#ELCAMINOxRP: THE HONEST HUSTLING

This is the third segment of our four-part HONEST HUSTLE series (in case you missed it, Part 1, Part 2). Now that you know the why and the who from this group, this is what these honest hustlers were up to while in Medellin, Colombia with Richer-Poorer and El Camino Travel.

DAY 1 - PERGAMINO + El CIELO

As our travelers touched down in Medellin, Colombia, they got a chance to settle in + meet their fellow hustlers.

BUT FIRST, COFFEE. 
SWIRL+SNIFF+ SLURP!
Our hustlers got a chance to enjoy a coffee cupping with Pergamino's founder, Pedro Echevarria and hear about his mission to keep and sustain a strong coffee and cafe culture in Colombia instead of having all the best beans exported. They are the main Colombian bean provider for brands such as Stumptown, Blue Bottle, Toby's among other notable small roasters. 

Afterwards, we had a delicious twelve-course culinary experience at El Cielo to meet their Colombian counterparts who are vital to the creative and entrepreneurial DNA of Medellin. We chose El Cielo, because the chef intentionally integrates traditional cooking techniques and ingredients from around the country in a modern way. It was a creative opportunity to try flavors from all over Colombia in a manner that has you using all five senses. In addition, the chef hires disabled ex-guerrilla members and soldiers and trains them in culinary skills so that they can be part of his kitchen, providing them an alternative lifestyle. 

DAY 2 - BREATHE, STRETCH, SHAKE, let it go. 

The crew visited Comuna 13 and saw how the city of Medellin had transformed from a violent and dangerous city to the one that is socially progressive. We collaborated with Casa Kolacho (who served as our hosts,  guiding us through the streets of Comuna 13) to educate our hustlers about how the government actively worked to tackle the neighborhood issues of crime and drugs and for us to hear how the power of art and music healed and transformed this neighborhood to what it is now. By participating in this graffiti tour with Casa Kolacho, we chose to use our tourist dollars to support the mission of Casa Kolacho. 

Casa Kolacho provides cultural education through hip-hop, dancing, and art to youth in the community as an alternative to drug dealing and violence. They do not accept any funds from the government, so their main source of income to promote their message of peace through art comes from the profits they make in giving these tours. This source of income also allows them to continue to paint these stunning murals around the community that have powerful messages, and it affords them the independence and creative freedom to do what they do best without the restraints of bureaucratic processes and red tape. Furthermore, the graffiti tours are an outlet for them to tell their story as a hip-hop collective, their role in the community, and the meaning of their art. It is an absolutely innovative model that should be replicated. 

Salsa and cumbia are a must skill to pickup while here in Colombia. These beats pump vigorously through the veins of all Colombians and are critical to the makeup of their cultural DNA. Our travelers now had an arsenal full of moves that they could pull out on the dance floor later that night. Cumbia has been a historical blend of 3 cultures, Spanish, Indigenous, and African, that were present in Colombia during the time the style of dance was born.

More importantly, you do not know the real Colombia until you have danced salsa and cumbia into late hours of the night or early hours in the morning. Whichever you prefer.  

DAY 3 - JEWELRY + EXPLOSION NEGRA

Day three was all about the studio visits. We spent the afternoon with Maria Paulina Arango, the creative director of Makua Jewelry, and indigenous artisans (from the Embera community) in her showroom to learn about their mission to keep ancient methods of jewelry craftmanship alive in modern-day commerce. 

Explosion Negra was a Afro-Colombian hip hop group based in Medellin who we NEEDED to introduce to our hustlers. Their music represents the modern evolution of Colombia and deeply represents their African culture. They mesh modern-day components of hip hop, socca, and dance with local beats that are native to Colombians. They are an independent group who are the epitome of Honest Hustlers. They have a truly inspiring entrepreneurial spirit, they hustle hard for each accomplishment, and they have the discipline to achieve their goals, all while staying true to themselves, representing their culture and respecting their craft. 

DAY 4 - GUATEPE

On day four we went a hop, skip, and jump away from the urban city to the rural outskirts of Guatepe to be inspired by the dramatic landscape and the colors of the actual town! We partnered with our friends over at Boutique Homes to rent out the beautiful house (highlighted below) for the day, which played host to a delicious and massive BBQ. 

DAY 5 - FARMHOUSE CREATIVE WORKSHOP

As our adventure came to a close, we wanted to give our hustlers an opportunity to digest all that has happened in the past few days by both stimulating their creative juices and giving them a chance to reflect. We took them to a secluded farmhouse tucked away near Cerro Tusa of Antioquia, so they could collaborate and design a collection of socks for Richer-Poorer that was inspired by their time in Medellin, Colombia. Each El Camino trip always comes with a do-good component and this collaborative trip with Richer-Poorer was no different. The proceeds for the chosen sock design will be donated to a social entrepreneur in Medellin to help them continue their mission and allow them to do what they do best in their communities. 

DAY 6 - BACK HOME WITH THE UGLY TEARS AT THE AIRPORT

Cheers to everyone who has been a part of this crazy journey! Sparking inspiration and creativity with this crew has been nothing short of amazing and we cannot wait until the next #elcaminoxrp collaboration. 

UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Photos by  Jennifer Young for El Camino Travel.

Want to get in on a piece of this action? Many of these activities are part of our Colombia trip to both Cartagena and Medellin. You can find more information here.