Click. I hung up the phone with Delta. Thirty-five thousand sky miles, all earned as a management consultant exchanged for a round trip ticket to San Jose, Costa Rica. This time – no assignment; my travel was personal and with purpose.
Turning back was no longer an option. The travel sabbatical I talked about for years was set in motion, and all I needed to do now… tell my boss, girlfriend, friends, and family. Easy. Yes, all very simple, or so I told myself.
At the time, autumn 2004, the idea was not new. When people asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I told them, “Travel.” Even my laptop login password referenced my next adventure. A full year off, well, I had dreamed of the trip for years.
I dreamed of touching the soil and sand of new countries and continents. I had dreamed of surfing distant oceans, and dreamed of all the new colorful cultures I was set to explore on the road. I dreamed. But then, just over five years ago, that dream became reality. A cool November morning with Bush celebrating a second term, I left the country.
For nearly seven weeks I traveled through Costa Rica. I learned enough Spanish to secure a position in Mexico City years later; I surfed enough sessions to retire my long board and carve waves on a 6’8’’. I witnessed lava flow down Mount Arenal, soaked in natural hot springs, zip-lined thru the jungle, understood (and enjoyed) eco-tourism, paddled a kayak to a remote waterfall, took on class 5 river rapids and toasted my Imperial (local beer) to amazing sunsets. I truly began to understand the ‘pura vida!’ mantra. Yes Sir, I lived.
Costa Rica catapulted me into an extended sabbatical that covered three continents, fifteen countries and nearly a year of my life. Plus, I recently learned I am not alone with that origin. Nomadic Matt started his life changing journey with a trip to the same Central American country. And when I read he started a contest to give away a trip to Costa Rica I thought; enter.
So why return to Costa Rica?
Did you just read how Costa Rica kicked off one of the best years of my life? Did you take note of the potential adventures that await a return visit? Don’t you think I’d want to return? Answer: Yes
OK, why else?
I recently discovered Gap Adventures. Yes, we share ‘adventure’ in our brand, but as I learn more about the company’s mission, tours, and its employees (New York Office), I’d welcome the opportunity to travel with them. And if you win, your tour is through Gap Adventures.
Any other reason?
Yes, many. But perhaps most importantly – I’d like to spread the word. Many people, including many of my readers, desire change in their life and for those that seek adventure, this is a great contest to enter, and a great country to visit. A trip such as this might just push you forward to making bigger changes in your life. It did for me and apparently it did for Matt too. Buen Suerte. (That’s good luck in Spanish – you’ll learn)
Stay adventurous, Craig