Three weeks ago, I had never heard of a place called Bonaire. But then, one day, I decided to Google "world's best shore diving," and Bonaire kept showing up -- usually in the number one spot -- on every list.
So I did an image search for Bonaire, fell in love, and booked a flight.
As my departure rapidly approached, I checked the CDC website to read their recommendations for water and food safety in Bonaire.
Like many things, the government got it all wrong.
I recently returned from an amazing month in Costa Rica and Panama -- and I had a blast! Let me show you:
SOOOO much surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, ATVing, motorcycling, and amazing people meeting!
Not only did this trip inspire hundreds of photos and a video -- it also inspired three songs (the first I've ever written in my head -- normally I can only write music on my guitar) and several blog posts, including:
Everyone Thinks I'm So Cool And Brave for Traveling Alone As a Woman - But These Lady Travelers are WAY Cooler Than Me.
Just me, myself and I, hanging out at the Rio Celeste in Costa Rica. #MieScattering
Let me start by saying, you're right. I am pretty cool for traveling alone. It's something I love about myself -- that if I see something I want, I go for it. Even if "it" is a country on the other side of the world, and no one else wants to go there with me.
Everyone who knows me… knows that I’m a little gross.
I eat the carnitas burrito I accidentally left in my car for 24 hours. I use sticks I found on the ground to scoop my peanut butter and rocks to scrape the meat out of my coconuts. And I definitely don’t follow the five-second rule.
But one thing I will never, ever do… is cook in a hostel kitchen. And you probably shouldn’t, either.
Many years ago, I visited Bath, England -- a place of water, life, and healing. Upon one of the fountains there was engraved, "Aqua est Vida." Water is life.
And plastic is death.
I did an anthropology research trip in the Great Sandy Desert in Fall 2007. On the last night of the trip, I was eating my last meal with Desmond, a Martu man with whom I had spent the last few weeks hunting, sharing dreamtime stories and discussing Aboriginal culture. And he looked up at me and said, "Eva, you are my sister, and I am your brother."
Nothing he said could have moved me more. It was a moment I will never forget, and I hope the following story will help explain why.
"You see that?" Desmond asks quietly as he adjusts the gun on his shoulder.
When "Achievement" is Toxic: My Thoughts on the (most recent) Gunn High School Suicide, and Raising Resilient Children
The Palo Alto Unified School District is reeling after yet another student suicide. This tragedy has triggered conversations about academic pressure and mental health in this ruthlessly high-achieving area.
Suicide and mental health are incredibly complex issues. But let's be honest: the culture at Gunn and many surrounding schools is toxic. During my work as a college counselor and life coach, I heard some pretty depressing stories that were in no way reminiscent of my high school experience.
Note: See also: Life Hack - Do What You Do While You Travel When You're Home.
I love basketball. It's probably the best sport known to man, and I've spent way too much (or possibly not enough) of my adult life playing it. There were times when I would be at the courts three hours a night, every weeknight. It's just that great.
General convention says that you should open your mind and try new things when you travel. And I agree. But I also think that doing what you do at home while you travel is one of the best ways to make new friends and get involved in new communities. I think this because of basketball.
I happened upon a pickup game in Warsaw once, when I heard balls bouncing in a gymnasium I was passing. So I introduced myself to one of the guys, asked if I could get next, and hopped on. Language barriers didn't matter -- we got sweaty together and had a fun time. We went out for drinks after, and I got into a discussion with one of the men about the Polish word wolność, which means freedom.
"There is a phrase in our national anthem, 'Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła / Kiedy my żyjemy,'" he told me. "It means, 'As long as I am alive, Poland is still fighting.' Because wolność is a very important word to us."
The eagerness and sincerity in his eyes is something I'll never forget. Who knew I'd come to glimpse something so dear to him... because of basketball?
A few months ago, I was asked to answer this question on Quora:
"If you were a 17-year-old out of high school, what would you do with your life?
I tested out of high school two years early, and lately I've just become so stuck and cynical of life. I don't know what I'm missing and why I'm stuck. I don't know where to move on to.
I've been going to talk therapy once a week (which barely helps)."
I'm not a licensed clinical psychologist or anything, but I do have a bachelor's and master's in psychology from Stanford. So here's my take on your situation, which is based on many assumptions that may or may not be true.
You are a high-achieving individual. You are talented and gifted, and you worked hard enough to test out of high school two years early. That's really great. Congratulations on your achievements.
BUT. There is a cost associated with your achievements.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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