I am a Colombian who has lived for six years in the most international city, Amsterdam, after 12 years under the Aruban Caribbean sun, and 18 years sharing my beautiful 2,640 meters high Bogota with 8 million other Bogotanos. You can probably guess my age now…
While working at citizenM, my love for big metropolitan cities returned, I have to hop from one city to the other on a regular basis, which is great.
As you can imagine, living in the Caribbean was amazing, but a born city girl like me missed the concrete playground and city life. I was nostalgic about the buzz, the atmosphere, a cool restaurant on every corner, walking everywhere instead of driving, how everything is so accessible--the concerts, the theater, the best shops! I miss it all.
Travel is a HUGE part of my family lives, my kids have crossed continents with us since they were babies, and enjoy soaking up all the cultures we are blessed to admire during our trips. As part of our travels we always strive for the balance between culture, relaxation, and most importantly being fun and silly: things like crossing the desert in Egypt on quad racers, and then jumping on a camel, or running around on the Champ de Mars under the Eiffel Tower on a spring day, or having a real mojito at 9:00 am in Havana.
By becoming a contributor, I’m excited to share my travel adventures with all mobile citizens of the world! After all, that’s why I chose to join citizenM: my passion for travel, lifestyle and citizenM’s purpose to stir things up in the hospitality world. Travel should be fun, smart, luxurious and meaningful, don’t you think?
Although I love my time at home, travelling every month, either for work or leisure, allows me to do what I like: spending time in other cities and to act like a local.
Every time I travel to London, Glasgow, New York, Paris or Rotterdam, I have a couple of rituals, obviously customized to every city. This time I will take you through my London ritual.
It all starts with the 7:00am KLM flight from Amsterdam to London City Airport. Before I board, I like to get a nice green juice at Schiphol, no coffee! I still have one more hour to rest during the flight and every second is priceless; I know it is going to be a very long day, so I need to save up my energy.
Usually the sun is rising when I arrive in London around 7:00 am UK time (thank you time difference!) so I make sure my phone is ready to snap my first Instagram shot of the day; planes and skies are just great Instagram material. Before I leave the plane I make sure to send my typical “landed safe, love you guys, have a great day” text to our family WhatsApp group. As much as I love travelling, I am always happy to make it safely to my destination.
If you haven’t been to London, I can tell you this is one of busiest commuting cities (especially at 7:00am). The city and the Tube will probably be packed, therefore, I run outside as fast as I can, swipe my Oyster card and off I go into the DLR. If I’m traveling alone, I like to make sure I have offline reading material with me--there’s no Internet underground.
After arriving at the Tower of London station, I like to walk towards the middle of the London Bridge. For me, this is the perfect time and place to stop and stare at all the people running to make it on time to wherever they’re going. I like to enjoy my five minutes of thinking: I don’t have to rush, I’m actually early. This doesn’t happen very often, I am late most of the times.
Then, I turn around and just stare at the Thames River and the Tower Bridge for another five minutes. All I can see is the river. I love water, it’s so peaceful in the contrast to the city’s chaos. Then I take a deep breath and know that I’m ready to start my day.
I like to walk over to citizenM London Bankside along the river, up to the Tate Modern Museum, then cross the street to the hotel. Once I arrive, I can finally drop my suitcase, catch up with everyone at the hotel with my first coffee, and get ready to welcome my first appointment; or to run out again for a meeting.
Other things I like to do between work:
-Run alongside the river
-Visit the Tate Modern’s current exhibition
-Discover a nice local restaurant
-Read an inspiring magazine before going to bed
-Buy something I cannot find in Holland
-Have a coffee with as many citizenMag contributors as I can