Familiarity can be the breeding ground for complacency. The repetition of a morning’s commute is a mind-numbing experience as we become underwhelmed by the sameness of each passing moment. The redundancy of the route makes us blind to subtle changes and the little hidden pearls that are always present. The shackles of life’s endless rerun are not difficult to escape given the opportunity to break from work. It is the monotony of daily life that fuels the wanderlust that I feel down to my bones.
At 1:00 a.m., June 20, 2015 Tamy and I left the comforts of home for the airport to begin our tenth excursion to Costa Rica. As with a few prior trips to Central America, we were chaperones to fourteen high school students who would be doing research with leaf-cutter ants. Much like the 2014 trip, the students were everything a chaperone could wish for. Polite, committed and adventurous, each one of my charges became wonderful travel companions. While much of our time was devoted to making their experience a positive one, we managed to steal minutes throughout the days to pursue our passion for nature and photography.
Adventure and international travel is a transformative experience. Rather than residing in some miniature recreation of home or a pseudo-utopian vacationland, eco-travelers revel in the realness of a place where non-humans freely interact with the humans in their landscape. Such experiences are a hard break from the “Groundhog Day” we relive in our working lives, and it is times like this when adults can play and begin to hunt for the gems that are hidden in plain sight.
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