Costa Rica

Guest Post: Leaving My Comfort Zone in Costa Rica

Today’s post is by our good “friend afar,” Emily! She recently traveled to Costa Rica for an anniversary trip with her husband. We’ve known Emily for over a decade now, so we loved hearing about how she faced her fears and the wonderful adventures she had in return.

For my 5th anniversary, my husband and I decided to take a big trip.  I am absolutely a read and relax on vacation kind of girl so when we settled on Costa Rica as the destination, I was a little terrified.  I knew the trip would be lots of hiking, sight-seeing, and adventure.  I decided early on to buck up and really enjoy the ride, and I made a promise to myself not to complain and to push myself to be uncomfortable.

We started our trip in gorgeous Arenal, and it was exactly as expected: crazy driving on dirt roads, 8+ miles a day of hiking, and hundreds of steps climbed.  By the time we reached Monte Verde and saw both a pit viper snake and a tarantula right beside our hiking trail, I knew I definitely wasn’t in my element any more!!  Still, I was proud of myself for taking it all in stride and really appreciating the sites and experiences that came with quite the workout.   I knew, however,  the true test of my resolve would come towards the end of the trip when we planned to take a zip line canopy tour.
Guest Post: Leaving My Comfort Zone in Costa Rica- Getting Ready- www.afriendafar.com #costarica

It only got higher from there!

I don’t think I can communicate enough how terrified of heights I am.  I get queasy even when driving near a cliff or drop off! We went to some hanging bridges at the beginning of the trip, and I had to dart as fast as I could across them to keep from panicking.  By the end of the 6 bridges I was doing a little better and able to take my time a little.
 Guest Post: Leaving My Comfort Zone in Costa Rica- Bridge- www.afriendafar.com #costarica

Hanging bridges may have broken me in a little at the start of the trip, but dangling by a cable for the mile long zip line didn’t sound like my idea of fun! My husband, however, was beyond thrilled! Standing around, in full gear waiting for instruction, I nervously chatted with my husband about how safe he though everything was.  Two guys nearby jumped in and assured me everything looked pretty good, except the hand breaking, which they had never done before.  Turns out this was their 3rd zip line trip, and they had done this before in Puerto Rico and Mexico.  It was great to get some tips from people with experience! Come to find out, one of the pair actually works at the same company as me in another office!  The world has honestly never felt so small!

For the entire experience, they stuck with us, encouraged me, and even used their Go Pro to video my trip down the mile long zip line.  It was amazing how meeting these strangers totally eclipsed my fear!  Hanging a mile above the earth, dangling from a wire was so invigorating!!  It was worth pushing through those terrifying moments in the beginning! It wasn’t an experience I will soon forget! I was so glad I had leaned into the fear instead of missing out, and I’m so grateful for my husband and new friends for encouraging me to be brave.

hot springs near Arenal: Guest Post: Leaving My Comfort Zone in Costa Rica- Tarantula- www.afriendafar.com #costarica

It was worth it for the chance to relax in these amazing hot springs near Arenal!

Traveling to new places can be scary.  There are language barriers, lack of street signs, and different customs and traditions to navigate.  If I hadn’t faced these fears, I wouldn’t have been able to relax in the hot springs in Arenal, summit above the Cloud Forest in Monte Verde, and see all the monkeys in Manuel Antonio.  Surround yourself with people who will cheer you on and maybe even buy that plane ticket with you.  Nothing is more rewarding that looking head on into those fears and leaping into adventure anyway.
Meagan grew up in the North Georgia Mountains and spent her first trip abroad in Italy. She’s been traveling all over the world ever since, learning Spanish, Japanese, and Thai. She travels for the food, the culture, and the history.