There is something about exploring other countries that absolutely fascinates me. The more the culture is different than mine, the bigger draw it has for me. I think it stems from spending numerous summers in Mexico when I was young.
Finding treasures (dead and alive) in tide pools when the tide went out in the evening, collecting hermit crabs, setting off our own fireworks on the beach, camping in tent-trailers, walking to the general store in our bathing suits to buy a coke in a bottle for 25 cents. This, no doubt, it what caused my obsession with coke in a bottle to this day, but I disgress...
What really cemented my fascination was a cruise I took with my family in 2006. Our first port was Jamaica and I'll never forget the feeling I had when I woke up that morning, looked out the window, and there was the most beautiful little green island I had ever seen. Later that day we literally hiked up a waterfall and I fell in love. I know this very thing is done by thousands of other people, as it is a popular excursion on that specific cruise, but I didn't care. I remember sitting on a rock in the middle of the waterfall, looking out through the jungle to the ocean and saying to my sister, "who does this?!?" We were only there for six hours but I loved every single second.
& no trip is complete without playing with some type of animal, a trend that has stayed true to this day.
The next day we were in Grand Cayman snorkeling over a reef in some of the clearest water in the world.
I think it was that moment where I thought to myself, "I have to see everything amazing and do everything amazing in the entire world!!" Pretty lofty statement, haha, ...but I can spend my life trying right?
So, the last year that is what I've been setting out to do. It all started with a random two week backpacking trip to Peru thanks to my friend Erin who didn't mind that I kind of, ...invited myself along :)
I got to:
- get my very first stamp in my passport.
- spend four days hiking the same trails the Incas did and got to see Machu Picchu at sunrise. ...uh, yeah.
- sit in the middle of nowhere, in the complete pitch dark, and see the most amazing starry sky you can ever imagine.
- hold a baby llama. In the llama motherland.
- might have also ate one. (different day, different llama.)
- see south american PENGUINS.
- be serenaded by traditional peruvian woman on floating islands made of lake titicaca plants.
- drink as many cokes in bottles as I could dream of.
- contemplate buying a cooked guinea pig on a stick. (I passed.)
- watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop in spanish. hilarity.
- eat an endless supply of coca leaves. (google it.)
- sandboard in the middle of a gigantic sandy desert.
- try a delicious little tasty treat called a Pisco Sour.
- scream my name at the top of my lungs into the Andes and hear it echo back six times. awesome.
- take one of my most favorite pictures I've ever taken of the sweetest little Peruvian baby.
If I wasn't completely hooked to traveling, I sure as hell was now. Living out of a backpack and staying in hostels for $5 a night. YES. Love it. Luckily Erin felt the same way (and at this point my best friend Jessie wanted in on the fun), so eight months later we were all on a plane to Costa Rica!
Untitled from Sarah Lasker on Vimeo.
I got to:
- sit and watch a family of wild monkeys play in the trees right above me for an hour while listening to Jennifer Nettles. I could have died of happiness right there.
- and fed them bananas of course.
- survive the wrath of Hurricane Agatha.
- see a real live active volcano erupt. The word magma was thrown out numerous times.
- swim in a river warmed by this volcano, in the middle of the jungle, with no other gringos there besides us. amazing.
- play with purple crabs and huge ass stick bugs.
- see more rain in two days then I have in 25 years living in Arizona.
- watch some kids play futbol.
- sit in front of a waterfall with the mist completely surrounding me, so thick you almost couldn't breathe.
- roll my own sushi.
- see a million leaf-cutter ants. I love those guys.
- discover the amazingness that is Gallo Pinto.
- fly on a cable 100 feet above the ground going 45 miles an hour.
- lay in a hammock in the dark, watching fireflies, and counting the stars. love.
- pretend to be Tarzan.
- eat in a restaurant with a huge jungle tree growing out from the middle of it. Suck it Rainforest Cafe.
- drink some of the most amazing coffee grown in the world.
So, just in the past year I've gotten to do some pretty kick ass things, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. If I could choose to go anywhere in the world right now, no questions, I'd have to say I'd choose India. I cannot wait to go to India. I want to see Taj Mahal, go to an elephant orphanage, have an old Indian woman paint me with henna tattoos, go to temples & see beautiful gardens, learn about Gandhi, monkeys! I always want to see more monkeys, take pictures of Indian kids, who I think are the most beautiful kids in the world ...and do a million other things. But, this trip is going to take a lot of planning and a lot of convincing somebody to go with me. I've learned that unlike myself, India isn't high up on people's dream vacation destinations. Whatever. ;) In the meantime, I'm going to have to settle for my second choice...EUROPE. haha. Horrible right? Hoping to go earlish next year with Italy (eeee) in the mix.