Posted by: Sarah | June 1, 2010

tameles y sol…la próxima aventura empieza

Why Central America? Beautiful beaches, adventure sports, cheap hostels? It’s so much more than that…

Each time that I have ventured abroad, whether to study in Paris during college or to work in Colombia after I graduated, I have had a nagging sense of impatience with my routine in the US.  A desire to expand my horizons, break out of my shell. A feeling that there was so much more out there that I needed to experience, to learn, to understand. A feeling that when I become too content with where I am, that place becomes stagnant, ceases to push me to grow.

The day that I have been dreading, the day that I never thought would come, has come, and I said good-bye to NYC this morning, after several tearful good-byes over the past week. Over and over, people have posed the question – if I am so sad to leave New York, why leave? Because staying in New York would be the easier option. Because I know that there is more out there for me to experience. I know that each time I have packed my bags before and leapt into something unknown, it has challenged me, made me grow, and taught me amazing things.  Because I know that if I don’t continue to push myself out of my comfort zone, I will miss out on so much.

Central America. 7 tiny countries located in the heart of the Western Hemisphere, between the Caribbean and the Pacific, North and South America. A region of the world with rich biodiversity, a mixture of Indigenous, European, and African heritages, a violent history, and complex ties to the United States. In short, many of the same characteristics that fascinated me about Colombia.

Spending a year in Colombia ultimately influenced my decision to pursue the graduate degree that I will begin this fall. Even as I was accepted to top programs in my field, I still felt that I needed more real-world experience in the region to draw upon when I delve into my studies in a few months. So here I am.

The plan? To plan as little as possible. While that level of spontaneity in another country may seem inconceivable to many, that is how I prefer my travels. One of the best experiences that I had in Colombia was during Christmas break when I set out for 4 weeks with a backpack, destined for Medellin, with a rough idea of other places that I wanted to see after that, but taking it one day at a time, periodically changing the route, staying as long or as short as I wanted to in various places.  I have a few checkpoints in place this summer: 2 weeks of Spanish classes in Xela, Guatemala to begin the summer, a date when I need to arrive in Belize to meet Michelle, another date when Elke arrives to Costa Rica, a flight from Panama back to the States. In between that, the goal of the summer is to immerse myself in the culture, share my impressions of the countries I visit, taste new foods, listen, learn, understand, and fill my passport with stamps, my mind with lasting memories.

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Responses

  1. Make sure you hit up Sakribal to perfect that subjontivo! Enjoy travels! Kerstin and I are both super jealous her in Germania.
    Felicitaciones!


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