For most of my life, I was focused on being a professional musician. I’ve been playing in bands since age fourteen but felt like I had truly made it when my band, Art of Chaos, was invited to tour with Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance in 2007. Playing for thousands of people was an unforgettable experience but most impactful was seeing how demanding the lifestyle of the rockstar was: being on the road 300 days a year was a difficult way to live.
Our fame was fleeting and we broke up 2009. I took a trip to South America with my brother to cheer myself up and discovered a new passion: Cultural Immersion. The way that I felt when I was speaking with someone from a different culture, sharing some part of their tradition or even eating their food was as engaging as being on stage for me. Getting my Master’s degree in Public Diplomacy helped me formally understand the use of culture to promote dialogue and understanding between nations, organizations and people.
I moved to South America with the idea of becoming a Rockstar Diplomat: a wandering minstrel connecting cultures through music and travel. This idea was put on hold when I was presented with an opportunity to start a social enterprise, a hostel in Medellín, Colombia.
In order to differentiate our business from others that encouraged and benefitted from a party-centric tourist scene, we anchored our hostel in the local community. We developed cultural immersion opportunities for both Colombians and foreigners such as Language Exchanges, Open Mic Nights, Karaoke Nights, Free Salsa Classes, Concerts, Cooking and International Cinema.
These activities helped realize a key part of my Rockstar Diplomat dream: connecting different people from countries through cultural activities. Having now transitioned out of an active role at the hostel, I hope to inspire others realize their inner Rockstar Diplomats and engage people from other countries using Music and Travel.