After almost a month on my own in Costa Rica, I am back to the very cold reality that is NYC. I have been mulling over my lessons learned, and two stand out to me.
Bring the Right Cameras
This trip invigorated me from head to toe, and I couldn't have been happier to wait on the 6 rolls of film I snapped while away (the 7th got ruined). I was thrilled with the results, which you can find on the Costa Rica page of this site. The photographic formula of a film camera and my iPhone 5 was perfect. There's no 'right' camera to take--whatever you feel most comfortable shooting with, and what will fit in your travel bags. My film camera (Canon AE-1) allowed me to be selective and purposeful in my approach, only shooting what really stood out to me. My iPhone was perfect for capturing some awe-inspiring images and memories, particularly for social media sharing.
Get Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
It sounds cliche, but I challenged myself to get outside of my comfort zone and did several things that scared me. A crazy uphill volcano hike, coming down from a panic attack during a mudslide during the hike, a steep downhill ATV ride, surfing every day in rough waters, silencing my mind in daily 30-minute meditation, going it all alone during my whole trip, and making new friends along the way. All of these things were scary in some way, and all of them made me a stronger person. And the photos during these experiences are priceless!
Travel experiences like these take planning and money and time, but they are worth every bit of what you put in. I am so grateful to have experienced what I did. Travel is exhilarating, travel is hard, travel is liberating. So I encourage you, urge you, and beseech you--travel!! Travel because you can. Travel because you should. Travel because it will remind you how big the world is, how wonderful humanity can be, how much beauty there is to discover.
Word of Advice: make sure your film doesn't go through the airport X-Ray machine, and always travel with your phone in a shatter-proof case. I learned the hard way.