If you’re planning on going travelling, and even more so if you’re going to a slightly off-the-beaten-track destination like Costa Rica- be prepared for a lot of questions. It’s a big step out of most people’s (and your own) comfort zone, and they want to know all about the why’s and how’s. I got asked the same few questions quite frequently. Here’s what I said (and what I would say to those people now).
Why Costa Rica?
What I said: It’s like Thailand with fewer drunk Brits
What I wish I’d said: It’s got the most pristine beaches you could imagine, the best pineapple you’ll ever eat in your life, a volcano around every corner, Pura Vida is a way of life here, there is lush tropical rainforest all around you, it’s £1 for a litre of beer, there are pet dogs chilling everywhere, the weather is gorgeous… I could go on.
How can you afford it? Or, I wish I could afford that!
Or even worse, the passive aggressive ‘Must be nice to be able to afford that!’
What I said: Yeah, that’s why I have three jobs and no life I guess..
What I wish I’d said: Yes. It is nice to be able to afford it. I’m not rich. Literally anyone can do what I’m doing.
If you’re seriously looking for advice and not just looking to snark at me for investing my own time and money into my passion- it was a lot of hard work to save up for this trip. The main way I found helped me was 1) working three jobs and 2) arranging a deposit straight from my paycheck each month into a savings account, so I would never even see the money or have a chance to miss it. I also saved all my tips from work in a huge glass jar so I could see them mount up which was really motivating, and just changed them at the bank when it got full. I also just don’t have a huge amount of living expenses… I lived at home, didn’t go out drinking that much (and drinking 3/4 of a bottle of rum in pre-drinks goes a long way to saving you some moolah when you do hit Wind Street), and mostly just went climbing.
Why are you going on your own?
What I said: It’s hard to find anyone to come abroad with me for two months…
What I wish I’d said: I actually really like travelling alone. The other day, I realised every single decision that I have made in the last two months has been completely selfish, and it is a glorious feeling. I feel like when you travel with someone, you’re focussed more on each other than outwards, which can lead to missing out on experiences and invitations as people simply view you as more closed off and aren’t as likely to include you if they think you’re spoken for! I also really like my alone time, and prefer to have a place to myself to base myself in, and go out to find the party- rather than being in a hostel, or sharing a room with someone.
Aren’t you worried about the cartels?
What I said: Haha, I’m pretty sure that’s Colombia.
What I wish I’d said: Actually, the cartels are an up and coming problem in Costa Rica, as well as the usual tourist destination crime problems like theft and car break ins. In Santa Teresa, it’s not advisable to go onto the beach at night, as someone is robbed (often with a weapon there) on the weekly. Security is a big thing here, and most houses have bars over the windows and doors. However, I don’t want to put anyone off coming here- I wouldn’t walk the streets of London or even Swansea alone at night! It’s just about taking suitable precautions. I haven’t had any trouble here, and I feel super safe.
What are you going to do for two months?
What I said: I don’t know- go climbing, sit on a beach, swim in the ocean, drink beer in hot springs, do yoga in the sea, dance in Latin bars, hike up volcanos, get shitfaced on tequila, learn Spanish, try new food, work on my tan…
What I wish I’d said: I don’t know- go climbing, sit on a beach, swim in the ocean, drink beer in hot springs, do yoga in the sea, dance in Latin bars, hike up volcanos, get shitfaced on tequila, learn Spanish, try new food, work on my tan… decide I don’t want to come home and book some more flights!