I talked about wanting to be more fearless in 2016 in one of my very first posts this year, here. I want to live boldly, expand my comfort zone, try new things, and make the most of life. I want to see the world, and if it means going solo, then so be it. I’ve already accomplished and done so much as a single gal so far, why not add travel to the list? We can’t get back any of the days we’ve already lived; I’m not the kind of girl that sits around patiently (or sits around at all) waiting for the perfect opportunity. I’m the kind of woman that creates her own opportunity and goes after it.
If you’re thinking “Is it safe to travel solo as a woman?” you’re not alone. Plenty of people asked me this prior to my trip. And I gave them all the side eye when they did (I didn’t tell anyone about my trip until after the flight was booked. I didn’t want to risk anyone talking me out of it or saying something that would make me second guess it). I’m one of the most risk adverse people there are. Shit could happen anywhere; and I don’t plan on living my life in a bubble. So going to Costa Rica was outside of my comfort zone, but definitely not unsafe by any means (in my honest opinion). It was the adventure, escape, and relaxation that I needed. I would go back in a heartbeat.
There are many articles on solo travel and female solo travel. I read a lot of them before venturing out on my own. I continue to read them, because I know I want to do it again. You can check out the latest article I’ve read from Thought Catalog, here. I don’t expect people to understand my wanderlust spirit and that I truly wanted to do this on my own. I didn’t go to Costa Rica by myself because I had no one to ask. I could have asked plenty of people, but I didn’t want to.
I flew into San Jose on a Friday and took transportation to the Pacific Coast, about 1.5 hours west of the city. It was probably the safest taxi I’ve ever been in. They drive really slow in Costa Rica. The speed limit said “max 80 kph” but no one was going even close to that. It was the opposite of what I expected.
The weather was perfect the entire time I was there. It’s about 85-90 degrees this time of year and it’s in the middle of their dry season. EVERYTHING is brown, except where people have sprinklers. But it is also humid there, kinda like NC summers. I was dying every morning on my run. I spent most of my time reading and sitting on the beach. I loved Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance. It’s an amazing funny analysis of today’s dating scene and how online dating has impacted how the world dates and interacts now.
It was great to get away. What I love about traveling outside the U.S. is that people can’t really contact you. And if they do, it’s a perfect excuse to not respond. I talked to the people I wanted to and checked in with my parents so they knew I was still alive, but other than that, I dropped off of the map. It was fabulous.
My plan was to NOT plan anything to do for this trip, which is the opposite of every other vacation I’ve ever been on. I knew I wanted to relax and if I started planning anything, the entire trip would be filled with stuff. But after sitting and “relaxing” half of Friday and all day Saturday I couldn’t sit and relax another day in a row. So I spontaneously booked a waterfall hike for the next afternoon.
The waterfall hike was just what I needed….but not what I expected it to be. Me and two other girls were on the hike. We rode up the mountain in a van on a single lane dirt road where the switch backs were so steep and tight that you couldn’t make the turn in one fail swoop. We had to turn halfway, back up, and then finish the turn….but at least we weren’t on ATVs like some people were. We arrived at the waterfalls after a 45 minute ride up the mountain. There were two waterfalls on the hike. At the first waterfall, the other girls went swimming in it, but I wasn’t sure about the water and what was in it. To be honest, I thought I wasn’t going to get wet at all, even though we were told to wear our bathing suits.
We walked down a path in the woods to the other waterfall. It was a series of 4-5 waterfalls we could see along the path. At the bottom the guide indicated that the best way to see them all was going to be by climbing up the rocks back to where we came from. I pretty much gave him my WTF face, but I wasn’t about to be the party pooper. I came for an adventure and I was going to get what asked for, even if it was more than I expected.
The climb up the waterfall was pretty easy (thank you to rock climbing PE at NC State). We jumped in the water a couple of times (aka I got peer pressured to jumping in). I didn’t swim around a lot. I didn’t want to find out if there was anything in the water…..like snakes, or giant fish, or who knows what else. But I got some awesome pictures of me jumping in one of the waterfalls. It was just the experience I needed to do something outside of my comfort zone. My comfort zone only stretched so far, no amount of peer pressure could get me to stay in there and swim around.
I spent the next day and a half relaxing again. It was nice to end the trip doing nothing but reading and enjoying the nice weather. I took a bunch of photos and got some great shots of the sunsets and the area. Traveling by myself was a great experience and I’m ready to do it again. I didn’t feel lonely (in case you were wondering). I didn’t really meet people or make a point of talking to people. That wasn’t my purpose. I wanted to get away on my own. I think it’s difficult for some people to understand that. The concept is foreign and unimaginable to them. But as an introvert I constantly need to recharge. I’m a outgoing introvert, in a lot of scenarios. But it is a constant battle of over scheduling social activities where I don’t schedule enough time to myself. So solo travel was perfect for me.
I am grateful for the opportunity that life presented me to travel to Costa Rica. I am grateful that I was able to take this time for myself and experience a new part of the world. I know it’s not an option for everyone. But everyone has dreams, so go after them, whatever they may be. Forget the nay sayers, the gossiping b*tches, and those that can’t understand your life. You do you. Don’t wait around for a perfect time, because there is NO perfect time.