When I was 20 years old I took out a college loan to fund my first trip to another country alone. Costa Rica changed my life, and defined my passion for traveling. I spent a month there, two weeks volunteering at an eco tourism lodge / banana plantation. The last two weeks, I spent white water rafting, zip lining, hiking active volcanos, swimming in the beach and enjoying the jungle rain.
On this trip I met 9 other individuals from different areas who spent every single day sharing these experiences with me. We filled dirt bags together, from the soil we wheeled from the river, transplanted palm trees, tried to medicate our bug bites, got drunk together, slept 3 people to a bed, listened to the howler monkeys and the rain pounding on our thin roofs.
7 years later, as I type this, I am sitting in a hotel in Hollywood awaiting the arrival of 3 of them to California.
As soon as I pulled up to the Hotel, the bright blue doors reminded me of all the different places I’ve stayed at, on my travels. I felt a sense of loneliness, remembering my least favorite thing about traveling alone: arriving somewhere knowing no one is waiting for you. You get to an airport and see lovers embrace, best friends hug, families wave as they spotted their loved ones. You look around and recognized no one…but just as the first time, when I arrived in Costa Rica, my fear and loneliness is always erased by the adrenaline and excitement of what I’m about to experience.
Your way out is always different, you are always leaving someone whose path you changed forever. After we parted so many years ago, we all said we’d keep in touch. I’ve been blessed to have that be a reality, and to now be hours away from welcoming them to visit me seems unreal.
We’ve all grown up so much. Time to make some new memories…
Welcome to California.