Traveling has been a dream of mine ever since I can remember, but my family never had the financial resources to take the splendid vacations that punctuated the summers and holidays of my peers. I never imagined that an opportunity like this one would arise at this time in my life, but now that it has, I will make sure to take full advantage of all there is to learn and enjoy this experience to the fullest. Hopefully, this trip marks the start of many more to come.

I have been frantically studying up on my Spanish, flipping through any books, old essays, and television channels that might be helpful. I am eager to meet my host family, but that will have to wait until the third day of the trip.

I’ll admit that I’m a little stressed about getting through the airport and successfully transporting my luggage, but I’m also thrilled to be traveling, and I know the plane ride will be wonderfully relaxing.

This whole experience has been amazing. Meeting new people, researching topics that personally interest me, learning to love Twitter, and even packing have all been significant and enjoyable components of my preparation. But the most exciting part of the adventure has yet to come. This flight will end of the beginning of my journey, and then the true adventure will commence!

This will be my first international trip, but I’m sure that it won’t be the last. I plan to continue to broaden my cultural perspective and approach traveling from the viewpoint of a wandering scholar and not just a tourist. In terms of my current journey to Costa Rica and my long-term career as a wandering scholar. This is the end of the beginning and the start of a new, exciting chapter of my life.

Thank you Wandering Scholar directors Tamara and Shannon for this exceptionally special opportunity. I am also grateful to Marisa Mansueto for her support as my travel mentor, and to Elka Uchman, my Work Force Youth Program teacher-counselor, for informing me about this opportunity. And thank you to my fellow wandering scholars for your great advice!

There are mere hours left until my departure; less than a day remains.

Now the countdown begins!

-Tanaia