Have Sleep Mask will Travel Part I

The Amazing Travel Adventures of Scott & Sylvie

First Stop: Colombia written by Scott Biales
Shortly after quitting our jobs and committing to traveling the world together, Sylvie and I filled our backpacks with all critical travel gear, and found ourselves deep in the Colombian Jungle.  Our worldwide travel plan is to work our way down through South America and then onto Europe, India, China, and then South East Asia.  Read on to hear about our adventures in week one.

The Lost City

We are kick starting our South American journey with with a jungle trek to the ancient ruins of La Cuidad Perdida (The Lost City). We were taking an organized tour to the Lost City.  Alberto, a member of the Koguis Indian tribe, a tribe indigenous to the mountain region of northern Colombia, was our chosen guide. The Koguis, embraces tourism and loves sharing their culture and educating visitors about their spiritual land, The Lost City. La Cuidad Perdida is Indian owned and the only way to go and see it is through one of these organized tours with local Indians as guides.

A +5 Hour Hike

We followed Alberto through the mountains with only our day packs, which filled to the brim with; a change of clothes, a toothbrush, a flashlight, malaria prophylaxis, lots of water, an eye mask for travel, and sleep gear. We climbed for hours up steep muddy inclines slicked by recent rains. The trail snaked its way back and forth through the mountains, ascending and descending rapidly and unexpectedly.

We took solace in the beauty and the silence of the jungle around us. We rejoiced upon entering a clearing where another member of the Koguis tribe had watermelon slices cut waiting for us. While enjoying our watermelon we soaked in the panoramic views that surrounded us—haze-covered mountains and dense vegetation encompassed every shade of green, the occasional cow dotted the hillside.

During our daily hike we would hustle to our destination, the next campsite, hoping to beat the afternoon rain. Drenched in a day’s worth of sweat everyone would sprint to the shower.

Campsite Life

The anemic water pressure of the freezing cold shower was a delightful reprieve from the humid thickness of the afternoon heat. I would challenge myself to see how long my body could endure the icy water.

At the campsite, we had the pleasant experience of playing with some of the native children. Cute and curious, they tentatively approached us. Another adventurer had brought along balloons as a present for them and soon they were laughing and playing with us.

At night, we would crowd around the table to eat a hot meal and listen to Alberto’s stories laced with pride for his culture. We were lucky to spend time with several members of the Koguis and Wiwa tribes while staying at the campsites scattered throughout the trail. At these campsites we were taught about the importance of coca farming and the significance of the coca leaves. We were given a tour of the tribes’ coca plantation—30 coca trees on the side of the mountain as well as their cocoa plantation. The Indian women are responsible for picking the coca leaves and the men carry a hollowed-out gourd on their side where they mash up the leaves with lime juice and chew the powdered that is created. They believe this power increases their level of connection with their spirituality and the land.

How to Sleep in the Jungle

After long tiring days of hiking we retired anxiously to our outdoor beds—a small twin bunk enclosed by a mosquito net. With such close proximity to our sleeping group members, chickens, cats, dogs, and the donkeys roaming freely around the campground, Sylvie and I were grateful to have our sleep mask kits and earplugs.  Our Hearos Xtreme Earplugs were essential to block-out the sound of rosters crowing before dawn and our sleep masks completely blocked out ambient light from fellow adventurers, head lights and flashlights. A good night sleep for us was vital; we needed all of the energy we could get for each day’s hike.

Each long day of hiking started early in the morning before the sun was up. Starting so early enabled us to start on the trail before the heat and sun became too intense. After a quick breakfast, we were off. Hiking ambitiously through the mountains with the pay off of seeing the lost city on our mind. As we hiked mile after mile, we passed natives along the way- easy to spot in their traditional white clothing, we admired the ease and grace of which they navigated the trail- almost gliding along without effort. Occasionally we’d make room for a donkey or two to pass, it’s back heavy loaded with supplies for mountain dwelling farmers and natives.

Friendly Dogs of the Jungle

Frequently dogs would join us for periods of our hike. Hiking along our side and offering some motivation and comfort. They would stray ahead and then look back, waiting for our tired bodies to catch up. Our trek was punctuated by several delightfully refreshing dips in cold streams and a visit to the Wiwa tribe’s shaman.We pushed on further and further along the trail, inching our way closer to our destination—the lost city, our sun block and bug spray long since washed away thanks to our constant sweating. We paused momentarily to observe small native huts constructed from mud and straw. The scenery began to change as we neared the lost city. We hiked along rocky ledges and waterfalls—gripping to the slippery rock for balance and safety.

After the completion of a river crossing requiring us to submerge waist deep in strong a river current while holding a rope to pull ourselves hand over hand to the other side, we found ourselves at the bottom of the 1,500 steps leading to the Lost City.

Confirmation -We Had Made the Right Decision

We rushed up the steep stone stairs at first fueled by our anticipation of seeing the ruins. However Sylvie soon found herself crawling the stairs, grabbing firmly to the slippery stone for safety—and from exhaustion. Finally, upon reaching the top of the stairs we gathered in a circle honoring the civilization that had thrived here thousands of years before. It is estimated that the Lost City dates back to 800 AD. We felt honored to witness such a sacred place, shared with us by natives so passionate about its existence. It is wonderful that the local tribes were so willing to share their sacred lands with us. They hope that by educating us we will cherish it as much as they and will help in its protection. While on top of the mountain we looked down onto the circular stone terraces—the view was truly humbling. Sylvie and I stood and viewed the ancient site, trying to suck in every last drop so it could live on in our memories. Finally, we had made it to our destination! Every step, every strain had been worth it. It’s the moments like this that remind us why traveling the world is the best decision we have ever made. 

Scott and Sylvie decided to take the Dream Essentials, Dreamlite Sleep Mask along for their adventures. They liked it for its light weight, large eye cavities and fun designs, if you want this mask for sleeping then check it out here https://www.dreamessentials.com/product-114/dreamlite-flags