After having a week to digest our trip to Costa Rica, the fastest two weeks of my life, here’s the thoughts that keep crossing my mind: 1. I LOVE COSTA RICA! I’ve missed it every day since I’ve been back. I miss the Costa Rican people who took every challenge as it came with a laid back approach, the general friendliness and heartwarming personalities of the people we encountered and the constant beauty of nature that surrounded us everywhere we went. I gained an even greater appreciation for the Costa Rican beaches we experienced while spending this past Fourth of July at the Jersey Shore- In case you hadn’t guessed, Jersey beaches aren’t even in the same class as Costa Rican beaches. I even miss the rice and beans (never thought I would say that!). There’ s just something magical about Costa Rica that makes you want to never leave and keep exploring its incredible and diverse beauty. Every place we went had something unique to offer and we only explored a very small portion of Costa Rica. I can’t wait to find out what the rest of the country has to offer because I will be going back! 2. I LOVE ECOTOURISM! One of my favorite quotes goes something like this, “In order to be comfortable everywhere, one must always do things that make them uncomfortable.” Although I am unsure of whom the quote is from, I would not be surprised to hear that it was from someone who has experienced ecotourism. The greatest things that ecotourism has to offer is an adventure at every turn. As an ecotourist, your comfort zones are pushed everyday in the best way possible. Although you’re not always comfortable with what you’re doing, there are always local people who are happy to help at the drop of a hat and proud of what their country has to offer. The beauty of it all is that each ecotourist will have a different experience. As an ecotourist, you can count on nature and what is in front of you to provide you with the adventure. Because of that, you will not be getting the same cookie cutter experience that would be provided for you by participating in mass tourism. Also, ecotourism involves and envelops the local community, so that every experience that you are having is authentic and original. Ecotourism is a happy marriage between off the map traveling and mass tourism. Anyone who enjoys adventure, personal growth, and unscripted learning should really invest their next vacation time in ecotourism 3. I AM SO LUCKY! Taking Political Science 354- Ecotourism Development in Costa Rica was one of the best choices I have ever made. This trip was a short but incredible time in my life that I will always look back on with a full smile across my face and a light heart. I learned about Costa Rica, ecotourism, and a lot of personal life lessons. What more could you ask for? Expanding your view of the world can be a scary thing and calls for conscious effort to accept that differences can be celebrated as opposed to denigrated. And, if you can get through that initial phase of shock and mild resistance, you can learn to love those differences. Anyone who is lucky enough to learn those lessons will have so much more to offer those whom they come in contact with. I am so grateful to Dr. Miller as well as everyone else who made this trip possible. This experience has changed me and none of that would have been possible without all their hard work done behind the scenes. I hope that those who made this trip possible know that their efforts to give us this opportunity have helped us develop into not only more knowledgeable people, but also into wiser and more receptive individuals. This trip was absolutely incredible. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
This was Leanna Brisson signing off one last time!