This past Christmas my family and I vacationed to Dominical, Costa Rica.
Travel excites me. I am passionate about mountains, airplanes, missions, culture, and above all people. The entirety of the trip I longed to help; Costa Rica is thriving but there is apparent suffering and poverty in certain areas. However, the point of this family vacation was to enjoy ourselves – but ultimately I learned more than I could imagine.
ATVs. I have driven many in the past and I am strikingly good at controlling them. So when my mom told me we were doing an ATV tour through the rainforest, I was very enlivened. However, two hours and a sore thumb later I was scared, thirsty, intimidated, and frustrated by my lack of ability to speak Spanish. Our tour guides were excited about everything, and the people in our tour group were over a decade older than me. The trail we were on had rocks the size of people and was skinny enough that one mistake could cost you; the ATV itself was old and uncontrollable. After hour two though, I pushed the fear I had aside and attempted to enjoy it. We drove through fog, rain, trees, inches of mud, and my white shirt was anything but that at the end of day. Above all, I realized I was incomparably small next to wonders I didn’t know existed. As we stopped for a break in the middle of the dense forest, our Costa Rican native tour guides began making a path that led up a cliff, which I followed with confidence and excitement. When we reached the top, I was standing at the bottom of the most prepossessing waterfall I have ever seen. As the mist brushed my face and crashing sounds filled my ears, I stood with my eyes close and breathed in the presence of a place I will never be again. I smiled, looked up once more, and left the rest of my group to photo taking and conversation.
An unduly sigh of relief, and a deep breath I hadn’t been able to take for months. Costa Rica captivated me and what it means to be human; a final smile glancing at a waterfall.