A note from TWS: It is important that our Wandering Scholars prepare for their journeys by researching their host country before they leave home. The below post is the product of an assignment in which we ask our Scholars to read and share something interesting they’ve learned about Costa Rica’s history, culture, or politics.

The alluring and prideful country of Costa Rica is an amazing place by the looks of their food, people and rich culture. I can’t wait to have the honor of discovering their environment, energy, animals and the beautiful souls of their peoples. Costa Ricans have a lot of pride for their flag. To the white and blue stripes stand for peace,wisdom and happiness. To the vermilion red color that stands for the blood in defending their country as well as the warmth and generosity of the people.

On July 13 I will be traveling to Costa Rica and seeing this beautiful place instead of just reading about this amazing place. I read a  wonderful story about volunteering: Katie, a University of Iowa had a amazing time helping the child in Costa Rica. She said on her blog, “50 little toddlers greet you everyday with endless smiles and adorable voices she will neve forget.” I can’t wait to have an unforgettable experience myself and see the world in a different perspective.

Also, on twitter I learned that Costa Rica is now running completely on renewable energy. Costa Rica is running without having to burn a single fossil fuel, and it’s been doing so for 75 straight days. Thanks to the rainfalls this year, Costa Rica hydropower plants are generating nearly enough electricity to power the entire country. In Costa Rica, a drought would disrupt the country’s ability to generate electricity with water. That’s why the government approved a $958 million geothermal project, which is being paid for with the help of Japanese and Europeans investments.

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Still looking for that perfect gift?  Welcome to the third and final installment of our 2016 gift guide, where we’ve curated the best in travel and travel-themed essentials  (here’s Part I & Part II). We’ve saved one of the absolute best gifts for last, so please scroll down to see how you can honor your favorite Wanderer by giving the world this holiday season.

For the Wistful Wanderer, who still talks about studying abroad back in high school, makes his host mother’s specialty all these years later, and prefers his movies with subtitles. We’ve got him covered, from bringing more of the world home to helping put it within reach of a new generation of Wanderers. 




Global Sounds via Amazon Music Unlimited, $79/year: Amazon’s new music streaming service has a world of musical possibilities on offer, from Putumayo’s Latin classics to the best in Afropop and Bhangra. Combine with the Amazon Tap Portable Bluetooth Speaker ($8.99) for a more immersive listening experience. 



V-Street: 100 Globe-Hopping Plates on the Cutting Edge of Vegetable Cooking, $16.42: Two of the best chefs in the US have put their spin on global vegetarian flavors, creating dishes like Peruvian fries and vegetarian ramen that will become instant home-cooking classics.



Interwoven Ginko Quilt, $112: Sourced from fabrics from all over the globe, Interwoven’s collection of pillows, throws, and rugs put the world within everyday reach. This Ginko quilt is handmade in India, from vintage sari fabric that is machine washable and designed to age with grace and beauty. 



World Coffee Tour Gourmet Sampler, $89.99: This collection of coffee samples takes you “around the world in 80 sips,” with flavors from South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.




Make a Tribute Donation to The Wandering Scholar: Honor your favorite Wanderer with the ultimate gift this holiday season by making a tribute donation to the Wandering Scholar. Here’s what your contribution can do:

  • $2500 fully funds the trip of a lifetime for a Wandering Scholar
  • $1000 funds the cost of international airfare
  • $250 buys a camera to create a stunning documentation project
  • $100 covers the cost of a passport book (good for 10 years)
  • $50 scores a guidebook, field journal, and other essential items
  • $25 picks up gifts for a host family
  • $10 pays the entry fee for a museum or landmark

With every (fully tax-deductible) tribute donation, we will send a card commemorating your and your Wanderer’s support for our mission. read more →

Still looking for that perfect gift?  Welcome to Part II of our gift guide (click here for Part I). We’ve curated the best in travel (and travel-themed) essentials for the Wanderers in your life. Follow the links to purchase via Amazon and your gift gives twice – with a portion of your purchase proceeds donated to The Wandering Scholar. 



