I gained something I never thought I could from visiting another country: perspective. I had no expectations going into this trip which I highly recommend for future travelers. Going into this trip without expectations lead to the possibility to be surprised and delighted by everything I had done. I was surprised that someone as myself who usually lives a life of complexity could live simply. I did not think I could be completely independent yet from my family or be staying in places where it is normal for people to eat dinner together and leave doors open all the time for neighbors to wander in and out. I did not think I could be in so many situations where bugs are all around and not be bothered by it or be completely dirty or sweaty and accept it is natural. I did not think I could be without makeup and not be constantly in a “fashion show” as my mother says. I did expect to make so many friends but I did not know they would impact my life and be missed so much afterwards. All these thoughts I had were not expectations I had in my mind to defeat before this trip but things I had discovered along the way as the time I spent here progressed and I noticed myself changing.
This travel has inspired me to want to travel more and continue to be surprised by other cultures. I loved working on our service project that we had accomplished but when I go to other places this will not be why I go. I have realized from being around so many others who live such a different lifestyle from those of someone from the states, that when I travel I want to befriend others so instead of trying to be an American that comes in entitled trying to help since I would feel as though they are inferior. I do not want to be a savior since most others don’t want to lose the feeling of independence to rely on a stranger that comes from one of the most developed nations. I want to meet others and learn from their culture and give respect as a visitor.
I have never been one to say no to new experiences and that quality will always stay with me. I hope to always build new bridges for myself and continue to discover new opportunities. To enjoy what comes on the other side of a metaphorical bridge, you must completely immerse yourself in an experience. Take yourself out of your routines and habits and create new memories. This memory of Costa Rica will stay with me forever as well as the perspective I have gained from my visit.