I am extremely under-traveled for my age. It’s a problem. Growing up on the East Coast meant my family’s idea of a vacation was Orlando, Florida. (I know.) After leaving the country for the first time in my adult life for a friend’s birthday trip to Cabo, I made a vow with myself that I would prioritize traveling the same way I prioritize sushi and Grey’s reruns.
I booked my trip to Costa Rica for 2 reasons:
In retrospect, it was not a financially responsible decision, considering I’d leave my job a month before the trip to work for myself full-time. Retreats are expensive. Also, I’m a millennial so, like, what’s a savings? Still, I was fully in the mindset that the way to manifest something that you want is to set the intention and move toward making it happen. I’m big on eliminating my backup plan. Taking a step forward that I can’t come back from. Pocahontas diving off the freaking cliff. In this case, that meant putting down my very non-refundable deposit. I was going.
I’d never traveled by myself before. Although I’d know at least one or two familiar faces on this trip, I didn’t have any close friends with me to be my social safety net. My metaphorical cell phone at a crowded house party where I don’t know anyone. That thing you cling to so that you don’t have to step out of your bubble and enter unfamiliar territory.
In being vulnerable that way, I had to make space for other people that I may never have interacted with in another setting. I watched a mother find her identity outside of her children. Witnessed a couple in the midst of a divorce rekindle their relationship. Felt the contact high of a girl who left her life in the US to move to a place that brought her bliss. Admittedly, I didn’t go on this trip with the intention of meeting people. Still, I did set the intention of expanding beyond what I knew the world to be, and forced myself to be open to the experiences required to do so.
I experienced so much personal growth in such a concentrated amount of time that it’s hard to even put it into words. I did things I never would’ve thought I’d do. I surfed. (Again, black girl from Philadelphia. I don’t surf.) I drove an ATV (for 2 hours through the actual wilderness). I felt vibrations run through my body during a sound healing session (trippy). I became more self-aware of what I want and who I need to be to get it. I understand my place in the world a little more clearly.
Ultimately we travel for perspective. In eliminating the crutches we lean on to feel comfortable and safe, whether that be people or habits, we force ourselves to find our balance.