Whitewater rafting was truly one of the greatest experiences while on the trip, and that’s saying a lot considering all of the other adventures the Costa Crew has been on. I was nervous at first just thinking about it, I knew how fast the rapids could get and how easy it is for someone to slip out of the raft, and I had no idea what to expect, so I expected the worst. When we got there, the guide who explained it to us was very light hearted and constantly making jokes, and soon after I was put in his group, and I felt much more comfortable since he was very open with us and making us laugh all the time. I still didn’t feel completely confident, and during the first few rapids all I could do was scream and hold onto the raft as tight as I could, and for a good amount of time, all that was running through my head was “THIS IS SO INTENSE!”. But it got better, and after a few more rapids and many more times crashing into rocks, it got easier and more fun for me, and I was all smiles from there. In fact, I got so comfortable with it that I volunteered to sit in the front of the raft for the rest of the time, and I ended up getting soaked because I was the one getting hit with the big waves and competitive splashes from people in the other rafts. Of course the waters and rocks got really rough at times, but for me it only made it more exciting. I enjoyed my last few moments absorbing the beauty of Costa Rica very much. Overall, whitewater rafting is definitely one of my favorite experiences while on this trip, and it was great way to wrap up our adventures with the Costa Crew before our journey back home.
Trip Reflection: Paying My Way
When I first heard about Reagan having another opportunity to travel, I was filled with excitement because I have been wanting to explore the world for a long time. Knowing that this was a foreign trip, I knew that I had to work for it; I did not expect my mom to pay for the entire trip because she had bills and expenses of her own. I saved up enough money over the summer by working at McDonald’s for the down payment and the first couple of months of payments. I then started my paid internship at a hospital which supported me a lot with this trip. I did however, not forget that my education was important. I had to make sure that I kept my grades up while working. When telling people that I was working two jobs while going to school, I would usually receive comments such as “don’t stress yourself out” and “you’re crazy”. I am blessed to be given opportunities to work at such an early age. This allowed me to be able to pay for the entire trip by myself while having enough spending money. By working two jobs while focusing on being a full time student, I was able to travel to Costa Rica and Panama for a great summer vacation and learning experience.
Trip Reflection: The Best Tour Guide
Irene, our tour guide, has been in my eyes an excellent guide whom I’ve come to admire in the short time that I’ve known her. During our tours and even bus rides she has given myself and the other students loads information that will stick with us when we go back home and be able to apply it to our daily life and to our projects. History of both Panama and Costa Rica has been explained and even agricultural/environmental information. Not only the information that is given but the way it’s given I think is what helps me retain and be so intrigued. She speaks of these countries with such passion and interest that it made me want to listen even more. I’ve noticed that she talks about her country with such pride and I can connect that to my culture and the people of Puerto Rico because we’re very proud to be from our country that we have our flag literally everywhere. I do love my culture and where my family is from but listening to Irene talk about her country makes me come to the realization that I don’t know as much about my country as I’d like and it makes want to study my country more. I also love that in some way shape or form she answers all of our questions, like today on one of our bus rides there were so many questions being asked by multiple students and Irene was able to answer every single one with a valid response. I’ve had the opportunity to have tour guides for short periods of time like at museums and none of them come even close to Irene. I absolutely love the impact that she’s made on this trip so Irene if you ever get the chance to read this just know that I want to say thank you, we really appreciate you, and you’ve been one of the best parts of my trip.
Trip Reflection: Desire to Know More
On this adventure, we spend a boat load of time on research and analyzing data. Furthermore, the costa crew has gained knowledge in newfound ways. For example, the standard way of learning is to sit in a classroom and focus on certain subjects like English, math, science, social studies, etc. The way school systems are set up in the United States do not alway teach us life lessons. We never acquire how to do our taxes or how to be a good contributor to society. Contradicting, we are taught to rank our knowledge on a grade. Sitting in a classroom is not everyone’s preferred or best way to learn. Moreover, it is not factual that grades equal the certain amount of knowledge a person inquires. Consequently, the Costa Crew has learned and acquired new knowledge by taking the trip of a lifetime. We emerged in our surroundings and took in the culture surrounding us. The culture contrasts from Milwaukee but we all have adapted to love Costa Rica and Panama. The food, people, language, social standards, politics, art are all so very different from what the Costa Crew is used to but that has only inspired us to learn more. In ten days, several life lessons have been taught. For example, some parts of the crew do not speak an inch of Spanish and had to communicate with Spanish speakers. The portion of people connected with the people with limited verbal communication. We were taught to just let nature be and let nature, be nature. We have been taught to be curious and ask questions. The Costa Crew learned traveling is more than just being a tourist. Traveling is seeking to understand and connect with the people who live there. Traveling is trying food that you aren’t use to. Traveling is emerging yourself into the native language. Traveling is studying the art and listening to the music. Traveling is discovering and researching. Traveling is new adventures with new friends. The Costa Crew learned “To be a traveler, not a tourist.”