Lost and Found - My Family Travels

The water droplets weren't the only things that were surprised when they fell off the curvaceous green leaves and into my face.

I was too.

The last place I expected to find myself was in the middle of a jungle where the trees were so dense that it felt like they were on a mission to strangle all the strangers who stepped forth into their territory. I'm a computer person: I like programming and playing video games. The only similarity between what I'm used to and this adventure was that, thanks to the trees, I didn't see the sun much.

â–º  Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship

When my dad told me we were going to the beach I expected what we always did, which was to hop in the car, drive a couple of miles, and kick our shoes off. What we did instead was hop on the car, drive a couple hundred miles, and stop in a deserted parking lot.

When my dad shook me up to wake me he said, "You better rub that sleepiness out of your legs, you are going to need them soon."

Thus, and not without dread on my part, the journey began. In a corner of the parking lot a sign pointed to a trail. "Bonete beach: 18km."

"This is where we are going," said dad. Eighteen kilometers is a long distance for a walk, and the only reason I had to be glad was that at least we weren't going on the other trail, as the sign that pointed towards it had fallen down and several white crumbs covered it. Or at least they looked like crumbs, only they were moving. I didn't want to bend down to get a closer look.

Without another word we walked into the weathered mouth of the jungle and were engulfed, stroked by the tongue-like vines and continuously thrown on the floor by the sinister-looking roots. Not to mention that many of the rocks were slippery, and I fell several times. Sometimes I wished an earthquake would strike and engulf the rocks, but the tremors would probably have caused the rocks to shake, creating a noise that would have sounded more like mocking laughter than unappalled terror.

But when that water droplet splashed on my face I wasn't just surprised because I was in the middle of a jungle I'd never seen before. I was surprised because I was in the middle of a jungle I'd never seen before and I was liking it.

I liked fighting with nature. I could get past it's challenges and emerge out alive and with a feeling of accomplishments. So what if I fell down? So what if after wading through a waterfall I was soaking wet and it was five times harder to pick up my shoes? Nothing could beat me, I was stronger than that.

And when we got to the final destination, and I saw the deserted beach, I could truly say that it wasn't only the beach which was the reward, but the journey as well. From a high point I could see as the lazy green-blue waves washed into shore, watched by a mountain which looked like a green crocodile ready to eat any of the cheaters that took a boat instead of walking. "What are you doing," it seemed to say, "you haven't experienced the best part!"

And it was like this that I lost myself in a jungle only to find myself on the other side. And the version I found of me was stronger and more ready to try new things than ever before.

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