The moment I stepped off the boat in Colombia you could sense it. This was a country that was really looking forward to the World Cup. Everywhere I went I saw people sporting the uniform of their national team. There are people selling replica World Cup trophies everywhere and even people decorating their entire car in the lead up to the event.
During my time in Mexico and Central America it was a lot less obvious. I'm sure there are many people there looking forward to the big event, but it wasn't so overt. Colombia is a country that has been waiting for this for a long time.
Some people are really into World Cup Fever
After qualifying for three straight tournaments between 1990 and 1998, the team has not been back to the Cup Finals since. With it's team currently ranked number five in the world by FIFA, the anticipation is huge that this side will finally bring some glory to the country – the fact it is being hosted on their own continent just making it even sweeter.
The fever has certainly rubbed off on me. While I've been looking forward to the cup, it has certainly taken a back seat to my travels through places like Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua, which have been some of my favourite destinations ever. Now though, the anticipation for the world's biggest event is really starting to take hold.
Since arriving n Colombia I've met dozens of Australians and people from other countries all heading to Brazil for the cup – including Colombians who are determined not to waste this opportunity.
Within a day of arriving in Colombia I finally took care of all of the logistics of my trip to Brazil. While I was fortunate enough to already have tickets to all three of the Socceroos group stage matches, I'd been a bit lay organising everything else. With dorm beds going for as much as US$220 and flights into Brazil at a premium, it certainly took some work, but was well worth it.
I was eventually able to find some decent priced rooms through AirBnb, a website I would strongly recommend to anyone still looking for somewhere to stay, while another great resource is Road to Brazil, run by and for Aussies coming over for the World Cup.
At this point, nothing in Brazil will be cheap, but for the once in a lifetime chance to be at the biggest event in the world in a country that loves it the most, I think its going to be worth every cent. Sure, Australia is certainly up against it, but there's going to be thousands of Australians there to cheer them on towards what would be a massive upset.
Or failing that, hopefully at least a goal.