Healing for Healers Workshop in Jardin, Colombia - The Countdown Begins...

Our first workshop dedicated to those in a healing profession is coming fast down the pipeline. We wanted to delve further into the main reasons we’re over the moon jazzed about meeting our first cohort! #Healing4Healers2019

View over magnificent coffee country, Colombia 2019 (SMT.com)

View over magnificent coffee country, Colombia 2019 (SMT.com)

In about two months, a small but dynamic group of healers (therapists, mostly) will be traveling to Medellin, Colombia, from various cities in the US and Canada for our inaugural #Healing4Healers workshop. For most of our group, this will be their first time to Colombia, but surely not their last. Part of the reason we decided to host this workshop here in Antioquia is because Medellin (located in the Colombian dept. of Antioquia) is a wonderful entry point to the rest of the country. We call it the gateway city because many visitors begin their Colombian adventures right here and end up coming back, often for multiple visits or on the hunt for permanent visas.

Colombia is a magnetic, passionate place with a wealth of dialects, customs, slang, musical genres and as much variety as one could imagine in terms of flora, fauna, and landscapes both urban and rural. Medellin is one of the kindest, greenest, and liveliest cities for first-time visitors to land. A few hours in every direction from Medellin is a generous swath of land known as the eje cafetero, or, coffee zone. We chose Jardin for our workshop because it’s one of the most majestic and pristine pueblos in the region.

While we have outlined our activities and itinerary, goals and motivations behind this workshop on this website, we wanted to take a deeper dive into the week’s events, in the hopes that further illumination will set the tone for a radical, once-in-a-lifetime experience for our group and everyone involved.

Endemic plant: COFFEE COFFEE EVERYWHERE, Colombia 2019 (SMT.com)

Endemic plant: COFFEE COFFEE EVERYWHERE, Colombia 2019 (SMT.com)

A place to connect, recharge, grow

Early on in our messaging we posed the question to potential travelers, “When is a good time for those in the healing professions to recover space for themselves to heal? What is the healing value of stress-free time to simply be?”

In other Scarlet Macaw workshops we’ve met numerous health care and healing professionals who could have benefited from a few days (weeks, months!) to recharge and reconnect with themselves right then and there. While designing this program we knew that there’d be a very real need for this kind of sacred time for healing professionals, and we wanted to honor this in every aspect of the workshop. It is our privilege to welcome the members of this cohort who have taken the time out of their busy schedules to create space for themselves here in Colombia, with us and the rest of the group. We know time and money are precious - with that in mind, we’ve created a unique week in both Medellin and Jardin for our participants to: enjoy, grow, connect, recharge, experience, and re-set.



As an independent travel outfit, Scarlet Macaw Trips has had the privilege of hand-picking collaborators with whom real connection is palpable and whose passion is evident in the work they do. Both SMT and our collaborators bring unique perspectives to workshops that we curate and design together.

In the spring of 2018, we met Amalia at the Scarlet Macaw Trips and Travel Latina Experience in Salento, Colombia. Shortly thereafter, we began to brainstorm the idea of bringing together healers from all backgrounds to build community and invest a week in their own healing.

Amalia, a Counselor at Delaware County Women Against Rape and Crime Victim Services, obtained her Master of Social Work and Master of Education of Human Sexuality from the dual degree graduate program at Widener University.

She finds healing through dancing Mexican Folklorico, traveling, supervision, professional peers, and loved ones, and cannot wait to create a space for other professional healers to embark on or continue their own healing journeys. She is hopeful that healers can find a sense of connectedness to others, attunement to and appreciation of their bodies, pleasure, renewed purpose, and an affirmed sense of self through the Healing for Healers Retreat in 2019.


Hosted by Amalia, these workshops will include 8-10 members of the cohort and will be therapeutic but not therapy, per se. This experience is devoted to healers working in any capacity the time and space to put themselves front and center to heal, restore, and process.  This restorative sojourn will also allow them to address personal or vocational issues and work on unresolved histories or experiences they may have put on the back-burner while treating others.

Upon arriving and settling in to Jardin (Day 2, July 1) we will settle into the chunk of our week’s itinerary. Workshops will in group settings, peer-to-peer spaces, one on one, or with Amalia.

