Aero: Annie Livingston – Costa Rica 2015 – Travel


Aero: Annie Livingston – Costa Rica 2015 – Travel
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Annie Livingston – Costa Rica 2015 – Travel


Annie Livingston

I visited four different airports traveling to and from Costa Rica. I really am not a big fan of airplanes, so the actual FLYING part was nervewracking and I had to figure out ways to deal with that, but I enjoyed the busy airport environment, which appeared to me as sort of the same atmosphere as the mall, with lots of different little stores, and great people watching opportunities. I was surprised by how many different food options there were, as well.

On the way home, the stick horse Pablo gave me got beheaded and the stick part was confiscated in security in the airport in San Jose, but not my tube of sunscreen or water bottle that I forgot to take out of my backpack. Other than that unfortunate loss, security processes getting back into the US actually wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, the lines weren’t too long and moved along quickly. Perhaps I was just accustomed to the long waiting times in Costa Rica.

There was traveling to and from the country, and there was also travel inside of Costa Rica. When we went on our mini trip out to the Arenal volcano region we got to stay in the Backpackers Hostel, which turned out to be a nice resort, where there were people from countries all around the world including Brazil, Australia, Aruba and many places around Europe. We had some interesting conversations with a great group of friendly people.

Throughout the duration of the trip, the process of traveling helped me improve on many important life skills that will come in handy anytime in my life in any situation and I believe that the more I travel, the better I will become at these skills.


ML@FLCC Costa Rica
2015 Flickr Gallery

Travel taught me how to become a creative problem solver in a lot of situations—like how to fit four days worth of clothing into one small backpack, and what to do when I ran out of clean socks…sometimes the answer was as simple as grabbing someone to run out to the store with me, sometimes it took a bit more thinking.

I also learned better organization. I had make sure that I kept everything I needed in my backpack for the day, make sure that I knew where my money and other important documents were at all times. This was especially challenging in airports, when I often felt as if I was carrying about thirty things all at once, and trying not to drop or lose anything. The first day I DID accidentally leave my passport in security—thankfully someone gave it to me, and after that I became hyper alert about making sure I had it with me.

Just packing in itself taught me organization. I really wanted to avoid carting my whole wardrobe with me to Costa Rica, so I did my best to pack lightly and NEATLY. I was pretty proud of how well I did, at least on the journey there. The trip back was a bit more of just cram everything in a suitcase and zip it up.

Even though it could be inconvenient to have so little (like when my only pair of sneakers got all wet) it was actually extremely relieving in a way to just leave behind my whole messy room and closet and clutter, and live out of a suitcase for two weeks. To have everything that I needed in one place made life a whole lot easier, but again it was also an organizational challenge to try and keep everything somewhat neat in my suitcase.

Something big I had to practice was patience, patience, patience, always. I am often impatient and in a hurry to get stuff done, however in Costa Rica, the lifestyle there is considerably more laid back and slower than here. People never were in a rush, which meant a lot of waiting everywhere: waiting in construction, waiting at restaurants, waiting for the bus, waiting while the bus driver stopped for coffee…it’s different than home and it took a lot of learning to roll with it and to find a way to make the best of every situation and turn it into happy memories (even if that includes joining your friends to talk with the people in the car behind you through the back window while stuck in traffic)

What I had to come to learn was that travel, just like anything in life, isn’t sunshine all the time. There are going to be days that are frustrating, tiring and stressful, and it’s just all part of the journey. But there were so many wonderfully positive days that it’s all totally worth it.

While traveling, I was able to find new crazy dreams, interests and passions of mine that I wouldn’t have discovered had I not taken this opportunity. My sloth obsession wasn’t something that I was even aware of a few months prior to leaving, and now I have been thinking of ways to give money to donate to the sloth sanctuary, sewing little felt sloths, and dream of getting to possibly work with rescued sloths one day.

When I came home, I had a new appreciation for all that I have here, my own room, hot shower, the smoother, less windy roads, and even a more routine, predictable schedule and faster paced lifestyle, and it was interesting to have a fresh outlook on all the little things I used to take for granted. At the same time, I realized that what I had here at home wasn’t everything there was. Here there are no fresh bananas, no rainforests and people tend to get stressed out over the smallest things, including myself. While I certainly have some great stuff here at home, there’s also some great stuff to be found elsewhere, that I am not even yet aware of, and I can’t wait to see more of it soon.

I know that I will continue to travel more in my future and discover many other special places in this great big world, but I think that Costa Rica will always have a special place in my heart because it was my very first travel abroad experience, and introduced me for the first time to the delighting, sometimes stressful, and always memorable process that is international travel.

Annie Livingston
LEAF Contributor