Soraya had made it to the house at about 6:00AM to bring me to the drop off location. I shared with her my plans about the tour and she exclaimed how much I would enjoy it. We even stopped by her home so she could lend me a jacket appropriate for the weather in the mountains. I found that the locals here were so willing to offer help and assistance. Their hospitality is almost unmatched compared to the other places I’ve been.
I was the first to be picked up. Soon other people hopped on the bus and introduced themselves to me. The row of seats that I had alone filled quickly with Stella and Stephanie. Lora sat directly behind us, participating in our convos through and around the seats that separated us.
The highlight of the tour was the hike to the Poas Volcano and the Lagoon. A highlight because both were extremely beautiful, but also because it took a lot of endurance and physical, as well as mental, strength to get there to see. It was 6 of us who embarked on the hike. Yet I was the only one who immediately felt the affects. I had to stop multiple times and strongly suggested that the group continue, but they didn’t.
They stayed with me until I got my rest. Until I felt strong enough to continue. Stella staying more often than the rest. She was a petite, physically fit flight attendant telling me to breathe and push through it, but also confirming how important it is to recognize my limits and when I need to rest. Stephanie and Lora did the same. And then the other 3. And when we finally made it to the top, it was only right that we get a selfie.
The hike back down was much easier. My shins didn’t seem to burn as much either. And it didn’t take as long considering lunch was the motive. Over lunch we sat and complained a little bit about our phones’ battery life and the spotty wifi for a few minutes before we forgot about it and just ignored our phones completely. We got lost in each other’s stories and the lives that we live back home. We shared laughs and food and more laughs until it was time to embark on our last adventure to La Paz.
The trek to La Paz was much easier. I tried not to focus too much on the amount of steps I was going to have to climb on the way back. Seeing the beautiful waterfall made all of that obsolete anyway.
The bus ride was a bit more quieter than the one that morning. We were all pretty tired. Even Stella didn’t have much to say, being that she was the most social and interactive person of all of us on the bus. I enjoyed my quiet time. I enjoyed looking out and soaking in all the scenery as well as experiencing what a traffic jam looks like in the mountains.
But I mostly enjoyed the quietness so that I could reflect and realize what God had done in my life that day. I was forced to break out of my comfort zone and just let go and allow myself to be in the company of strangers — even when life back home made me want to do just the opposite.
I wanted to be alone, but God knew that wasn’t what I needed. I was literally placed in the paths of such wonderful people to explore parts of the earth that I had never seen before.
To tap into my physical and mental strength to achieve a goal to see these parts of the earth that I may never get the chance to set my eyes on again A chance to see parts of the earth that were free from damage, debris, and trash left from muddy flood waters.
And my God, I am so grateful.