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Reflections on Costa Rica

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Reflections on Costa Rica


Yesterday I wrote that I do not really like Costa Rica too much. Perhaps today I need to reevaluate these feelings. I do not think that I previously spent enough time in Costa Rica to have any solid impression about the country. I went there two years ago to meet up with Erik the Pilot. I did not even go the the beach. I do not know how I managed to travel in Costa Rica without ending up on a single beach. From looking at a map this seems to be a geographic impossibility. But somehow we managed. Odd trails,I suppose. Erik the Pilot and I grew up together, our hallmark is perhaps that we somehow manage to do everything the in our own way, for better or worse it always seems to be more fun this way.

So now I return to Costa Rica open to a new experience of the country. Mira lived there for a year previous to meeting me, and she loves it.

Hey, it looks beautiful in photographs.

I think the longer one stays in a place the better their odds are of liking it. . . and hating it. I love China, it is my favorite country on this planet, but I also hate it to the very depths of my being. In point, I have traveled and lived in China for a long time. I think these extremely conflicting feelings are normal if you stay somewhere long enough. Simply put, you learn what to love and what to despise. I do not know if I could really fall in love with a place that I also did not find repulsive. The grunge, grit, smog, and hassles of a place are oftentimes much of its charm.

The longer I stay in place the more my preconceived notions- my romantic visions- about it wither away into the wind. But this also means that I am able to begin experiencing what is really there. Bare, honest, ugly experience is perhaps the most of vivid romantic visions. I try to take the world as it is, as it is more wonderful that way. Reality is perhaps the most romantic adventure there is.

So I go to Costa Rica to experience Costa Rica . . . and I expect nothing more.

Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
Mexico City, Mexico
January 20, 2008

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Filed under: Central America, Costa Rica, Mexico

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Polis, Republic of CyprusMap