Paradise is a Relative Term

December 5, 2014

Our legs were weary from battling the mountains of Colombia and our bodies were filthy from the clouds of dust from passing trucks. It seemed that every local we met talked about a seaside town where everyone loved to vacation. We couldn't wait to get there. 

Then we saw a hand-painted sign along the bumpy road for a guest house, Agua Linda. We decided to take a break from the potholes and dirt and check it out. The side road ended at the ocean and a small, humble resort. It was a family run business with some bamboo huts as lodging, each with its own hammock. We instantly decided to stay, ordered lunch from the owner, who brought us a couple of beers, and we settled down for an afternoon of gazing out at the ocean. We even had a resident parrot.

We woke up the next morning and had a debate. Should we just stay here? This place was incredible —wonderful hosts, good food, our own private beach, our own parrot. What could be better?

But there was the lure of  the wonderful town that was only a day's ride away. So many locals had recommended it. So we left our paradise to pedal on to what we were sure was the ultimate paradise.

I bet you know where this is going.

That lovely town? It wasn't. True, it was where many families vacationed. It had what many vacationers are looking for — playgrounds, bars, discos, and snack shacks. Oh. And there was a military base close by, so you could watch the planes take off and land.

We didn't even stop. Just pedaled on through, having learned our lesson. Never be too quick to leave your own paradise, because paradise is a relative term.

Photos by Willie Weir

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at


Nick Wright December 5, 2014, 10:16 AM

Excellent post. I ride every day on crappy, potholed roads in Chicago, often in terrible weather. I love it. My paradise.

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