  • Some workshops will include:

    • Expectations of facilitator roles, consideration of trauma

    • Mediation and group culture

      Mediation with focus on returning energy into self

      Clear communication on group norms and confidentiality

      Brief introduction to Acceptance & Commitment Therapy model

    • Art/participatory activities to gain insight into values

    • “Strengthening Connection to True Self,” with Amalia and/or co-presenters depending on format

    • “Beyond Self Care- Caring for Marginalized and Disavowed Part of Ourselves” led by Amalia and/or as designated by design (evening groups, voluntary - based on relations built in first three days, could take a different format - could collaborate with SMT to find a setting conducive to workshop)

    • Upon return to Medellin, a closing workshop: “Meditating on Taking Committed Action”

      • Revisit opening meditation and focusing on nourishing self, bringing energy back into self, and slowly transitioning to putting energy into committed action


    Weaving throughout the week’s workshop and commitment to the self and growth, SMT has planned a number of local activities in Jardin to complement the workshops and allow for visitors to get to know and experience the beauty and fun of Medellin and Jardin, Colombia.

    Our participants will be arriving to Medellin at various times throughout the day of June 30th. That night, we will meet for a drink in a lively part of Medellin to learn names and break the ice. We’ll see folks settled into the Hotel Dann Carlton along the “Milla de Oro” area of El Poblado, a popular and well-known part of the city.

    The next morning, July 1, we’ll be taking off for Jardin in private transportation, where we’ll get settled at “El Paraiso” hotel. The lush grounds, greenery, brightly painted fences and walls along with the numerous hummingbird feeders all add to the feeling that one is indeed, in paradise.

Paradise! Jardin….

Paradise! Jardin….

We’ll be hosting workshops with Amalia the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of July, and heading back to Medellin on July 4th.

Around the workshops in Jardin we’ll also be getting a taste of slow and sweet - but also FULL - pueblo life.

We’ll be meeting up with a lovely tour guide named Daniel who’s traveled all around South America on motor bike and who took us skydiving (would not do that again) but we felt safe with Daniel. He’ll be giving us an in depth walking tour of Jardin the afternoon of the 2nd and sharing his vast knowledge of the pueblo’s history, artchitecture, layout, landscape, culture, and of course - all the local gossip.

We’ll also meet up with him to take a longer “caminata” (hike) through the back roads of Jardin to gorgeous nature preserves, waterfalls, and more. We decided not to make a this a horse-centered activity, but rather, on foot so that we could think clearly and connect with whomever we found ourselves walking beside. This longer nature walk with include a partial coffee tour - we’ll be in the eje, afterall.

At night, folks are free to join up with a new pal or three, or go solo into town, for dinner and spirits. The town at night is quiet but lively, coffee and wine is served at all hours, and the food is all affordable. The only thing that might put you on edge would be the clanging of the church bells on the hour every hour. After organizing so many group trips and tinkering with itineraries, we’ve learned that there needs to be time and space for individuals to breathe around scheduled activities. After workshops and activities, we know that folks will need the space to process or just regroup on their own. Others who are more social might be ready to bound out into town with a smaller group as opposed to quiet journaling or a solo night - it’s up to each participant.

Once back in Medellin, we’ll get participants settled into the Four Points Sheraton, also in the neighborhood of El Poblado.

Participants will then have two free nights (4th and 5th) to experience Medellin. SMT is on hand for the last two days to provide suggestions for afternoons and nights out and about or on the town after our final workshop with Amalia. We’ve got folks covered for a wide variety of interests. Pending time, we can help organize:

Good morning, Jardin! (SMT.com)

Good morning, Jardin! (SMT.com)

  • Tour of downtown

  • Private dance classes

  • Day trip to Santa Elena, home of the “Silletero”

  • Aguacate or orchid farm visit pending season

  • Transformation tour of Comuna 13

  • Botanical garden excursion or El Salado Park (south of the city) hikes

  • Horseback riding in Guarne

  • Coffee tasting experience

  • Suggestions for dining of every kind

  • Neighborhoods to explore

  • Botannical Gardens

  • Museum of Modern Art + Ciudad/Mercado del Rio

  • Museum of Antioquia, Botero Sculptures

  • Museum of Memory (dedicated to learning more about the armed conflict in perspective)

In sum…

  • Professionally

    • What have you neglected to address since beginning your career as a service provider?

    • Do you wish you could speak to healers outside of your daily network, professional or academic?

    • Could you use a self-nurturing getaway?

