Lost in Thought

Am I the only one who can’t believe it’s already January 13th? The second week of the month’s almost done and I feel like I’m just now stepping out of the holiday whirlwind and re-orienting myself in the new year. It doesn’t help that my family is notoriously unhurried when it comes to taking down all of our Christmas decorations– I’m actually writing this in the glow of our tree, still decorated, dropping more dried-out pine needles on the floor by the minute.

With the slow return to post-holiday normalcy, it’s safe to say that various other aspects of my life are completing their transition to 2017. I’m decluttering, I’ve almost finished the months-long renovation of my room, I’m taking on new projects at work and have been directing more energy into my personal interests. I’ve been taking lots of photos and writing up a storm, which are both excellent things for a writer & photographer to be doing. I’ve got big ideas for my blog, and will have much more to share on here in the upcoming weeks. It’s a transition period, but an exciting one, and I’m feeling overall much more focused and motivated than I’ve felt in a long time.

That feeling is probably aided by the fact that I’ll be leaving for Costa Rica less than two months from now. Forty-six days, to be exact. It’s the perfect amount of time to accomplish many of the projects I’ll have started before I leave, to get my life organized before I hit the road for a couple of months, and to keep me busy with other work so I can keep my mind off of how slowly those forty-six days are passing.

Of course, in keeping my body so busy with work and chores and projects, my mind has been free to drift and think about all that I have coming in the near future. It’s been a very distracted week, even by my standards. There have been days where I’ve been so lost in thought on the drive home, that suddenly I’ll arrive in my driveway with no memory of the ride I just completed. I’m daydreaming about the rainforest and scheming new plans with every free moment: can I fit another weekend trip in before Costa Rica? What topic should I write my column on this week? Do I want to spend more time on the Pacific coast or the Caribbean?

You should know this about me: when I get excited about something, it’s all I can think about. I’m doodling palm trees on papers at work and browsing Pinterest for beach and jungle photos on break. I’ve been to Costa Rica a handful of times now, always for different reasons and each trip as distinctly memorable from the others as could be. Right now, all that means is that I’ve got great material to base my next six weeks of distractions on– and six weeks to dream about all this latest expedition will hold. I think it goes without saying, but I truly can’t wait to find out.

xx Devinne

La Vida es Pura

Playa Uvita, Costa Rica

BIG NEWS: Rhianna and I bought one-way tickets to Costa Rica. I honestly can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. This will be my fourth time visiting that beautiful country, and my second time this year alone. La vida es PURA, baby.

Already, this trip is beginning to look a little different than all the others. For one, it has no set end date. I’ll be there at the very least for a month, and quite possibly longer depending on how things turn out. Things being my finances, mostly, and the very many projects I’m hoping to start & finish before the coffers run dry. On this trip, I’ll also have some new company: my cousin and a friend from school are planning on visiting for a week each on their vacations. I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am to share the magic of one of my favorite places on earth with some of my favorite people. It’s unreal.

Four trips and three years later, I still remember how I felt when I first stepped off the plane in May 2014. I remember stumbling over Spanish introductions with my host family when they met me at the airport, and how tightly I gripped the seats as we sped away on a winding highway in their sedan. I remember learning my way around downtown Heredia, the maze of interlacing one-way streets and the neon signs of Boulevard and how delicious the fresh baked bread smelled every morning in the bakery I walked past on my way to school. It’s not the first time I’ve talked about it and it probably won’t be the last, but Costa Rica is where I learned to be a traveler.

You know how I did it? By making mistakes, constantly. Between disastrous nights of dancing at the discoteca, missed buses, stolen wallets, ill-contrived dates with the locals, and even one particularly terrifying run in with a fer-de-lance, I learned how to be a traveler simply by f-ing up most of my endeavors–and then next time, doing exactly the opposite. Of course, for all the good, bad, and downright ugly moments, it helped that I was in fabulous company. There were only six students in our program that summer, so we didn’t really have much choice about whether or not we’d get along. We dubbed our weird little mismatched group “the breakfast club” and many hijinks ensued. Well… hijinks, and tequila shots.

I learned a whole lot from that first trip. It was my first international journey, my first experience with a truly different language and culture, and the first time I had taken on a challenge of that magnitude completely independently. It’s also true that I learned so much especially because of all the glorious and often cringe-worthy mistakes I made during those weeks. Every time I’ve returned since that first summer, it has been with pride at how much I’ve learned and grown since. They do say that you learn from your mistakes, and if that’s the case then I’m a bona fide Costa Rica travel expert.

So bring it on, Costa Rica 2k17! For the fourth time, I’m ready for you.

A Better Traveler

Pemigewasset river

I was supposed to be in Europe right now. At least, that’s where I thought I would be on this November 22nd, back when I scribbled all those plans and lists into my journal over the summer. Amidst the doodles in the margins are the remnants of the fall I thought I would be having: Spain for a few weeks, a bop on over to France, perhaps a quick jaunt to Italy or Scotland and, hey! Why not a stay in Norway?

My fixation on travel is nothing new, though it has taken on a new intensity in the months since graduation. With college behind me, I finally feel free to spend my time and money on the one thing I crave above all else. I can go anywhere, at any time, no longer burdened by the academic calendar. And after my senior year internship at a travel publication, I feel as though travel could be more than my passion– it could be my professional path, too.

What better feeling is there to realize that your passion could become your career? It’s not just the passion for travel, mind, but the love of writing and photography as well. I’ve nurtured this trio of hobbies and interests for so long, always keeping them separate from any plans I could design for my professional future. I want to be fulfilled by my work, but for me that feeling of fulfillment comes from the autonomy to create my own art, and to create it for my own ends. Still, I took plenty of time to figure that out, and I do mean plenty. I’ve spent countless months searching for my own cause, and more importantly seeking my own true voice to speak about things I care most about. I need something to say, something to take pictures of and write about and share with the world. I need a reason to go places, a motivation for my travels beyond simple tourism.

For me, the desire to travel goes beyond a checklist of places I’d like to visit in my lifetime. When you love travel as I do, what you truly love is motion. You love the comings and the goings. You chase change. It’s the thrill of sunrises unveiling brand-new horizons; it’s the sensation of timelessness as you soar through a starry night sky, thousands of feet above the ground ; it’s the exhilaration and adrenaline and awe of each and every new detail you discover in a foreign land. As I’ve become a more seasoned traveler, I’ve slowly come to understand that the aspects of travel I love the most are the ones that stay constant, no matter the destination. You don’t need to fly across an ocean to discover a new horizon, or traverse a continent to explore the intricacies of your location. Those moments, the truly meaningful ones, can be found every day, anywhere you choose to see them.

When I pinned my hopes for a fall full of travel on that European expedition, I didn’t realize that what I was really seeking could be found much closer to home. A few months spent in Europe would no doubt have been lovely, but they would have been a stale prize compared to the insight I have gained as a local adventurer. I spent the fall traveling around New England, exploring my own state and region, learning how to see the extraordinary in the familiar. And you know what? More than the most exciting and exotic trip could ever have made me, I’m a better traveler for it.