Weeks have passed since my return from vacation. Central America did it right, Costa Rica being an unforgettable trip for more than a few reasons. A country so beautiful and pure, it’s no wonder why their life motto is “Pura Vida”. Everything from nature’s lush foliage, to it’s cute animal inhabitants, to its native people, there wasn’t one aspect of life here that seemed undesirable. I left this vacation with not just a “want” of returning, but a “need” to. But all that is great, will also have it’s not so great aspects, and this time certainly was no different. Yet, it wasn’t anything native to this country that had me feeling at times stressed and irritated, but it was more from the collective of those I traveled with.
It is true what people say, that when traveling with others, you will end up getting to know more about them and who they really are than during the everyday mundane activities that you’d normally partake with them. It’s only natural for the task of traveling and its stressors to bring out in us what we tend to keep under control. But what if it goes beyond just the typical travel stresses? Maybe things come out to light, things people typically would want to keep under wraps. Maybe the true colors of certain individuals become the spot light of the trip instead of the destination itself. This is exactly what happened on this vacation and although most of us tried our hardest to keep our noses out of businesses that shouldn’t have been brought to our attention, it was almost impossible to go on with our days of excitement and adventure without a bit of drama seeping into those moments.
Nine people in total traveled in our group. One of the nine was an additional surprise minus one who knew they would be attending. Who would have thought that one person could have sent such a ripple effect throughout our travel clan? In all honesty, nine people is a lot to travel with and it was no surprise to have hiccups here and there. With so many different personalities and goals in mind for this journey of ours, it’s almost a given that it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing the entire time. What I didn’t expect was to be so disappointed with how situations would be handled by certain people within our group. I really began to see what people internally were really like instead of the image that was presented to me when initially befriending these certain personalities. Acts of kindness, gratitude, humility, that danced before me like a marionet, I realized was almost a sham for there is no way that someone could go from one extreme to another without it already being a part of who they were to begin with. On a seven day trip, by day two I was already internally retreating, disappointment and disgust reaching every part of my soul. I was already beginning to mourn the loss of a friend that I thought I once knew. Acts of selfishness, inconsiderate gestures obvious to everyone who wasn’t involved directly in whatever conflict arising went without apologies. Moments that were supposed to be treasured due to the uniqueness of our situation went unnoticed because of the drama that continued to be had, unnecessary drama on multiple levels. That, to me, was the tragic part of the entire ordeal, that other people’s silly personal drama was able to at times out shine the beauty of that moment in time that we were in.
Since arriving back home, I have reminisced multiple times about my trip to Costa Rica. Although it’s difficult to do, I try my hardest to think of only the moments that should have mattered. For instance, the very moment we landed and walked out of the airport instantly surrounded by an all encompassing newness. The excitement coursing through my veins with the knowledge that I was someplace so far from home. The sight of the first Macaw soaring above my head as we climbed into the shuttle, heading to what was to be our home away from home for those following seven days. The challenge of climbing 10 gorgeous waterfalls out in the rainforest, a true adventure that none of us expected to be on. The delicious local meals eaten. The memorial held for one of our group member’s loss, family who had been taken way too soon. The moments of dancing, a sliver of time in which we all laughed, and had forgotten even for a second, the conflicts that radiated between us. The moments of silence and peace had during my much needed alone time, finding those stolen seconds to regroup, and revitalize my soul. These are the moments I look back on, forgetting all else that brings forth emotions of anything but positivity and happiness.
I started off by stating that I left this vacation with not just a “want” of returning, but a “need” to. The need comes from the understanding that I know I wasn’t able to enjoy this trip to its fullest potential. It was more like taking a bite from a hot meal you know will be delightful, but instead was served cold. The flavors are there, but you’re unable to enjoy it in its entirety. My return will be in different circumstances, circumstances that will be more under my control than the last. I look forward to that moment. I’ll be a little bit more experienced, a bit more prepared, and under a lot less stress because this time the players will be different if ever so slightly.
I take this experience as a moment of learning instead of a time of relaxation and leisure. The way it all played out was meant to happen for reasons different for all of us. What we all obtained and walked away from when leaving the country of Costa Rica are lessons and moments that wouldn’t have been brought to light if not for this trip. I embrace it all, and walk away satisfied that no matter which way I look at it, the trip was a success, and although maybe I didn’t feel this in the moment, I now honestly feel that I wouldn’t have changed one single aspect of it. I take life and what it hands me as a gift from the Universe. I trust in it and all it does, because at the end of it all, the Universe has my back, and until my return, I’ll happily dream back to these times until I am able to experience the redo.