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.



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

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