    • Can you imagine an all-new environment that lets you get some healthy distance from pressures that have grown all-too familiar?

If any of the above speak to you, this workshop/experience is going to be perfect for you.

  • Personally…

    • Visit Colombia, an up-and-coming (but has always been beautiful….) international destination

    • Honor yourself with a short but impactful travel experience

    • Rely on in-country experts to facilitate an all-around gorgeous experience in Antioquia, Colombia (Jardin and Medellin)…

    • Meet like-minded folks while relishing the joys of solo travel

    • Treat yourself to the time you need to recharge and reset

    • Eat new food, see new sights, speak new words, get outside the comfort zone and come see what all the fuss is about.

There’s more good news:

We’ve got room for 2 more…!

Read more about the itinerary and payment options here and here and here!

Please email us with any questions and concerns - we’re available 24/7.

10 Tips for the AntiSocial #DigitalNomad in Medellin, or, We Pub our First 'Listicle'

I’ve worked in a couple (hundred) coffee spots from Califas to Cartagena, NYC to Medellin. I’ve sat on stools and plush sofa chairs, hard-ass wood benches and uncomfortable tiny booths with backs as straight as 6 o’ clock where the foot traffic and passersby were really more of a signal that business was good rather than that one could actually get any work done. And I’m sure you have, too.

Over the past five years, I’ve gone from working in corporate offices to nonprofit spaces in WeWork (Berkeley) to working on weekends in neighborhood libraries and other public spaces, to fully remote in Medellin, where I’ve been for about a year working on Scarlet Macaw Trips.

This is a worthwhile day trip! #Guatapè 

This is a worthwhile day trip! #Guatapè 

Before arriving in Medellin I didn’t read many blogs or anything else having to do with digital anything. When I got here, however, I did start poking around and noticed that the same few places were usually mentioned on a variety of blogs, whether we’re talking dinner spots or day trips. This is most likely because Medellin is still in a growth phase not because all the blogs are biting off each other

Anyway, I haven’t been to as many neighborhoods as I would like to have and I certainly haven’t done all there is to do in Medellin. However, after a year of working three jobs, I feel qualified to speak on the drastic (and joyous!) differences between a Medellin Starbucks/Dunkin’ Donuts and a Starbucks on Market Street, San Francisco, where I am from. I realize that supporting a Starbucks in Medellin is in line with supporting The Man, but I can also tell you I do not make enough to afford an office + an apartment, so here we are.

A full generation older than the #DigiNomo (ew, just grossed myself out) crowd, I like my coffee simple and my sugar infrequent. I like my music wordless and my DJ’s nonexistent. I’m just trying to get work done and grow a business, even if the concept of SEO and the phrase ‘content creation’ enrages me!

Anyway, what I can tell you, if you are looking to get work done, is that the less cool the vibe the better the internet - within Colombian reason. I’m sharing the best places to get work done in Medellin with you because I know when you see me at one of these you won’t start chatting with me, you’ll just get to work.

Full disclosure: I used to work at a co-working space in Medellin so LIFEAFAR is mentioned below. And yes I have been to Selina. I had the distinct honor of getting yelled at by a Chilean co-worker who told me to get off the deck (in some weird Clint-Eastwood-but-in-Spanish-shit) because that space was only for monthly clients. I told her to CHILL. Pero CHILL-L-L-L-L-EEEEEEE. The only other time I’ve been there was for a mixer, where I met a great couple from Texas in their 50s traveling together with Remote Year. They were cool.

Here’s my list. Fight me on this.

Top of the ‘Jarra - Rooftop Status
Right across from the passport office of Medellin, near the Alpujarra station downtown, there is an official city building that has wifi on the top floor. It can be breezy, and, depending on the time of year, you could get rained out any day after 1 pm. You’ll have to use your Spanish skills and ask someone in that plaza which building it is exactly, but you’ll be fine. Afterwards, or before, you can visit Parque de Berrio, Botero Plaza, and/or the “Museum of AGUA EPM,” and pay my water bill while you’re at it.



LIFEAFAR - A place to #Live #Work and #Invest
On Calle 10, right around Parque Poblado, there is a white-walled office with incredible air-conditioning and one great seat on the second floor balcony overlooking the kitchen in what is technically called Global Express Center. The wifi is 99.99% EN POINTE and if not on the first floor in one of the booths, one can usually get good work done. So go forth, wear a sweater, and conquer all that you have to do in a day! I recommend getting your afternoon cafecito two blocks up at Toucan Cafe and I say ditch the buñuelos for a fruit salad across the street (bright yellow/orange walls and fruit pictures everywhere). You don’t have to add cheese to your fruit salad but…I would. 

