Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into Amazing Memories - My Family Travels

Every morning I opened up my bedroom door to the spectacular view of high tide crashing into el camino palmero, as I like to call it. As shown in the video, the view of the waves at the end of this walk was breathtaking.

But some mornings were a little less quiet. My very first day I woke up to a large booming noise outside – I rushed to open the door and found our neighbor’s enormous Rottweiler on the hot tin roof chasing ten congos, or howler monkeys, in their mango tree. Meanwhile the self-proclaimed “man de la casa” was striking monkeys with a ten foot metal pole yelling, “¡Ven de aquí! ¡Ven de aquí!” and a Chihuahua unable to climb the roof was running in circles around him, yelping hysterically and avoiding the falling feces, a standard howler monkey defense measure. I was amazed. I could only laugh and think to myself, “Is this what I’m going to wake up to every morning?”


Sámara at 5:30am – because sometimes a photo is not enough.

Yet that is the beauty of Sámara: it never happened again. Every day during my short one week stay brought something fresh, exciting, inconvenient and weird. By day two I was riding my bike home from a nighttime beach bonfire in pouring rain and lightning, laughing the whole way. By day three I had to get to school for Spanish classes by crossing a foot wide wooden plank over a ditch dug across the road to install an enormous pipe underground. By day four, in no relation to day three, dirt began to trickle out of the faucets in the house. Karol, my mamá Tica, offered me a solution: to fill a clean, empty paint bucket with water, allow it to sit for twenty minutes for the dirt to sink to the bottom, then grab a plastic Tupperware bowl and shower. Really, I found it hilarious – I discovered that I am no princess.

Besides the many circumstances nobody could have accounted for, I can hardly begin to describe how meticulously ACIS and Intercultura Spanish Language School organized our seven days in Sámara. In our packed schedule every tour guide and instructor was paid and tipped beforehand: for kayaking, surfing, nature trail exploring, meringue lessons, salsa lessons, empanada-making lessons, Spanish class, soccer with Ticos, a beach bonfire, snorkeling, zip-lining, everything.

But the purpose of the trip, besides to learn Spanish, zip-line upside down and meet attractive surfers, was to help clarify a steady correlation in my life: the more modest my accommodations, the more meaningful my memories. Small inconveniences, instead of being horrendous adversities, have always become the means by which to bond with family and friends. When my brother and I stayed in a two and a half star high rise hotel in Niš, Serbia, we laughed over figuring out how to use the sink without really touching anything. When my family and I migrated from two million dollar villa to a small two bedroom flat in Eleuthera, the Bahamas we had way more fun covering the revealing window in the bathroom with a pillow and eating dry cereal for breakfast, laughing at the ironic contrast between the two places. I can’t believe it took me so long to realize why it is this way, but I finally got it. When people have trouble finding enjoyment in the objects that accommodate them, they naturally turn to each other. Thanks to my week in the beautiful Sámara, I pledge to save money, connect with natives, and open up my mind to a whole new way of traveling.

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