Aero: Annie Livingston – Costa Rica 2015 – Epilogue


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

Aero: Annie Livingston – Costa Rica 2015 – Epilogue


Annie Livingston

There is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do one thing every day that scares you,” and that is what I kept thinking of while I was abroad in Costa Rica. Every day I did things that were exciting and fun, and every day I know I did at least one thing that terrified me, from flying on the plane at the very beginning, to speaking Spanish with strangers, to ziplining or walking across the hanging bridges.

I used to think that people traveled because they were fearless and confident, and enjoyed going off to do daring things in places where much was unfamiliar. Now, I’m not sure really. I didn’t necessarily think of myself as brave or confident or any of that before I went to Costa Rica, now perhaps I do. Maybe many people also travel in search of personal growth, to obtain the skills that they need and/or want to have.

I now have journals, writings, souvenirs, a stuffed sloth, and many many photos along with memories to hold on to forever. I made some of my photos into a college and hung it above my bed. I have been sharing my photos and stories with my friends and family back home, and hope to perhaps pass these photos on to my children one day and share my travels with them the way others in my life have shared their travels with me.

When I got home, I was at first pleased to be back in my own lifestyle where everything seemed safe and familiar, and the true sadness of leaving Costa Rica took a few days to really set in fully.


ML@FLCC Costa Rica
2015 Flickr Gallery

I expected to have a lot of fun in Costa Rica, but I didn’t expect that I would miss this culture and place that was all different than home, this much. I have been on vacations to different places (within the country) and I never missed any of those places in quite the same way that I miss Costa Rica. Something was different, special this time, and this was definitely more than just a vacation to me.

What I miss most of all are the little details. Waking up and hearing Pablo and Mayra cheerfully speaking Spanish every morning, the turtle that ate lettuce under the table, Pablo’s giant truck we rode around in, and hearing the sounds of airplanes, motorcycles, and loud trucks outside, hearing and seeing beautiful birds all around. I now see that I can adapt and grow and feel at home in a place that is not the home I know, and I can love another place just as much as I love the one I am familiar with. This gives me confidence for the next few years of my life, when I will be going away to college, and transitioning away from my home and life that I am used to.

When people ask me how my trip was, I usually end up saying something like “It was a lot of fun,” or something that sounds stupid because it doesn’t at all accurately describe what this meant to me, but I have trouble finding the words that can describe how wonderful it was. There really are no words, no way to describe how much this experience meant to me. When I reflect on my travels, look through photos, write these articles, I feel happy because I got to go on this journey, sad because I am missing it all, excited because I know that this is not the end of my travels in Costa Rica or travels in general and that there are many more beautiful times to be had and memories to be made, and proud of myself for taking this opportunity to grow, learn, discover and ultimately move out of my comfort zone. I don’t really know what to call this mixture of emotions, but what I do know is that with all these new discoveries—new Spanish words, new foods, new cities and towns, new people and places and animals and plants and songs—my whole world just grew a little bigger.

Annie Livingston
LEAF Contributor