I leave in four days, and really this shouldn’t feel much different from when I went to college for eight months. But, inevitably it does. I suppose the major reason it feels different is because this is the first time I will be traveling by myself to another country. My mom won’t be coming with me to see where I’ll be staying. I’ll be figuring everything out on my own. It’s not like I don’t have experience traveling on my own, but going to another country will be a first for me.
Several people have asked me why Costa Rica? And yes, I have some good reasons for going to Costa Rica, but it’s not really the country that is drawing me there, but rather the experience it will provide me. I don’t think anyone needs a specific reason to travel. The best possible reason I can give for wanting to go to Costa Rica is because I love to travel. I want to experience new cultures and see new things. I want to understand the world, which will always be a lifelong endeavor. Costa Rica is only one of many places I want to go. I believe that wherever I am I will find joy in my adventures and will never stop learning. Whatever country I may end up in, will be a country I will be interested in.
When I began this year off there were so many places I wanted to go. There still are. However, I had to go with some place practical. Even I can’t argue that the idea of traveling in China by myself makes me nervous. I consider Costa Rica a warm up for future international travels.
Here are some reasons that Costa Rica became my first stop on my gap-year.
- I’ve had a couple of friends go to Costa Rica and come back in one piece.
- Costa Rica is relatively safe. It also has a decent number of English speakers and a lot of American tourists.
- Costa Rica has a lot of farms. I found a couple to stay at. I am leaving my options flexible as to if I’ll go to one or two farms.
- Costa Rica is in the same time zone as New Mexico and really is only about 3000+ miles away. That doesn’t seem so far to me. I’ll be there in a day of travel, just like when I went to Massachusetts for school.
- Costa Rica accepts US currency in some places and uses standard US plugs with 110 V, so I won’t have to worry too much about my electronics.
- I won’t have to worry about the safety of drinking water, except possibly in rural areas. Costa Rica is a developing country and is the most well off of Central America.
- It’s warm and tropical. I’m really excited to see how Costa Ricans spend their holiday season. Definitely looking forward to escaping the three month holiday season of the United States. (I can’t stand holiday advertising that begins before Halloween!)
I would have gone farther for my first trip abroad, but in an effort to be practical and safe I had to compromise a few things. I am taking this trip all on my own. I am doing this without an organization or a set program. I am funding this trip from my personal savings. I would say that as an 18 year-old, I’m quite proud of myself, but really I haven’t done this on my own. I have been blessed with innumerable support. Without this support I would not be here typing this post out. It would be a far different story. So, I can say that I’m not leaving America, I’m just going to a different part of it.