Today marks Part 1 of our Travel Series of Guest Bloggers on TLVO, and we are SO excited. We are always inspired by intrepid world travelers on the search for their next adventure or favorite meal. We rounded up some serious Globetrotters and asked them a few questions about their absolute favorite trip. Their answers (and destinations) were so fascinating, we just had to showcase them on the website. Check it out!
Our first guest blogger comes from Sunny San Diego. Please meet, Prince Ghuman -
1. What destination has been your favorite trip so far? Costa Rica
2. How did you choose this destination? Just got my passport and picked a country based on cheap fares
3. Length of your stay? Two weeks
4. Did you travel solo or with friends/family? Went with one friend.
5. Favorite attraction/activity? So hard to choose, I’d say zip lining through the cloud forest in Monte Verde. You look down and see trees poking out of clouds. I felt like a falcon.
6. What were the locals like? Ridiculously friendly. They have a saying called Pura Vida which means pure life. It’s the Costa Rican aloha. And their version of dude is Tico or Tica. The Ticos y Ticas are very welcoming. I would’ve gotten Pura Vida tattooed on my left ass cheek if there was a tattoo shop in the rainforest.
7. Did you brush up on the local language prior to your trip? Yes, I speak Spanish really well in the present tense. By the end of the trip, I felt like a Tico.
8. What was the strangest thing you ate? Nothing strange really but had fresh papaya juice all day everyday for a dollar.
9. What cultural difference stood out the most during your trip? The genuine lack of concern for money and material things. They value education a lot. College is paid for by the government! People study what they love without concern of buying the next Benz.
10. Did you interact much with other tourists? Yes, made besties with people from holland, Canada and Alaska. Great to see the travel mentality is universal.
11. What are the 3 things you absolutely HAD to pack for this trip? Running shoes polarized sunglasses and sun block
12. What was something that put you off about this destination? Transportation – the roads are in the rainforest and traveling via bus is the only option. It takes hours to go a couple dozen miles.
13. When you go on vacation, do you prefer to relax most of the time or plan an activity-filled itinerary? Depends on the location but mostly plan ahead.
14. Do you check your email/social media while on vacation? Hell to the no!
15. What is your go-to karaoke song? I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2
Mom’s family is from Italy, Dad’s from India. Until 2010, those two were the only countries I had ever visited. On New Year’s Eve 2009, everything changed. I made a promise to myself to visit at least one new country every year for the rest of my life.
Fast forward to September 2010, I am literally sniffing my freshly minted, virginal passport. Laptop is in front of me. I search for a destination, any destination. The process is simple, go to google.com, type the name a country and click images. Costa Rica was it – my first new country as an adult!
Since then, I have travelled quite a bit and CR is my favorite trip to date. In two weeks, I had Tarzan-ed my way up and down the Pacific coast of CR. I scaled a volcano, dipped in natural hot springs, zip lined through the rainforest, swung via natural vines over waterfalls, chased a wild boar on a deserted island, fed a monkey, parrot, dog, and a cat (at the same time), night-hiked my way through a tarantula, green pit viper snake, and sloth filled rainforest, and learned how to machete my way into a coconut.
Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos and Ticas – akin to dude and dudette. Ticos are friendlier than a Berkeley student on 4/20. It’s like they live in the 60’s and instead of THC, they are high off life. Ticos have a saying, Pura Vida. It means pure life. It is the Costa Rican aloha. Unlike the Hawaiian aloha, pura vida has yet to be commercialized and Rihanna-ed. To get an idea of the sentiment behind pura vida, imagine if Deepak Copra had sex with a sloth while listening to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole Over The Rainbow. The child would be Pura Vida. Well, technically, Pura Vida Chopra but I digress. It simply means don’t worry, be happy, slow down, enjoy life, breathe out your nose.
Costa Rica served as a personal catalyst. It pivoted my life in a direction I never thought I’d float. Pre-2010, my purpose in life was simple – make money. Money was my definition of success. Wear nice clothes, drive nice cars, buy nice houses. And when you feel shitty about yourself because your neighbor has more, go make more than your neighbor. Wear nicer clothes, drive nicer cars, buy nicer houses. Rinse, repeat, die. American dream = dolla dolla bills, ya’ll!
The Costa Rican dream is simply to live life and enjoy it moment by moment. I was so brainwashed by the American Dream I found it hard to believe Ticos could be happy without a Beamer, Benz, or Bentley. In fact, they were happier. They were also better educated. Did you pursue your fascinations in college, assuming finances were available? I didn’t. Nearly everyone has a college degree in Costa Rica. It isn’t reserved for the elite, rather a right for everyone to exercise. The government pays for everyone’s bachelor’s degree. In turn, students tend to study subjects which fascinate them. No compromising on your interests because you’re more worried about landing a job to repay your student loans.
It took a second for my paradigm to adjust to a world of happy people. A world where it’s normal for a friend to show up an hour late for dinner – only to hit you with a pura vida. No lo siento, it’s all good. No one gets upset, you say pura vida right back, grab some food and knock back some Imperials. Imperial is the Costa Rican Corona, by the way. It is literally the only beer found on the island. Being from San Diego, the beer was forgettable but who cares – Pura Vida!
Prince Ghuman is a reader, traveler, marketer, and crime fighter based out of San Diego, CA. Prince figured out the purpose to his life early – to learn. He lives by his trademarked motto ‘A.B.L. – Always Be Learning.” Prince’s favorite animal is a capuchin monkey.
Do you have an amazing vacation you would like featured on our Travel Series? If so, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear all about it! We may even feature you on the site – thanks!