I recently went to this amazing ITB exhibition in Berlin. Representatives from the tourism industry from all over the world came together for this huge event.  I attended with the hope of connecting with hotel and resort representatives about a business concept of mine.


It was intriguing to see how various countries presented themselves. I could not help but feel distant when walking through the European hall and seeing the Swedish in formal attire sitting at computer tables. My friend and travel companion Marianne Klint at Enjoy Travel shared this on her facebook about Sweden’s booth at ITB Berlin:

“Sweden’s booth looks like a business center with black-clad people. Whereare the moose, ice hotel, Sami, northern plains, Pippi Longstocking, skating and the Stockholm archipelago? Meatballs dumplings and Ahlgren cars? Embarrassing Sweden! The first prize was taken by a wide margin of Columbia.”

So we both loved Columbia! They managed to give a full expression of what the country consists of from the Northern peninsula to the Southern beach area.  But even more importantly, we loved Columbia because of how the Colombians made us FEEL.  The seemed to understand the power of creating feelings. The Colombian’s engaged us in our right brain hemispheres. They created the feeling of how it is to meet Colombian people, how it felt to see a turtle at the sea bottom and the playfulness of Dolphins. We tasted Colombian coffee and got handicrafts made by Wayúu children who live in the region of Guajira. It’s said that is bearer of the Kanaspia reflects wisdom, understanding and the facility to learn. This right brain experience of feeling, sensations and amazement was quite different from coming to the Swedish region.


I think the pictures speaks clearly of what it means to live in the left or right brain hemisphere. Even though Sweden currently is my home, it was the Colombians that, with their friendly and curious open attitude manner, made me FEEL welcome and the comfort of what it means to be at home.

In what places and situations do you feel at home? In what places and situations do you feel like a stranger?

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