Daily Archives: July 15, 2013

There and back again

The furthest I’ve ever been from where I live now is Japan, however when I was there that was where my home was located. Had I been visiting it would have been very far from home georgaphically, and culturally it would have been a world away. Especially since I would not be living on a US military base as I did, the bases are pretty much miniture American towns that drive on the other side of the road.

The furthest I have been from home is Costa Rica; the physical distance from home is much greater than anywhere in the US, Maine, Florida, and Hawaii included. All of the other distances, cultural, economic, social, etc., are even more substantial. Costa Rica is a nation obsessed with putting on an image for the rest of the global community. That image is of a nation that is very beautiful, biodiverse, eco friendly (all true), and consequently a wonderful place for everyone who lives there. They claim to be the “Happiest Nation On Earth,” something with Guiness perpetrates. Most of the people I met where indeed happy, but the claim is still obscene. I saw what the tourist brochures don’t show you, slums, poverty, people just trying to get by with more or less basic necessities and not much more. 

Oh, and it is also a huge destination for human trafficking in Central America.

Out of fairness, Costa Rica (along with Panama) is much better off than the neighboring countries. There commitment to saving their environment is wonderful, but I wish that they were more commited to everyday people.

I’m sure most people who visit do NOT experience the same things I experienced. I went there on a mission trip with the specific goal of doing charitible work. Most everyone else goes to see the waterfalls and national parks and ziplines, none of which I had the opportunity to see. I think the most important element of travel is not where you go, but why you go.


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