So, this brings me to the end of my travels across Central America. I can confirm that I am now officially home and safe (relieved sighs all round)!
My journey home was far less eventful and a lot more relaxed than my flights to Guatemala City. I only had to get a flight from San Jose to Miami and then from Miami to London, and there was a huge gap in between flights so luckily it didn’t matter that it took two hours to get through passport control (they were ridiculously slow)! I treated myself to a chilled lunch in a Miami clubhouse, where I ordered sliders and chips, which of course were far too big. How very American. I was lucky that my flights went smoothly and were all on time: that rarely happens! Oh and to those of you who are reading this and are still in San Jose, you have to pay a departure tax of $29 to get out of the country. Just a warning, as I panicked when I saw it.
Something sweet did happen on my plane from Costa Rica to Miami though – as the plane was landing, a young man got up to speak over the PA system to the passengers. He said that he and a group of people had been missionaries for 11 months in 11 different countries, and they are now finally returning home to the USA. They had to remain single over that time however now they can have relationships, so he got us all to clap whilst he read a poem/rap (memorised too, wow) asking out his best friend, who was sat on the plane. He was very nervous but she seemed to love it with the greeting she gave him when he went to sit back down! I only thought that sort of stuff happened in movies – I hope he doesn’t propose to her in the future, as he may have a lot to live up to…
I think that kind of random thing happening just demonstrates how absolutely mental this trip has been for me. I have covered hundreds and hundreds (thousands, if you include flights) of miles of land and have experienced so much over the past couple of weeks. Here are 17 things that I have learned over the 17 days:
1. I need to listen more closely to people.
2. I shouldn’t swim near jellyfish.
3. No one, not even people from my own country, can understand my accent.
4. Regardless of the above, one should try and speak at least a little of the local language, even if that’s simply “please”, “thank you” or “good morning”.
5. I need to keep hold of my cash card and not lose it.
6. Bring tweezers when I go travelling next time (my eyebrows look vile).
7. When bungee jumping, I shouldn’t get the rope wrapped around my foot.
8. Overall, Central America is a fairly cheap place to buy food, drink etc, but excepting Costa Rica: it bled me dry of dollars.
9. Trying to use two currencies at once is a nightmare.
10. Never be without mosquito repellent.
11. Volcanoes should always be looked at and appreciated but never be boarded down.
12. 16 people of completely different backgrounds can get along well, based on one similar mindset – the desire to travel.
13. It’s worth giving someone a second chance.
14. Don’t drop memory cards off of platforms hanging over a jungle.
15. Travel the world as much as possible. It’s there to be seen, after all.
16. I should push my limits more. I still don’t know what I’m truly capable of.
17. I will grab every opportunity that comes towards me. One can never know what might happen.
I know that I will look back on this trip in a few days’ time and find it absolutely surreal. “What, I did that?!” It has been crazy, beautiful, exciting, terrifying at times and exhausting, but what I can figure out from the muddle of emotions is that I have achieved all my aims of this trip. I have experienced adventure and seen amazing sights; I have taken some fabulous photographs; I have met some awesome people who I intend to keep in contact with; I have contributed to local economies and I have seen both the good and bad in places.
The highlights? My personal ones usually involved pushing my limits, from bungee jumping to abseiling down a waterfall, and volcano boarding to white water rafting. However, others included the amazing views involved – flying like superman through the forest, an island cruise to see monkeys and sitting watching the sunset in Roatan.
And as for this blog, I am pleasantly surprised by the amount of attention it has received – from family and friends, to my trip mates’ families and friends, and even total strangers. Thank you for reading and for all your support, and I hope to blog on some more travels in the future! Keep following and in return I’ll keep up the work. I have also started writing about my experiences in more detail for World Spa & Travel Magazine, so check out my work here if you’re interested.
To those of you who were on the Volcano Trail reading this, thank you for the time of my life, have a safe journey home and keep in touch. I think the one thing we will all take away from this trip is to always live by the typical Costa Rican philosophy: