I live in the top floor penthouse of an apartment building in the neighbourhood of El Poblado in Medellín, Colombia.

It doesn’t feel quite as exotic or grandiose as it might sound, but it is beautiful. I am surrounded by mountains covered in green, and after it rains, which it did this afternoon, it smells as if everything is clean and new and blooming for the first time.

The night I arrived in this city a few months ago, I attended one of the most intense parties of my life. I began writing this book at that party.

I spent the previous evening in an airport in Quito, Ecuador, and I desperately needed a hot shower and a quiet bedroom. I was thinking about this when I arrived at my hostel in Medellín, backpack in hand, following a bus ride down from the mountains at breakneck speeds.

It was about 8 pm when I arrived in the city. When I went to a local pub to ask for walking directions to my hostel, I could tell that something big was brewing…

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