Pura Vida

Today’s journal prompt asks: Where in the world do you long to travel?

I used to dream of traveling to Europe. When I was first in college, in the late 80s, some of my friends would go every summer. They would scour ads for the cheapest flight they could find. The exact destination didn’t matter because they weren’t going to stay there. They would get a Eurail pass and bum around the continent. Seeing the sights, meeting people, taking pictures.

I longed to join them, but I had to work full-time to be able to afford college. Taking three months off wasn’t going to get me a degree.

Neither, it turned out, was working so hard. I burned out on a full time schedule plus a full load of classes. After a few semesters of abysmal grades, my GPA was so low that if you squared it, you’d get a lower number. I dropped out.

I kept working. Retail barely paid enough for me to make ends meet. Sure, I wasn’t paying tuition anymore, but I had taken out a lot of student loans that I now had to start paying. Travel wasn’t in the cards. When I went back to school, I was back in the same boat I’d been in before.

After I finished my graduate degree, I still wanted to travel abroad, but I still couldn’t afford it. It wasn’t until fourteen years later that I was fortunate to be sent to India for business. I made it to Europe the same way in 2016 when another company sent me to Estonia. My wife and I have also been to Costa Rica twice. We loved it both times (even though I got my pocket picked the last time). If I were to take a trip right now, it would likely be back there.

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