The following post is my entry for a two-week trip to Costa Rica contest sponsored by Nomadic Matt and Gap Adventures. This post is meant to explain why I want this trip and what I hope to get out of it. Check out the contest here.
There are many moments in life when you know a change is needed, but the course of action is unclear. School, work, relationships: this situation crops up again and again, but a suitable resolution often remains just out of reach. Without a little courage and a dash of serendipity, it’s how we end up with useless degrees, unfulfilling jobs, and dead-end relationships. And a great big stash of regret down the road.
There are fewer times when a change is needed and the answer stands so clearly before you.
Imagine a writer driven by creativity and exploration who is almost seven years deep in a career that doesn’t exercise these desires. Consider that this writer never really made a career choice after college, but rather took the first job that accepted him. The company, people, and pay are fantastic. But his spirit is unwell. Imagine that this writer has found the antidote, that it involves a difficult decision, a drastic change of course, and a healthy dose of risk. Know that the cure is still many months in the future.
A basic need to understand what is personally important exists in us all. Our culture provides a default definition; in the USA, I’d argue that wealth is often a prime motivator. I spent many years not devoting any time to figuring this out. I was on auto-pilot. It took me some time (and a little help) to learn that I value knowledge of self, understanding of cultures, and appreciation of the natural world above money. Travel is simply the process, but what an easy process to love.
This trip would bridge the gap and provide a taste of what I have planned for the future. In the past, I’ve usually had my wife with me as a travel companion, but I’m now planning trips around the world on my own. It would be a bald-faced lie to say I’m not anxious about it. Being part of a Gap Adventures tour on my first solo trip in many years would give me the confidence to proceed with my plans.
I’ve recently posted about latent guilt related to the impact of travel on the environment, and I would take this trip as an opportunity to learn how I can apply eco-tourism and sustainability practices to future trips and my daily life. Green travel is a topic I’d like to cover in more depth in the future, to share the information with others so the practice can shift from a style of travel to simply how we travel.
I started this blog two months ago as the first step on a new path, and I’ve found the process of blogging to be a fantastic expression of creativity and a wonderful way to meet new people. I would cherish the chance to showcase my writing to a broader audience while on this trip. I feel that I have an ability to tie everyday experiences to broader themes that many people can relate to.
Some call it fate or ka or nothing at all, but there are moments when an opportunity arises that must not be missed. I almost chose not to enter this contest; it’s what I would have done in the past. But its arrival in the midst of this conjunction of events is meaningful. And meaning is what I seek.
Original photo by limaoscarjuliet via Flickr under Creative Commons