“There’s a snake!”
“On the road! Wanna take a picture?”
My driver stops by the side of the road, as I pull out my camera.
I run up to the snake where two Ticos (Costa Rican natives,) whom accidently injured the snake, are trying to pick it up with a stick. I snap my picture, lean forward to examine the situation, bend over, and proceed to pick up the snake- with my bare hands. The native men watch me amazed as I throw the snake on the side of the road. Warning: Don’t do this at home if you don’t know much about snakes, but ask yourself this: How cool was that?!
That was just on the second day of my two-week journey to the Sea Turtle Conservation project Costa Rica, and everyday, something new and exciting would make that day the best day ever. Being waken up by the sound of screaming monkeys in the morning, walking in jungles and seeing dozens and dozens or wild green parakeets in the trees, discovering the sweet taste of Tamarindos and all the other delicious fruits and wonders the trees and vegetation have to offer, seeing baby turtles dig themselves out of the sand and run to the ocean, eating fresh shell fish right off the rock, drinking coconut water for breakfast, seeing the most beautiful sunset in the world – the list never ends.
During my trip for conservation work with turtles, I learned something everyday – about the animals I was working with, the forest around me, and the threats the wildlife was facing. I met the most amazing people, learned more about the countries’ culture, practiced my Spanish and gained incredible life experience.
There isn’t such thing as a typical day, everyday is as good as you make it. Learning how to cook by watching and helping those on cooking duty, patrolling the beach at night to count all the turtles that come to nest, making sure birds don’t come eat the baby hatchlings as they run to the water, going snorkeling and fighting with a squid (and then having it for dinner ) meeting the neighbors and letting them teach you about the magical things the country has to offer; and most importantly: enjoying living a more simple life. Re-connecting with the earth and just letting go of your regular life to completely submerge in the beauty of basic living, where technology of any kind is so unnecessary and unwanted.
Volunteering abroad is an outstanding and unforgettable experience that everyone should try at least once in his or her life.