In February of 2017, my girlfriend and I had been living on the coast of New Hampshire for 18 months and decided it was time to make a change. We put in our two weeks notices, opted out of renewing our lease, and with no rent or work schedules to adhere to, decided it was the perfect time to do some traveling. Plane tickets were purchased, Airbnbs booked, and we set off on our trip through Costa Rica.
With a new administration leading the United States and the executive order travel ban fresh in our minds, I was somewhat ashamed of where I was coming from. I did not know how my home country would effect the way we would be received during our travels. Fortunately for us, what I knew of human nature held true. Every where we went, respect was given and received. People were kind and others were not, and while some people went out of their way to help us, others attempted to cheat us. However, with every new location, the majority of our interactions were rooted in happiness and respect for all people. Smiles were mostly reciprocated and when things weren't going our way, there was always our incredibly beautiful surroundings to bring us inspiration and positivity.
Taking some time and space to be with the person I love while seeing and experiencing new things is something that I am beyond grateful for. At a time when it was easy for negativity to take hold, it was important to be reminded that all types of people live in all types of environments and that generalizations cannot be made about people or places. Beauty almost always surrounds us and when it seems to be hiding, it may just be found by taking a walk in the woods, smiling at a stranger, starting a project or calling a friend. These are lessons I already knew to be true, but traveling outside my comfort zone reaffirmed my belief in them.