Dunkin Donuts - Milla de Oro
Maybe your first memories of Dunkin’ are also of being in Boston for the first time in the late 90s or waiting in a 20 minute line out the door on 57th and 8th on sweltering summer days in the city. No? Well, I always liked me a Dunkin. There is a small, 3-boothed-Dunkin on the Milla de Oro, Edificio One Plaza. It’s a nice airy space and isn’t usually crowded. You can go to the restroom next door at Starbucks and have a booth all to yourself. Treat yourself to a classic donut hole and stroll through Parque Lineal La Presidenta afterwards. On Sundays, get a veggie empanada and juguito de caña de azucar for 1 buck.


MERCADO DEL RIO - Any seat in the house
Mercado del Rio is right across the street from Ciudad del Rio, the Modern Art Museum of Medellin, a skate park, and open air park where families and folks mill about with their kids and/or pets and/or each other. You can sit upstairs at one of the picnic tables, put your earphones in, and get to it. It’s an indoor food court and most of the action (dates/gringos) happens on the 1st floor. Beware Sunday night, however, as families or groups of people usually take up the more comfortable seating. But who’s working on a Sunday anyway?

La Taza Tienda de Cafe in Laureles
This spot is labeled as ‘cozy’ on Google Maps and it’s right by a tiny little park in Laureles off of Avenida Nutibara. This coffee shop was submitted by my friend Maria, who just pulled off an incredible feat here in Colombia before returning to Portland. I trust her.


Trapani - Envigado Pizza Haus
This spot is definitely less coffee and more pizza and I’m not sure how great they realize the name TRAPANI is. It conjures up a whole genre of music and the word panini - solid. The menu has pizza and other unnecessarily fancy items, like salmon with salad and puree de papa! I was nearby, waiting to see my fur baby at the hospital around the corner for visiting hours. Their wifi survived a thunder storm, they gave me free garlic knots, and were attentive. I don’t know what else you want?!


Top Floor Oviedo Mall - Tables by the palm trees

This open air wifi and work table situation is a dream come true when the wifi is working throughout the entire joint. Otherwise, it’s hard to get the wifi from specific clothing stores nearby. If the open air scene (3rd floor) or quiet singlet tables (2nd floor) aren’t available, there is a “co-working” zone on the 1st floor. This space is usually best in the AM. I recommend the leather chairs and not the tables. Also, this space is also a garage? But, if you heave headphones and some BYOC (coffee) you’ll be good, assuming the wifi works that AM. 

Dunkin Donuts - Calle 10 El Poblado

Wow I guess I’m DD’s biggest fan. This particular DD location has working WIFI and comfy couches, chairs, and booths. The spot is not THAT popular and therefore great for calls (your loud voice will not annoy other paying customers if there aren’t that many!) The customer service is delightful and they don’t bother you much, because the employees are usually flirting with each other. I love this! Once you’re in with the crew, they will usually give you the 8-hour password as opposed to the 1-hour password. Be nice and don’t be annoying. This could be your permanent office.

Amati Cafe - Envigado

I have nothing but accolades for this quiet coffee shop in La Buena Mesa, Envigado. These guys are chill, take their craft seriously, and play good Hector Lavoe and other classic salsa during their shift. The crowd is a mix of travelers, families, and couples making out. Percimon is nearby as is Son de Timba, if you wanna shake a leg after putting in some hours.

So what is #1?!
Well, I can’t give it all up. A good man, the creator of MEDELLIN en 3, gifted me this secret in confidence on his way out of Medellin this past summer. If this is obnoxious to you, please note it’s mostly just a ploy to find out more about YOU. Please email us at info@scarletmacawtrips.com with what you’re working on here in Medellin and we’ll take it from there.

We are currently working on filling seats for our January 2019 PHOTO TRIP LED BY SUPERSTAR AND GREAT HUMAN JAMES ANTHONY here in #Medallo! More info is everywhere on this site and relevant to those seeking to build their international photo portfolio while traveling.


Photo courtesy James Anthony

Photo courtesy James Anthony