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DAYS TWO & FIVE: Adventures in La Fortuna and Sarapiqui (Costa Rica)
Essay Written By: Madina Behori, Outdoor Recreation Student Programs Coordinator,
University of South Florida, AORE Member & Global University Participant '19
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 (Day Two: La Fortuna)
Today was a travel day that consisted of four hours driving from Costa Rica’s capital city of San José to the small rainforest town of La Fortuna. On the way, our group shared stories and laughs (go online and search for a game called “Counting Cows”), drifted into 30-second bouts of sleep, and managed motion sickness while reading for school (okay, maybe that last one was just me). Fortunately, my nausea and sleepiness were cured by an exhilarating jump into the river once we finally arrived at our destination. Afterwards, we hiked to La Fortuna Catarata (which means ‘waterfall’). I was immediately humbled when I realized I had been in this exact same spot six years ago when I was still an undergrad in a study abroad program. I was yet again spell-bound watching the water flow down with a force strong enough to transform into a mix of mist and wind, but this time a metaphor began to form in my mind. I thought about how this Global University trip was preparing for us to do the same thing almost as this rushing water before me. As women, we can get roughed up by rocks of self-doubt and criticism and often, we are pushed into certain spaces that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable. However, by channeling our collective power and working in tandem we are strong enough to create a wind of change so forceful that nothing can stop us. Talk about a force of nature!
Saturday, May 25, 2019 (Day Five: Sarapiqui)
Today we attempted to kayak the Rio Cuarto in Sarapiqui, Costa Rica. I say ‘attempted’ because as it was so eloquently said by AORE Executive Director Jeannette Stawski, “mother nature is brutally honest and blissfully simple”. Such was the case as we kayaked in the pouring rain, during a lightning storm with unexpected rapids, while navigating downed trees in the middle of the river. Being the trailblazer that I am, I was the first of many to fall in the river. It was a scary, exhilarating, and humbling experience that taught me three main lessons:
Trust and be confident in yourself. Just before colliding into the tree (I’m okay, mom), I panicked, stopped paddling, and put my hands and feet up as bumpers. Although, I possessed the paddling skills necessary to avoid the situation, I underestimated myself and that was where everything went wrong.
You are stronger than you realize. In the rapids, we had to paddle quick and hard to avoid getting trapped in the current or hitting trees. Just when you thought that your effort was not enough to avoid a crash, the boat would suddenly turn out of danger’s way just in the nick of time. I realized that I can’t be afraid to be strong whether I’m faced with danger on the water or I find myself in a difficult situation back home.
It’s okay to rely on others. Right after falling in, I tried recovering my kayak; however, I wasn’t on steady ground, so I let go and waded to the nearest shore. The guide then went after the kayak and was able to get me back in it safely. I was able to continue on my journey without risking my own safety in an attempt to do everything on my own.
WANT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT MADINA'S JOURNEY? Check out the recent interview we did with her right before she embarked on the Global University trip in Costa Rica!
AORE will provide full coverage of Global University 2019 during the Costa Rica trip (May 21 - 29). Daily recaps, reflections, fun travel facts, photos, and videos will be available in the AORE newsroom and on social media. Don't forget to follow along with participants as they learn and grow through each new adventure they encounter! Global University is made possible thanks to the generous support of G Adventures, our loyal AORE365 Partner. G Adventures organizes small group tours to exciting destinations all over the world. Visit the G Adventures website when you plan your next global travel adventure and get the support you need to curate a stress-free, enriching experience that brings you closer to the people, places, and cultures you want to visit. Learn more about Global University 2019.