Anchor dropped, expedition underway. Greetings from Costa Rica.

From 35,000 feet, I find it nearly troublesome to distinguish fantasy from reality.

It’s as if the ground ceases to exist, and the only landforms at hand are those of the clouds beneath the wings of the plane.

I catch my mind wandering much farther in the air than on the ground.

And apart from the fantastic views, my favorite thing about flying is that state of reverie that comes along.

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Avianca Airlines. Sky view over the ocean around 4 pm, at an altitude of 34,991 feet.  Destination–Costa Rica

Especially when travelling internationally, there’s plenty of time to revel in it. My flight from Chicago to San Jose was about six hours long with a small layover in El Salvador.

And with that being said, here’s a little shoutout to those following my blog for updates and commentary on my trip to Costa Rica. I’m pleased to announce that all is well and I have made it safe and sound!!

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A photo of me at Chicago O’Hare International airport, just before boarding. My first international flight, and first solo expedition!

Upon arrival at the San Jose airport around 9:30 pm on Saturday, I was greeted by a member of Maximo Nivel, the organization I’d chosen to volunteer with, along with another solo traveler.

The weather in San Jose that night was fantastic. We drove through the city with the windows down, Latin music on the radio, warm air, cool breeze.

I think that’s when it finally sunk in that I had made it. I was overwhelmed with this calm sort of excitement, a joyful wave that rose from my chest and tickled my arms and legs, giving me goosebumps, yet making me warm inside.  I don’t know how else to describe what I felt, but it was such a beautiful moment for me.

It hardly felt real.

From the airport, I was taken to stay with a host family for one night, and picked up the next morning for transport to the Tracopa bus station in San Jose, where I was to depart for my project in Quepos.

Everything went incredibly smoothly. The entire process was planned and organized by Maximo, and the costs already covered by my program. They handed me a folder with all the information necessary for my arrival at the project, and took care of my bus ticket. It was fantastic.

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View of the mountains from the Tracopa bus terminal in San Jose, taken with my iPhone a few minutes before departure to Quepos.

On my way to the bus terminal, I couldn’t keep my eyes from the window.

Of course, because it was all new scenery, but since it was dark when I arrived the evening prior, I couldn’t see much of the landscape, so that morning was my first real impression of San Jose.

And from what I saw, San Jose is unlike all other cities I’ve seen. Not overspread with towering buildings or electric lights, but with colorful little houses and grocery stores, windy roads and flickering street lamps.

And while don’t have say much about the city itself, I can tell you one thing…

The mountainous terrain is really something to marvel at.

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A sleepy pup at the bus station. One of many stray dogs here in Costa Rica.

The bus trip from San Jose to Quepos is about three hours long, with a rest break midway, for toilets and snacks.

We drove right through the mountains, so I got to see even more beauty on the ride.

It was around noon when we arrived at the station in Quepos. I met my host mom and dad for the first time, calling my name.

I spent my first day with them at the house and met many family members and friends. Before dinner we walked to the boardwalk for sunset (below) and I was shown the ocean view for the first time.

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View of the ocean from the boardwalk, steps my home in Quepos. My friend and I visit here every night to watch the sunset over the water. My favorite part of the daily routine.

By now I have completed my first week here and started my volunteer assignment at a school. I work alongside a few others, assisting teachers with the care and supervision. All of the children in my particular school all under the age of six and they are the most adorable little people I have ever met.

Further details on my first week in Costa Rica and volunteer experiences will surely be in my next post along with more pictures.

For now, just know that I am having a fantastic time! Also, I am incredibly busy, so I cannot predict the time of my next post, but you will hear from me again!

Much gratitude to my people back home who helped in funding my journey, and for every bit of moral support I have received. Both have been of intrinsic value.

Thank you for reading. I love and miss you all.

Pura vida.

-Amanda


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