Traveling: Will It Make or Break You?

~Relationships are funny. You gain some and you lose some. Lessons are learned and hearts are broken. Travelling is a huge test when it comes to relationships and putting the two together can be either a wonderful practice or a deadly concoction.

If you have read my blog recently you may have noticed that I am going through a very painful break-up which makes it incredibly hard to write about the trip I just experienced with my ex two months ago. It really is true what they say: Traveling will make or break you.

Learning about someone in a relationship is exciting at times, but when you realize something is not quite right in that person’s actions towards you, it can be hard to understand where that person is coming from. This is exactly what happened to me. All I can say is that a distance grew between us and I don’t really understand why. Distractions caused me to feel invisible and ignored. Once we had returned from our trip the distance grew so strong that we ended up further apart than ever.

So I guess traveling broke us.

In any case, I find this to be true in friendships as well. Maybe it’s because there are shades of colors you can never see in a person unless you travel far away from home. Maybe it’s because traveling changes you. Whatever the reason may be, I believe it’s a blessing in disguise. Everything happens for a reason.

Going outside of your comfort zone can be a challenging decision. Stepping outside that zone with another person; well that’s a whole other story.

I lost a very special friendship while I was traveling through South East Asia. I had planned to meet up with an old friend in Thailand who I had known for years. I jumped on a plane and flew from Singapore to meet him. Once I arrived in Bangkok, we met up and had some fun in the city before venturing out to an Island called Ko Samet. My birthday was right around the corner and I was excited to celebrate.

But something happened during that trip that I will never understand. Everything seemed fine when we arrived but after a night of drinking and words, our friendship went sideways. Again, a distance suddenly grew between us and I started to notice a strong wall being built up inside my friend.

That evening I celebrated my birthday without him and danced around with some locals instead. If you’re interested in the details of how that night you can read my post: Stories of a Solo TravelerIn the end, the trip was a bit of a disaster. We left the island without speaking a word to one another and I sat on the bus back to Bangkok all by myself. I felt horrible.

Once arriving back in Bangkok I confronted my ex-friend about his actions towards me. He left me at the bus station that day and three days later he boarded a plane and flew back to Canada. I haven’t spoken to him in almost ten years now. Travelling seemed to have broken him and our friendship.

And that’s how fast it can happen.

Maybe it was something I said. It could have been something he felt and I didn’t. In my current situation, it was clearly something I felt and he did not. Now we are just strangers with a bunch of pictures of us from another country. Memories that were supposed to be happy but now just cause pain.

In both cases, I have felt totally abandoned by people who I thought cared about me.

I’m not going to lie, it hurts… a lot! But you can’t stop the changes that happen to someone else when you travel. Going somewhere else in the world is a life-changing experience. People’s true colors shine through and the universe either brings you together or it tears you apart.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also had some amazingly happy trips with other people in my life. My best girlfriend and I have traveled down to Mexico a few times and everything turned out great for us. It all depends on the people, the timing and the situations you put yourselves into.

You can’t stop change. You can’t force change.

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It is true what they say: Traveling will make or break you.

Luckily, I know how to put myself back together 🙂

 

From Montezuma to Turtle Island- A ‘MUST DO’ Day Trip!

~Montezuma is a glorious little fishing town on the Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera gives you your first glimpse at the beauty of this area and from Paquera, it’s about a 25-minute drive to Montezuma. Unless you’re taking the local bus, then it takes a lot longer.

The town is a mixture of locals and backpackers who travel from all over the world to see the incredible beaches, waterfalls, and rivers that envelop Montezuma. The village hosts mainly accommodations, restaurants and tourist shops because of the high volume of Eco-tourists who visit.

On a hike through the surrounding forest to one of the waterfalls, we ran into some squeaky little Capuchin monkeys jumping around in the trees. One of the monkeys came pretty close to us to show us his teeth and make it known that it was his home we were parading through. The little guy was adorable, but I kept my distance once he started showing his tiny fangs. They may be cute but I wouldn’t want to mess with any of them.

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The Must-Do day trip to Turtle Island, aka Isla Tortuga en Español, is an adventure you will never forget. With astonishing views of the Pacific Ocean and the Nicoya Peninsula, this trip does not disappoint. Most of the tours that go out to Turtle Island include snorkeling, scuba diving, a delicious lunch and great company from local tour guides and fellow travelers. It’s a pretty bumpy 45 minute boat ride to paradise but well worth it. If you are lucky enough to come across the ocean life that dwell around the area you may also meet sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays and whales as well. Once you arrive at the volcanic rock reef for your underwater excursions, you will discover a handful of colorful fish and tropical wonders under the waves near the island.

