A walkabout is a rite of passage- a person will go out into the wilderness to discover his or her identity and purpose, and then return home.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

5 Things I've Learned About Myself [While Traveling]

While I entered my gap year fully expecting to grow and mature thanks to the new experiences I'd be having, I guess I wasn't really conscious of the fact that traveling would make obvious certain aspects of my character.  Here is just a random sample of new-to-me facts about... well, me. 

In no particular order:

1) I (like the majority of the American adult population [not to mention Europeans, Costa Ricans, and the like]), have become one of those people who just can't function without that daily cuppa joe in the morning.  Honestly, coffee is a MUST for me now. I'm not sure if it's a mental thing or what, but when I don't have "cafe con leche" in the morning, I get a slight headache and my brain feels a bit foggy.  Maybe it's actually the altitude... but I've been relying on the placebo effect of believing strongly enough that coffee helps it to get by. Whatever works, right?  I absolutely detested the taste of coffee before I came to Costa Rica, but now I can't get enough.  Haha, watch this be the most significant, long-lasting effect of my time here. 

 2) I actually am a very safety-oriented person.   Don't get me wrong, I like the adrenaline rush of doing crazy things as much as the next person- I just don't want there to be a significant possibility that I could get hurt and/or die in the process.  For example: when mountain biking up and down rocky, uneven dirt roads in the rain, I've found I actually would prefer to be wearing a helmet/pads rather than not [Anri, aren´t you proud??].   Especially after falling once....  Or when cliff jumping, I'm fine doing the 10-foot jump- but I'll go ahead and skip the 35-foot one into a pool of unknown depth.  [Lindsay, it's all yours.]  So I guess in some ways that may make me a bit of a wimp, but at least I'll still be here when all you daredevils have gone and broken your necks. 

3) I am a HUGE fan of dancing.  There have been multiple occasions where my "entire demeanor changed in the blink of an eye"[according to Lindsay my best big sister ever!!!] once a danceable song by American standards was played.   And I've even gotten into Latin dance: salsa, meringue, barchata.  After a certain point, I don't care how ridiculously white and uncoordinated I look- if a guy asks me, I'll do my best to keep up with his hip movements and spins.  What the hell, it's fun. 

4) Turns out, despite my often sarcastic and cynical nature, I actually posses a pretty positive, optimistic outlook on life.  Regardless of the fact that out of the past 12 long bus trips I've been on [getting to and from weekend locations], only two have gone according to plan, I always manage to find mine and Lindsay's inevitable transportation disaster comical, and I don't get bent out of shape about it.  Maybe it's just a response to Lindsay's tendency toward anxiety when shit like that happens, but I've been quite surprised at my ability to stay calm and positive about the fact that we will get through whatever the problem is.  Since I have the ridiculed I-think-my-life-is-a-movie syndrome, I guess I just always feel like any bad situation I get in will eventually reach its happy ending.  Maybe not the most realistic thing, but it hasn't burned me too badly so far....

5) I have a weird foreign supermarket fetish.  Honestly, I could spend hours wandering up and down the aisles of any Costa Rican food store.  Doesn't matter that they're all essentially the same- they still just have this strange allure for me.   I love checking out all the different foods they have compared to the US, how the store is laid out, and which products are most valued.   I mean, in the States, there are aisles carrying only breakfast cereals [a bit ridiculous when you think about it]- here, you'd be shocked to see how many different kinds of white rice and mayonnaise spreads exist.   I just find it mesmerizing.   It's weird, I know. But on the plus side, I think I just discovered my ticket to traveling cheaply through Europe- walking through supermarkets doesn't cost a thing. 

 Don't judge me, I bet you harbor strange fetishes as well.  You just don´t know it yet.

 xoxo, Cleome

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