All posts by Kyle Ziff

What is culture?

I set out on this journey to fully submerse myself into the different cultures from around the world. I know that there is yet so much to see out there but being able to reflect upon what I have seen thus far is very important to me. I have learned that words can take on different meanings to different people. When I was out in Kauaii the term Aloha had a specific and unique meaning that resided in each person. To me personally, Aloha means treating everyone as if they are a guest in your own home and ensuring you do everything you can to share positive energy and kindness to all. This was what I learned from the culture from living on the island for almost 3 months.

As I was on this scooter traveling around this beautiful island, just off the coast of Colombia, I asked myself what is culture. So I started defining it in my own way as I watched the surroundings around me. To me thus far in my journey, culture is the true spirit of the place you are in, its the energy and creativity that the people living in an area create.

So here I am on this scooter and am going through the city and watching so many others on scooters flying by.  There is a certain smell in the air from someone cooking food in a nearby house as i go by. I see beautiful artwork painted on walls. This one particular artwork on a wall by the ocean caught my eye, so I made sure I got a photo with it.

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So I kissed a stingray

I am currently on the the Caribbean Island of Colombia! I have been soaking up the sun and enjoying the beautiful bright blue waters. The other day we took a boat out to El Acuario. Its an island about 15 minutes off of San Andrés. Right when we got there I saw a ship out in the distance that looked like it was shipwrecked. I started asking the person who brought us to El Acuario about it and he said they have tours we can do another day to get there. Knowing that it was such a beautiful day I told him I would pay him extra cash now to bring us there. He then agreed and I was able to get super close to the shipwreck. He told us that it has been there for 10 years and is washed up on the coral. After we took photos of the shipwreck we went back to El Acuario. We jumped in and started snorkeling around for a while then swam to another island. After a few hours of hanging out on this beautiful island we swam to it was time to go. While we were waiting for our boat ride back to San Andrés There were a few massive stingrays in the water. I jumped right in and started hanging out with one of them. I will admit I was a bit nervous but it ended up being a really cool experience. At one point I gave one of the stingrays a kiss haha. Overall it was a great experience and another story for the books. The photos of the shipwreck will show below if you are signed in.

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Cartagena & Tayrona

Last week I found myself in Cartagena for a week with my friend Kara who I met in Florida. We explored the city and old castle walls and even got lost in a few underground tunnels together. I had so much fun taking photos in this city! We decided that we wanted to explore Tayrona national park as well. So we jumped onto a early morning shuttle that took us about 5 hours to get to the park. We then spent hours hiking through a Colombian jungle and spent two nights in the national park. The first night we spent the night deep into the jungle at a small village. They have these small little communities where you can get a tent or hammock and live in the jungle with fellow explorers. The next morning we woke up super early and made our way over to Cabo San Juan. The photo above was taken there and it is one of the top beaches of the world, so I have been told. It was so unbelievably beautiful I felt like I was in a dream. Right when I got there I jumped into the water and laid on the shore picking up interesting rocks. We were lucky enough to get a couple hammocks at the hut on the top of the small island. I could not believe how beautiful it was up there. I was hammock number 12 and my view of the ocean will forever be in my head. It was one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. Later that day we wandered around the beaches and I even climbed a coconut tree and got myself some fresh coconut water. We then woke up the next day and made our way back to the entrance of the park. On our way back we stumbled upon small monkeys swinging from tree top to treetop right above our heads. Being able to see something like this was surreal to me. Since there was no wifi up there I was not able to upload my stories to Instagram so I decided to make a short video of the short clips I took to give everyone and Idea of what my past week was like. If you are signed in already to my website under the exclusive area it will display below automatically. I highly recommend adding this magical place to everyone, and hope you get the chance to stay in the hammocks on top of the island.

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Jesus Nazareth

So I found myself wandering the streets of Medellin. As you may know by now I am now traveling with a friend I met in Miami. Her name is Kara and she has been a really great travel companion! So as we are wandering the streets we happen to come to this massive church. This specific church has been a location I have been wanting to check out for a while now. Remember that day I took the train and had that very memorable experience getting squished, well that same day while I was on the train I looked way out into the distance and saw this specific church. I told myself I would eventually find it and check it out. So here I was standing right in front of exact church and I wanted to get a cool photo of it from a rooftop somewhere. I walked around for a bit and then decided I would go inside and check it out from the inside. We open the first door and there is a lady working at the front. I ask her if we can check out the church. Little did I know we just walked in from the back of this place. She asked us where we were from and what specifically we wanted to see. I was still unsure about what I wanted to see so I replied that I wanted to see everything.  She looked at us and said hold on. She then walked around and opened the door and let us in. So what happened next was one of those instances where you tell yourself “I had no idea I would be doing something like this today, tomorrow or ever for that matter.” She brought us to the groundskeeper and had him give us a tour. We followed him confused on where we were going. As we walk deeper and deeper down beneath the church it became evident that we were walking into the crypts. I started looking around and I must have been standing in these narrow hallways that had thousands of people buried. Don’t get me wrong the experience was very… memorable. Its just not something I would have seen myself doing if that makes sense. As I was down there I showed the utmost respect for those who were buried there and was fascinated with the artwork everywhere, even on the ceilings. This entire place was a very sacred and hidden away place and I was lucky enough to have a  tour of it.

So this story doesn’t really end here. As we leave the crypts we are saying our goodbyes and the lady who let us in asks us to come meet the “boss” or the priest of the entire church. Without hesitation I said yes we would love to meet him.

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