I have had people ask me what the purpose of my trip is, and what I’m going to be doing when I get down to Costa Rica. I’ve had people ask me specifically where I’m going. Acquaintances want to know what my plans are. Well, it’s time for a confession:

Not with this trip, not with my life. I am, once again, at a crossroads in my life. All I know is that this trip is something I need to do. I’m not soul-searching, per se. I am happy with who I am; I don’t need to find myself. I have a variety of skills that I could transform into jobs or careers, and I have a variety of interests that I could pursue. I just don’t know what I’m going to be doing next. I can’t tell you where I’ll be in a month or in a year. I can’t tell you what will occupy my time next week or six months from now.

At the beginning of 2011, my New Year’s resolution was to go with the flow. At the beginning of 2012, it was to be more selfish. I’m still working on both of these things. I want to see where life takes me and enjoy the ride. I also want to take the time and trouble to seek out things that will make me happy. Both of these goals are leading me to get on a plane to Costa Rica with my sister Ellen, and see where we end up. We have parameters for the trip, but they are pretty vague.

  1. The trip should not be confined to specific travel dates. We will depart when we are ready, and return when we feel the need. Open tickets are apparently no longer a thing, so we will buy our ticket from Vancouver to San Jose when we are ready to leave, and upon our arrival in Costa Rica extend the return date to some randomly-picked date in the future, which we will change as necessary.
  2. We will go where interest and wanderlust take us. We know we’ll start in Costa Rica because our friend lives there, and we intend to visit our cousin in Colombia, but beyond that we’re open to relying on fate or chance or dumb luck to guide us.
  3. We want to immerse ourselves in the places we visit. We are not content to merely visit famous tourist destinations and take our pictures in front of them – in fact, we’d rather avoid those places altogether. I would like to eat what the locals eat, and enjoy the cultures of the places we travel. It will take longer, and we may miss out on some amazing destinations, but I want to BE, rather than SEE.
  4. We will do whatever inspires us on the trip. We’ve picked out a few ideas – we would both like to volunteer for worthy causes while we are away. Ellen specifically wants to do something with wildlife rescue, farming, and natural medicine, while I’m especially open to food production, tourism, and language learning.
  5. While travelling, I would like to record my experiences, through the written word, photography, and possibly painting or sketching. At the moment, I’m interested in some kind of non-fiction writing, with the possibility of making a career out of it if the opportunity presents itself.
  6. On this trip, I am open to the idea of making a semi-permanent home somewhere along the way. I’ve never liked winter, and as many of my friends and family are outside of Canada, I don’t feel it would be so bad to emigrate somewhere warmer. I am not saying I won’t come home, but if the right place presents itself, I am open to finding work and staying indefinitely.

So that’s what this trip is about, in a nutshell. Being open to what comes our way, and embracing the fact that we have no idea what we’re getting ourselves into.