A year and a half ago as we touched down in California to lay down roots after spending 5 years in Chicago, I received a message asking if I would like to be apart of a book titled 30 before 30 authored by Griselda Benavides. The book interviewed 30 people from all different backgrounds and cultures about life, love and travel.
The book was published one year ago. I was so honored she thought of me for this inspiring book. I loved reading everyone’s stories, there were nuggets of wisdom in each of us. Thank you Griselda for the vision and follow through to publish this book and spread more light and inspiration to the world!
Currently I am flying home from Costa Rica after a magical week celebrating my 40th birthday with friends and family. I could go on and on about why I love this country; One big reason is they abolished their army to put those funds into things like education, healthcare and protecting their environment. It truly shows in what is known as the land of Pura Vida.
You know that moment when you realize the seeds you planted and nurtured for years and years have grown into a beautiful tree and you get to sink your teeth into the sweet fruit of all your hard work. This was that moment for me when the wish became a reality.
Here is an excerpt where I share one of the best days of my life spent in Costa Rica:
“Giving back is definitely an integral part of my travel philosophy. I believe if we have the means to travel the world we always have the ability to give back in some small way. Leaving every place a little better than we found it. When the idea of Journey 360 Degrees was born, it was all about my passion of travel and giving back. Just by starting this conversation and an online travel blog, all of these synchronistic events and people started coming into my life. One of those people turned out to be my best friend and business partner for Journey 360 Degrees. We now work as husband and wife bringing our two little boys along for the adventures. Together we created something much bigger by putting both of our visions together.
We created a company that brought groups abroad to have transformational travel experiences. At the end of every trip we partnered with a local school or charity to give back. Our first trip to Costa Rica we aligned with Sona Fluca primary school. We initially visited the school to see if it would be a good fit with our values. Not only were we aligned but, this school was a great example for other schools to follow. We also discovered they were in desperate need of a new roof because the rainy season was coming fast and if they didn’t get the leaks fixed in the roof, the children of this village could not go to school that year. It would have been too dangerous with all of the electrical elements exposed to the rain and lightening.
So we asked the principal, Edward, what he would need to keep the school open and he said, “a new roof.” Thirty minutes later we found ourselves on a bumpy road to a local hardware store where we purchased a hundred sheets of corrugated steel and screws. In two weeks the school had a brand new roof.
Another memorable moment came while we were visiting a classroom of 7 year olds and asking them what they wanted to be when they grew up. The emotional impact of that question has continued to enforce why I believe in giving back. It creates endless possibilities of hopes and dreams. On this day some of the children wanted to become doctors, teachers, tour guides, and mostly soccer players. Finally, the last little girl looked at me and said “I want to do what you do one day.” “I want to help other people.” In that moment it felt as though my whole life came full circle. Everything I had been through all of the hardships, joys and sorrows were worth that single moment to be able to give back to the people of Costa Rica that had given so much to me.”
You never know where or when a transformational moment will come. The devastating loss of my father set me on a course to change my life and my surroundings. One year after mourning the loss of my father on that fateful day I picked up a flyer that read, “Study Abroad in Costa Rica”. I thought to myself, “My dad would have wanted me to live life to the fullest and make it an unforgettable adventure in honor of him. After all, he always taught me that anything is possible.”
If you would like to read the full interview you can purchase the book by clicking on this link. Thanks again to my dear friend Griselda for all the love you put into this book.