Traveling to Costa Rica opened my eyes to an entirely new world. I never thought I could learn so much about myself and about another country in such a short time. I went on this adventure through a program in my high school and worked extremely hard to fund the entire trip.
My fellow travelers to Costa Rica consisted of three teachers, and eight diverse students. We started out the trip as a group made up of 11 distinctly different people with individual personalities, interests, and backgrounds, but by the end of our time spent together, we had melded into one close family. We had ten packed days of exciting new adventures.
We went white water rafting, we flew over and through the canopy of the rainforest on a zip line, visited the hot springs heated by the Arenal Volcano, hiked through dense rainforest for miles almost every day, ate different delicious Costa Rican cuisine each night at a local restaurant, stayed at a different place in a different part of the country almost every night, and most importantly got to know the Costa Rican culture. Their culture was simple. It was not simple due to poverty, but rather it was simple because the people knew what was important in life.
They treasured their family and time spent with other people. Everyone I met during my trip was pleasant and seemed very happy with their lives. The people led busy lives, but they didn’t seem to be on the hectic schedule we’re on in the US.
It made me honestly not want to come home. I knew I would be coming back to my loving family which would be great, but I would also be returning to the chaos and craziness of my everyday life. Back in Vermont, I never go anywhere without my cell phone.
In Costa Rica, it didn’t get service and I loved not always depending on it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being connected to my friends and family and I’m addicted to text messaging. However, in Costa Rica, the people I was with were the only friends I needed.
I loved not knowing what time it was and not having to rush off to my next scheduled activity. We were constantly busy during our trip, and were always moving to see something new and exciting, but it was definitely nice just enjoying what was around you and just living in the moment and being fully immersed in what you were doing.There is a common saying in Costa Rica, ‘Pura Vida’, which means ‘pure life’. Pura Vida is exactly what the people in Costa Rica have.
I visited a place called Punta Mona while on my trip. Punta Mona is just off the coast of the mainland and is a completely self-sustained community. They grow their own vegetables and food there; they make their own electricity and power; and most importantly, they educate others on the effects that our actions have on the environment around us and how to take better care of our world.
After living there for a couple of days, I realized that if we don’t start taking care of this beautiful place we live in, how are our future generations going to survive? Don’t they deserve to be able to see all the natural beauty that we have enjoyed? Why should we be so selfish as to enjoy it while we’re alive, but not preserve it for as long as we can?
I definitely became more environmentally conscious and have researched going back to Punta Mona for a summer internship to learn more about what they’re doing to help our environment.This trip gave me the opportunity to see a place in the world that I probably would never have had the chance to see. It enabled me to create long lasting friendships with people who are different than I am. It showed me what was important in life and how to make those things a priority and not worry so much about the other things. It also helped me to realize what a fascinating world we live in and proved to me that we need to take action to ensure its survival.
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