How Costa Rica Made me a Better Individual

How Costa Rica Made me a Better Individual

Zoe Ogden

Pura Vida Service in Costa Rica 2021

My name is Zoe Ogden, I am 14 years old and I’m about to be a freshman in high school. I live in New York City and one of my biggest goals is to travel a lot and experience and learn about tons of new and different perspectives. Some things that I love doing frequently are playing volleyball, always hanging out with my friends, and spending lots of time with my family.

Costa Rica was probably one of the most amazing experiences one could ask for. It was especially amazing to be able to travel with the purpose of helping out others.

Even after looking at all of Rustic Pathways’ platforms, I still really didn’t know exactly what to expect when going on this trip. And to be completely honest, even though I did go with a friend, I was still nervous about the people I was going to meet on this trip and that we would have no common interest.

But, from the second I sat at the airport I had already met people that, little did I know, I was going to end up forming great bonds with by the end of the trip. Not only did I meet people from and close to New York, but I also met people from all over the United States with very interesting stories and backgrounds.

I was actually one of the youngest on my trip around 40 people. But in no way did I ever feel like I couldn’t fit in with all the older kids. There was always something that we could relate to which made age feel like just a number. Right when I was put with my service group, some of the strongest relationships formed from that group.

Apart from forming amazing and unforgettable relationships, I learned so many new skills as well as ways to look at life. I learned the importance of hard work and teamwork.

Together my service group and I were able to complete tasks such as digging trenches, mixing and laying cement, laying cement blocks, and even simpler tasks such as painting. No matter the level of the task, you had to put 100% of your effort in order to feel accomplished and proud of the work you’ve completed. The best part is that I got to conquer those jobs with people who wanted to help the Costa Rican community as much as I did.

Last but not least this trip taught me to be grateful. One, to be grateful for being able to go to Costa Rica and meet amazing friends and group leaders, see some pretty cool and intriguing things, experience visiting local stores, meeting locals, and eating foods that are big parts of Costa Rica.

But this travel experience taught me to be grateful that I have so many modern and updated resources and technologies. After seeing some people and how they live their lives made me realize how grateful I am for the fortunate life that I am lucky enough to live.

I am so happy that Rustic Pathways gave me the opportunity to give back. I also am thankful that I got to learn things about life as well as new things about myself.