Riding horseback up the side of a steep hill through the thick jungle leaves that blocked the path ahead, I never thought they would get me to make it this far. I consider myself an adventurous person; I’m just cautious. Ocean kayaking? Done it. Hawaiian helicopters? I explored the Big Island of Hawaii. White-water rafting? I think I’ll pass. Zip line over canopies a thousand feet high? Are you mad? The obvious answer to me: yes. So how did it come to be that I actually ventured to do such wild activities? Pure adrenaline.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Standing atop the hill we had just ridden up, I looked around me, taking in my surroundings. The only word to describe what I saw: incredible. Just three days before, I felt trapped in the hot and smoggy suburbs of Los Angeles. Now I was living free in the lush humid tropics of Costa Rica. I didn’t object the change. Rather I sat down on the grassy hillside next to my parents, older brother, and tour guide and looked at the raging river below. How was it that just the day before we were all riding those roaring waves in a tiny raft? The water was too warm to resist and the delicious cultural food waiting for us at the end of our venture would be too good to deny.
One night, a week later, I stepped out on to the balcony of our hotel room, looked back on that river, and thought, what was I so afraid of? Living an adventure is far greater than sitting at home reading about fictional adventures. As I looked up at the thousands of stars and listened to the ocean waves crashing on rocks in the bay below, I looked back to the day before when I was fearless. After conquering my fear of white-water rafting, I felt I could easily ride the zip lines no matter how high up they were or for how long they extended. And I did. Along with riding ATVs through rows of palm trees the day before that and surfing the warm ocean waves the day before that. After all of this, I knew I could conquer anything. In fact, still to this day I use it as motivation. I can ride this zip line because I did it fourteen times in Costa Rica! I can ace this test because I tried surfing in Costa Rica! Two years have now gone by, but there has not been a day since that I haven’t dreamt of returning to that country. I still wear a wristband that says “Costa Rica” on it in hopes that someone will see it and tell me about their adventures.
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