Over the weekend, I went with members of my program to Manuel Antonio National Park, on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. The Park is beautiful, peaceful and full of diverse flora and fauna. Since the excursion to Manuel Antonio was booked through the program, when we showed up we had a guide. While walking the short 1.5 km trail, many people passed us, eager to make it to the beach; however, our walk took much longer. We experienced everything that Manuel Antonio had to offer us. The guide, Fredy, would pull out his telescope at any sudden movement in the brush, and immediately point out various types of monkeys, sloths, crabs, lizards, birds and pretty much any other type of animal you could imagine seeing in a tropical forest. In fact, I was almost more impressed by Fredy’s animal tracking and identification skills than the actual animals and natural beauty itself. Fredy made it possible for us to take beautiful pictures of animals that we could have never seen or even known were around us if he had not been there.
I think this lesson is very important in life, especially in study abroad. While everyone might think that going to the beach, or the destination, is the most fun part, sometimes we need to be able to soak in what is around us. We need to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. It’s important to be open to having those guides in our life that can help us live in the moment and enjoy everything that life has to offer. Especially in Costa Rica, where Pura Vida is a way of life, a way of enjoying every moment in its purest form, it is important to soak up every bit that our surrounding have to offer.