How Ed Is Reinventing His Life In Medellin, Colombia
“Years ago, when my son was young, I was the leader for his Boy Scouts troop. Working with the boys, I realized that none of them had been more than a few miles beyond the Pennsylvania town where we were living. So I decided I was going to take them to New York.”
Speaking was Ed Bayer, one of the resident expats we’re introducing to attendees at this week’s Live and Invest in Colombia Conference taking place in Medellin.
“So,” Ed continued this morning, “I took 65 10-year-olds to Manhattan. I only lost three or four.
“Seriously, we had a great trip. We toured all over the city.
“Recently, I got an e-mail from one of the boys who made that trip with me. He wrote to tell me:
“‘I’ve just graduated from NYU. And I realize it was all thanks to you. I went to a school I wanted to go to in a city I really love, all because you showed me I could. If we hadn’t made that trip years ago, I would have been too nervous to move to Manhattan to go to college all on my own. But you helped me to see there was nothing to be afraid of…’
“That’s my goal for this morning,” Ed explained to our group. “My hope is that four or five years from now, maybe sooner, I’ll get an e-mail from one of you thanking me for showing you that you don’t need to be nervous. You can restart your life in Medellin, as you’re thinking you might like to do.
“I tell you with confidence that you can do it, because I’ve done it. I’ve been living here full-time for 72 days. This city is allowing me to reinvent my life completely.
“I first came to Medellin two years ago with a friend who asked me if I wanted to tag along with him and his wife who were coming here for vacation. At the time, I thought, Colombia?! Why would anyone want to go to Colombia?
“But I came along. The trip was one of the most important turning points of my life.
“Back in Pittsburgh, I’m a landscape architect. I have a firm that works with the rich and famous…professional athletes, big-deal CEO’s, etc. I’m not walking away from that. I got an e-mail just before I came up here to the podium to speak from one of my guys updating me on the pool house we’re building for someone this month. I’m still running my business.
“But, at the same time, I’m reinventing my life. That first trip to Medellin two years ago, I fell in love, both with the city and with one of its daughters, a beautiful woman named Michelle. We’re going to be married soon. Then I’ll have five children–my two in the States and her three here. Talk about a life change.
“But I’ve never felt better. I’ve never been happier. Never felt younger. Old friends back in Pittsburgh, when they see me, tell me I look better than I have in two decades.
“This is a beautiful city. And, yes, it’s safe. I’m getting to know it at a very local level. I’m becoming part of a local Colombian family. I’m being welcomed and supported. At a time when I could be thinking about winding down my life, I’m restarting it. I feel very, very fortunate to have discovered this special city, and I want you to know that, if you, like me, decide you’d like to make this city your home, you can do it.”
“You can do it.”