I haven't even touched the ground and I know I am coming back. Dead asleep ...first time to actually sleep like a baby on a plane - thank goodness for that (much thanks to an all night flight on no sleep)... Eyes open- I open window- I'm wide awake... Ok Costa Rica - you are speaking to me ... Mountains hovering above the clouds - green, green, and more green like I've never seen - so rural- endless coast- I can't believe the vast beauty I'm over looking - and yet il only touch a small part of it - I will definitely be back!
Fast forward two day- perhaps I am having 2nd thoughts - or maybe just still getting immersed - let's call this one big giant lesson! Where do I even begin.......
Ok perhaps I wrote too soon. It was a rough 8 hours of travel- seemingly never ending in the moment - I admittedly had a hard time appreciating it while in it - only fantasizing about arrival of destination -and looking back I already appreciate it on a whole new level. The first 12 hours @ destination I was truly worried that this life wasn't for me, however, I know it was just the delay in getting here & fully experiencing it. By noon the 1st day in Montezuma, rugged hostel living & travel has won my heart.
A few realizations:
It's amazing how long you can stretch the days out here & how much you can do in one day from eyes open to close.
It's amazing how much you can do & still feel so incredibly rested & rejuvenated.
It's amazing how fast you can form bonds with new people that you are most certain will last a long time time to come.
This is my first time to travel abroad and my first time to journey solo. Considering someday I aspire to back pack through the world- I figured a week in one place might be a good way to start- to get my feet (as they call it) wet. These are some personal lessons I learned along the way... and jotted down, light heartedly, to make the most of the moments I felt slightly defeated, flustered, or just plain silly... And while I'm sure they will prove different slightly in different locations - I'm also certain it will be a good set of reliable guidelines for myself through my future travel...
My personal lessons on traveling abroad:
1. Don't don't don't travel to a foreign country that speaks a different language by myself w/ absolutely NO awareness of how to communicate in their language. NOT smart!!! Buy a book - have an offline translator - or know the basics.
2. Learn a new language for the love of God - because I'm proving how ignorant and untraveled Americans really are.
3. Oh ya - the idea that traveling alone helps me to be more social & talk to & meet more new people ?!?! Ummmm - NOT if I don't speak a language besides my own... (@ least not until I get somewhere like the hostel where there are other world travelers).
4. I am all the way in another country for a vacation - stop being a cheap ass & don't make dumb decisions just to save a buck or two- sometimes the extra money is worth piece of mind, convenience & like 8 hours of my life!! Especially when my trip is short lived. If I'm going to go through all the means of getting somewhere & making a trip happen I need to just live it up. Nuff said.
5. Traveling cheap is good- staying in hostels is GREAT for meeting amazing people - but dorm rooms suck ass for sleep!!! Next time - stay in hostel but do private dorm room! Then I'm on my own sleep schedule but still get the experience of meeting great people.
6. (And applicable to LIFE)
Make a damn decision - then accept it - if it doesn't work & I can change it - change it - and if not - then make the best of it. These small inconsequential decisions aren't making or breaking my life.
7. 10-14 days minimum - and 1x/year minimum - needed - no exceptions! Alone is ok - but I think w w friend will be better - as long as we agree to meet people & socialize & agree to go separate ways if we feel like different things so we can each get most out of our experience
8. It takes way longer to get places then I imagined - so it's never as much time as I want or need - plan accordingly for travel.
9. It will never be enough time & I just have to accept it - get good as saying "goodbye".
10. I have a whole new appreciation for technology- because of technology we now have a free way to connect with new friends world wide! OH, and a way to stay connected @ home for free anywhere that has WIFI!!!
I took these notes for myself while traveling. I was trying to be playful with myself and make light of some of my lessons along the way -but I think that it is all sound advice I shall definitely take into consideration during my future endeavors :)