Hey anyone who still follows and/or finds this blog! First of all, thank you so much for your interest and willingness to invest your time in something I’ve created. I can’t express how much it means to me to know total strangers on the internet are interested in the things I have to say and the adventures I have the pleasure and privilege of getting to live out.
For those of you that follow this blog, you’ve probably noticed that it’s been forever since I last posted. This is due in large part to the fact that I was finishing up me senior year of university and my free time to travel, and more so write about travel, was greatly limited. However, I’m now graduated! Yay for me! Instead of getting a real person job, I worked multiple jobs this past year to try to save up as much money as I could to go on a summer road trip across the United States. So far I’m about a month in and have made it from Iowa to Oregon. Tomorrow, I will be meeting a friend from my year abroad in Switzerland and then over the course of 10 days, we’re aiming to drive cross country to Maine.
I’ve been on the road long enough to know by now that my access to wifi and even a charging port for my computer are quite limited. I can’t promise regular stories. I can’t promise timely stories. But I do promise stories, and I promise pretty photographs.
For anyone interested in continuing to follow my journey, you can stay updated under my new address lookingfortherethere. You can also follow me with this same name on Instagram where I post more timely photos for anyone wanting to stay more immediately up to date and/or see more photos of my travel. And truly, thank you so much for your interest. I wish you all well on your own travels, whether they be personal and physical or vicarious readings!
When I was in Switzerland, I met a Swiss girl through another exchangiee friend. She wasn’t one of my classmates, but she ate lunch with us often and we got to know each other over the months. She quickly became one of my nearest and dearest friends and I credit her with whatever success I had with French while abroad. We spoke at length about many things: personal lives, family problems, cultural differences, peanut butter, Charlie the dog that would eat literally everything except for the lemon cookies of the French recipe gone wrong, and all the while she was patient and understanding with my French, creating a comfort zone where I could practice freely and actually improve.
I’ve gone back to Switzerland to visit twice now, once before I started my semester in Denmark, and then again briefly in the summer to go paragliding and watch my old class graduate. Each trip I’ve stayed with her and her mom and they’ve created such a home atmosphere for me at her house that I feel more comfortable there than I do in my dad’s current house. Her home became for me that home away from home that people always talk about finding and study abroad brochures make such a point of advertising. Needless to say, I’m endlessly grateful for this friend and the amazing influence she has had on my life. So, when the chance came to return the favor, I was both excited and anxious. Continue reading
Last night, I was on my way to a friend’s uncle’s house that we were dog-sitting at for the weekend. It’s a close drive from campus and a place we’d stayed at numerous times before. That is to say, it’s familiar; we know it, we know the area, we’re comfortable (relatively, it is still a bachelor’s pad after all). I was leaving a friend’s performance at school, on my way to meet the friend who was just leaving work, when I decided to stop at a gas station on the way to clean some of the winter salt off the windshield. During all this time, being the busy college student that I am, I was talking on the phone with my brother and catching up about his latest girl crush. As I’m squeegee-ing off the first half of the windshield, hearing about how this girl’s favorite color is green and she’s interested in traveling, the guy on the other side of the pump looks over and asks if I’m “Ready to go?”
So it’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything, and that stems mostly from a very busy schedule and a list of priorities that don’t include blogging. However, they fortunately still include traveling.
Since my last post, I’ve finished out my semester in Costa Rica with some crazy last hurrahs, including a visit from a college and questionable tattoo artist; I’ve returned to the states, only to leave again for Canada (just for a night); an old friend from Switzerland came and visited me and I made my best efforts to show her around as much of my New England as I could; I’ve gone winter hiking, fed seagulls in the winter, taken care of mundane real life things like dentist appointments and bank accounts; I’ve flown to Colorado, driven across Nebraska, stayed in a town of 40-something people in Missouri, and have finally arrived back in Iowa to readjust back to “normal” academic life at university. It’s been a world-wind (in more than one sense of the word) but I’m finally a bit settled and am hoping to finally get on somewhat consistent schedule and share some of my travel stories from the last year, including the forever ago summer European travels and more localized traveling around the USA.
I hope you’re excited about what’s to come because I’m excited to share my stories (and my pictures)!
Volcan Arenal has to be one my more favorite places in Costa Rica so far. I recently went there, along with Monteverde, as one of my program excursions. Although traveling in a large group can be annoying and certainly creates a more touristy vibe, this was one trip I was ok with being a tourist.
We left San Jose Friday early afternoon for a very long, very bumpy bus ride up to Volcan Arenal. For those of the faint of stomach, take precautions because although I’m not typically easily carsick, my stomach was rolling the last couple of hours of this trip. That being said, the views are amazing.
This past week has been an interesting one, largely in part to the fact that my computer decided to break. For anyone who has ever had broken technology abroad, you might know that is sucks. For those that are fortunate to have never experienced it, know that it sucks. Continue reading
Yesterday I made my first trip to Walmart since being in Costa Rica. The purpose was to pick up registration stuff for today’s race, which I’ll go to in a minute, but I couldn’t resist going in and buying a few items. Unfortunately, Walmarts do not maintain their budget low prices here, although apparently it is the best option to get things like shampoo and conditioner (which still aren’t cheap). Fortunately, they operate like little Coscos here with free samples all around. In just five minutes, I was greeted with a sample of beer, given a mini cone of granola/cereal, got two mini cookies, and a cup of tea, with honey. If that’s not fancy I don’t know what is. Continue reading
When I first studied abroad, there was a man named Allen at orientation who told my group about the emotional roller coaster of studying abroad. He used a marker to draw a graph on the white board behind him, exaggerating (?) and simplifying the ups and downs that were to come in the following year. There was a slight dip when we first got there and all our doubts and insecurities rushed at us, but then as we got our footing, the line soared up to a sweet high as we embraced independence and all the new culture around us. The next low would come as the newness began to fade and reality set in, and there would be a deep low around the holidays. It seemed a bit dramatic and also amusing to see Allen’s arm swoop up and down across the board, summarizing our exchange year, all our crazy experiences and lessons to come, into this simple chart of ups and downs, but looking back, it’s the most accurate way I know to describe exchange.
Ok, so I’m a bit late in publishing this, but this post reminded me that I hadn’t finished my bucket list for Costa Rica yet.I find them to be really helpful in keeping me in track in case I ever get to a point where I feel bored with a country, or overwhelmed. They’re just a good outline to make sure I come away from my trip having down things. So, without further ado, here is my bucket list for Costa Rica:
To give more info on Rocking J’s since it’s such a hotspot among travelers and my blog is catered to travelers, the atmosphere and general layout is definitely makes it stand out from any other hostel I’ve been in. There is art all around the encampment, made by the travelers passing through, serving as a representation of their countries, their thoughts, and as a physical reminder of what we leave behind as we travel.