The Long Way Home

Everyone’s reason for traveling is personal, but sometimes it’s hard to determine the authenticity of the passion, or whether we’re just obsessed with a more elite version of stamp collecting. The fixation of country counting, bucket list ticking, and global selfies can be perceived, simply, as obnoxious bragging. Travelers can be heard boasting about having “done” so many countries in X amount of time, as if the country was at their disposal to be consumed. Newsflash: it isn’t.

Passport | ©jaaronfarr/Flickr
Passport | ©jaaronfarr/Flickr

The gap year was first approached in the 1960’s, when freedom of speech and independence was at the forefront of the revolution. It was seen as a mechanism that would forge peaceful relations between nations through global education and cultural sensitivity.  During a gap year, students would study abroad in a different country while immersing themselves in a new culture. The experience completely removed participants from everything they knew, as there were no devices to stay connected to their home countries.

Without a travel blogger to list the expectations, a method for communicating with anyone from home, or a way to instantly share experiences with everyone else, how many of us would take on the role of Dora the Explorer? I doubt many, including myself. I’m grateful for the upfront information on the countries I’ll be visiting, but I’m in no rush to move through them once I’m there.

Bragging about the amount of places visited in such a short amount of time only proves a lack of experience on the part of the visitor. I’ve been in Costa Rica for six months, and there’s still so much I haven’t seen (though I admit I’m looking forward to moving about again). It’s given me time to observe the culture (and the grotesque amount of gentrification), learn secret corners, meet interesting souls, and continuously fall in love with the abundance of nature.

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However, it’s also given me time to realize that although I can appreciate its pace, Costa Rica is a place I’d love to revisit, and never want to settle. Because at the end of all my travels, as many incredible sights as I see, global celebrations I take part in, and adventures that find me, I’m looking for people to touch me, and a spirit that calls me home. And if I never find it, I’ll keep wandering, leaving pieces of my heart, and creating entries as I go ❤

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