For the Seasoned Wanderer, who has friends all over the world and the passport stamps (plus some amazing stories) to prove it. We’ve got her covered, from the moment she starts packing for her latest adventure until she returns home to plot the next one.




Leather Travel Wallet, $195: From Cuyana, the company that emphasizes having “fewer, better things,” comes this multi-purpose travel wallet. It holds a passport, boarding pass, credit cards, coins, notes and more. It also makes for a great evening clutch. And you can personalize it with her initials.








Bluesmart One – Smart Luggage, $414.28: This carry-on suitcase does everything. It meets TSA size requirements, has a built-in tracking device (allowing her to locate it anywhere in the world), and comes equipped with two USB hubs to charge her devices on the go. 









TOMS shoes, prices vary: This shoe brand has a variety of classic, comfortable styles for both men and women. As a bonus, when you purchase through the link your gift gives not twice but thrice – to your Seasoned Wanderer, to TWS through our affiliate program, and to a person in need thanks to TOMS “one for one” program. 








Everlane City Anorak, $98: Lightweight, water-resistant, and with a modern cut, this jacket perfectly balances utility and fashion. It’s perfect for navigating London’s rainy climates without sacrificing style. 










The Travel Book: A Journey through Every Country in The World, $31.25: This tome from Lonely Planet covers 230 countries, includes nearly 1000 photos, and will help her figure out where on the map she’ll head next.  read more →

Still looking for that perfect gift?  Welcome to our gift guide, where we’ve curated the best in travel (and travel-themed) essentials for the Wanderers in your life. Follow the links to purchase via Amazon and your gift gives twice – with a portion of your purchase proceeds donated to The Wandering Scholar.


For the First-Time Wanderer, who just got his passport and is counting down the days until he can put the inaugural stamp in it. We’ve got him covered, from the plane ride to his return stateside.




Baggu Canvas Backpack, $38: This lightweight but durable backpack will work as a carry-on, an everyday bag while on the road, and the perfect place to store souvenirs.


Infinity Pillow – Design Power Nap Pillow, Travel and Neck Pillow (Grey), $39: With economy seats getting smaller and smaller, it’s harder and harder to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. This versatile travel pillow, made of breathable bamboo fabric, can turn even the most uncomfortable middle seat into a dreamland.


Field Notes, $9.95: To record every sight, smell, sound and inspiration.

Fuji Instax Mini Camera, $99.99: For taking high-quality pictures and beautiful color prints on the spot.


Photo Credit: Everyday Ambassador

Everyday Ambassador: Make a Difference by Connecting in a Disconnected World, $11.99: This book provides a roadmap for building bridges in a disconnected world. Using four core values – empathy, patience, focus, and humility – Otto’s book helps turn ordinary people into change-making global citizens. 

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Wow! It’s so crazy how time flies by! Just little over a month ago I was enjoying the Costa Rican Lifestyle. Now I’m back home doing the same crazy routine of working and getting prepared for school.
Before the trip, I never thought that going to another country would change my point of views for the rest of my life. Once I arrived in the village of San Salvador, I was worried about the condition of the home were I stayed in but the people were so loving and caring, the conditions of my host family’s house did not matter one bit after. Since i’ve got back home, I keep on referencing Costa Rica because the experience was SO incredible!
Since the trip, I have become more grateful of my family because I know they will always be there for me no matter what. I also really appreciate my home and all that I have in life. Back in Costa Rica, the people in the village were very appreciative of their family. They showed me that family will always be around no matter what the circumstances are.
What inspired me the most while I was in Costa Rica was seeing how happy the people were. Everyone in the village got along and they just appreciate life so much. They appreciate every little thing they have, which I think is drastically different from what I have.
My favorite memory in Costa Rica was surfing. We had so much fun that I don’t think anyone took pictures. I really miss my host family because they always kept a smile on my face. They really made me feel like I was part of their family.
Once I got back home, it was surprisingly really easy for me to adapt back to everything. I think that was because I was kind of looking forward to my bed where I didn’t have to worry about any insects crawling over me in the middle of the night.
Overall, this trip was an AMAZING experience and if I had the opportunity to do it again, I TOTALLY would. read more →