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Throwback Thursday – Costa Rica Mission Trip

Since I started Like It’s Always Brunch a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about all the things that have happened in the past that I want to write about. I’m going to try and tackle one a week until I feel caught up!

In the summer of 2015 I had the huge privilege of going to Costa Rica with my family through our church for a mission trip. My mom, sisters, and I went there to work with the kids, and my dad went to lead a free medical clinic for local residents. Although I was excited to go to a new country and serve those less fortunate, I was also just really pumped to get to spend ten whole days with my sisters.

After two long flights and checking into our hotel, we finally got a little more structure as to what our schedule would be for the week. For the next five days, we ran a camp for the children of a local church. These are kids that would typically be sitting home while their parents worked and were as young as three. It was absolutely unbelievable how enthralled they were just to be with us. It was so humbling.

I spent half the week working with the little ones (under five) and the other half of the week working with the teenagers – what a difference. The little ones just wanted to be held and played with, and the teenagers all competed for our attention. I’ve never experienced that before – where I literally just did not have enough of me to go around. It’s an amazing feeling to be wanted that badly by kids who truly appreciated us being there more than I could probably ever imagine.

Although I was just obsessed with these sweet babies and wanted to give them all the love I possibly could, it was equally as amazing to me to see my three little sisters throw themselves into this trip and just give so selflessly. We had so much fun together and have some of the best/funniest/saddest stories ever to share now.

After running the camp, we were blessed with two days of eating at an amazing restaurant over-looking the city, visiting a coffee plantation, zip-lining through the rainforest, and taking a boat to a private island for a day of eating, water activities, snorkeling, and just relaxing on the beach. As nice as those activities were, it was really hard to enjoy when we had just spent the week with people who have next to nothing, yet are completely content with that.

I was really hesitant about going on this trip when my mom asked me about it a few months prior. I am ashamed to say that my first thought was that it was a week away from my boyfriend and friends and that I would have to take vacation days from work, and what if I wanted to use them to go on an actual vacation? After really thinking about it, I obviously decided to go, and it was one of the best decisions of my whole life. This trip taught me the importance of not being so selfish, giving my time to those who need it more than I do, showing love in any way that I can, and just stepping back, relaxing, and understanding parts of the world that are different from how my very sheltered life has been lived.

So if I could give any sort of advice when it comes to traveling or just doing something outside of your comfort zone, it would be to just do it. The hesitations that come with going somewhere we have never been or embarking on a journey that we may not know the outcome will dissipate as soon as it is realized how important it is to explore this world that we are so lucky to get to live in. Although the comfort of my home and routine is what keeps me sane, I need to remember how important it is to step out every so often and do something that I do not have control over.

I really believe that travel is one of the best things we can do for ourselves in order to grow, evolve, and become stronger. No one can deny that traveling is stressful and oftentimes exhausting. But in the end, I want to be able to show my future children with how I lived my own life that getting out of the ordinary is sometimes just what we need to reset and come back to our “real” lives with an open, positive mindset.

At the very beginning of January, Chris and I booked some trips for 2017 that we’ve been brainstorming for almost a year now, including:

  1. Houston, TX in March

  2. Saugatuck, MI in May

  3. Louisville, KY in July

  4. Napa Valley, CA in September

  5. Traverse City, MI in November

And add in some random little overnight/weekend trips here and there. It’s so exciting to have something to look forward to every other month! Just when one trip wraps up, we get to start planning out the next one. For us, it’s a great way to break up the monotone activities of our day-to-day lives. As previously stated, not that we dislike the structure, but everybody needs to mix it up every once in a while.

What’s the best place you have traveled lately? Any fun trips coming up this year?

#Family #Volunteering #CostaRica #MissionTrip #Travel

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