. We have never felt better. Clearly our decision to leave the rat race behind and begin a new life in Medellín, Colombia was the right decision.

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