The island itself is absolutely pristine with tall palm trees, a white sandy shore, and serene blue water. Since the island is surrounded by volcanic rock formations, the water is so calm you can relax in the warm ocean as you take in the scenery without having to worry about large waves or riptides pulling you away. There’s something about water when it’s at a standstill that soothes you into a tranquil state.

The crew took our group snorkeling around a small rocky island where we spotted bright blue and yellow fish. There were also orange and white striped clown fish as well that looked exactly like Nemo!

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We were served fresh coconut and pineapple all day long and the sun was incredibly hot I must have slathered on a few layers of sunscreen before the day was over. Then a big lunch of chicken, fried potatoes and rice filled our bellies as we basked in the cool shade of the sky-high palm trees.

I would’ve stayed there forever and a day if I could…

A journey to remember 🙂

Remembering Costa Rica xo

~Costa Rica was an amazing country to visit. Not only is this country very beautiful in its own unique way but it’s also very diverse. This Central American beauty, officially known as the Republic of Costa Rica, is enriched with culture and independence. There is a wonderful mix of lush green jungle, gorgeous beaches, and rustic landscapes.

Ecotourism plays a big role in the rapid development of society. From long hikes through the rainforest to snorkeling adventures through a coral reef, you can really experience a lot of fun stuff on a trip to Costa Rica. We were lucky enough to have had close encounters with the rich wildlife including Turtles, Iguanas, Geckos, Capuchin monkeys and Howler monkeys, which sound like dying donkeys if you were wondering where they got their name from. 🙂

My boyfriend and I decided to keep ourselves situated on the Pacific Coast. We had limited time to see everything we wanted to see and then work our two weeks at a Turtle Conservation in the middle of the trip. We booked our rooms through Air B&B, which turned out to be an interesting experience in itself.

Our first stop was in Alajuela, which is the third-largest city in Costa Rica after San José and Desamparados. We stayed there for 2 days to get our barrings straight and rest up post-flight. I noticed immediately that the city life had adopted American culture. There were a lot of billboards and signs in English, American music playing in the stores and American products for sale everywhere. Sometimes when purchasing items, the currency is quoted in American dollars as well, especially when you’re a tourist. If you are speaking English with a local and don’t understand the Costa Rican colón, you will be given the figure in American dollars. Taking out Canadian dollars from a bank machine down there turned out to be pretty expensive since it was converted to American dollars first.

IMG_20160210_154310Roaming around near the city mall you can find cows IMG_20160210_155807or horses drinking out of various things like fridges even when you’re staying close to the airport. We stayed in a little hotel 10 minutes away from where we landed. We were so close that we could hear the planes taking off all day.

From there we decided to leave the city and go down to Montezuma, which is located at the South Western tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. It just so happened that our Slovenian neighbors who had arrived on our second night in Alajuela, were driving in that same direction so we ended up catching a ride with them. 

Now, driving in Costa Rica is slightly terrifying, to say the least. The roads are incredibly rough in a lot of different areas and people don’t tend to follow the basic rules of the road. There are no blinkers to warn you what drivers are about to do and when passing another vehicle, it doesn’t matter if you have the right of way. I was pretty much white-knuckling the edge of my seat the whole time. It’s amazing how your heart drops into your chest when your seconds away from a head-on collision; and that’s just the norm there.

The countryside was a mix of farms and hills full of trees. Everywhere you look you can spot many different colorful birds flying around. Once we arrived in Puntarenas, we had a long 2-hour wait for the ferry. It was extremely windy and if you had a hat on you had to hang on to it as tight as you could. We sat at a little restaurant eating Ceviche and drinking Imperial beers while watching the hustle and bustle of the passengers getting ready to board the ferry. Finally, once the ferry arrived it quickly went from this:

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in no time at all. It was actually quite exciting to watch as the dock workers pulled the long chains manually bit by bit. Two big men reeling as hard as they could to lift and lower the dock to level it for the oncoming boat.  Once the cars were cleared, we boarded the ferry. Only one person is allowed to drive the vehicle on board. Everyone else must walk on for some reason.

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Montezuma was awaiting us on the other side and I was giddy like a child crossing over. There were huge Pelicans everywhere that would dive bomb head first into the ocean, snapping at the fish below the surface. The water was dark blue and the islands that surrounded us as the boat crossed the peninsula, were flourishing with green leaves and long high palms waving in the sun.

What do you think? Travel Tuesdays?

I like the sound of that 🙂 I’ll schedule my Montezuma story for next week!