Having spent a decade slaving in the corporate rat-race in my native Manchester, England, I one day decided to quit my job and hit the road. Over the next 20 months I would visit every country in Latin America apart from Venezuela, bungee-jumping in Costa Rica, watching the original WWE in Mexico City, trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, partying until dawn in Buenos Aires and trying to piece together what on earth happened the night before during the Carnaval in Rio de Janiero.
In spite of these unforgettable experiences, something kept drawing me back to Colombia. Maybe it’s the amazing landscapes with lush mountains that seem to roll on forever. Maybe it’s the welcoming locals who are always inviting you to share a bottle of Aguardiente. Maybe it’s the resilience of a people who have been so wounded by a dark past, but who still, in spite of all their problems, embrace life and look forward to a better future. Maybe it’s the crazy parties, inspired by the locals zest for life and the belief in living every day like it was their last. Spending any amount of time here reveals one inarguable truth: Colombia is special. Not yet ruined like so many other places by over-tourism, it retains what makes it unique, and now the wounds from its dark days are now healed, it is throwing open its doors to the world. As a hostel owner in Colombia’s most beautiful city, I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of this.
Having finished my travels, I moved to Medellin back in June 2013, soon after winning the affections of a beautiful local girl and pursuing my dream of owning a hostel. Having visited over 50 countries in my life, I have always stopped in hostels, loving the openness of the backpacker community and meeting friends for life from all corners of the globe. To supplement my travel budget, I worked as a paid reviewer for Hostelz.com, reviewing over 100 hostels throughout Latin America on their behalf. From this experience, I learnt what makes a good hostel and saw on a daily basis the limitation of the existing hostel network across the continent. Facilities and services are of course important, but the true key to a good hostel is the atmosphere. Where people integrate with other travellers to share advice and form long-lasting friendships. These ideas are key to the Purple Monkey experience, a place where you arrive as guests but will leave as friends.