Giddy Up

We are closing in on my last few days here in Costa Rica. I decided to cut my vacation in half, mostly out of boredom. Once a new opportunity presents itself, I immediately become bored with the current one. I was offered to be flown to West Palm Beach for one of the biggest horse shows in America. A dressage rider, who is working her way up through International shows for the first time, was in dire need of a groom for the last two weeks of the show. I had applied for the job as a home groom for her prior to this offer, and hadn’t heard anything back, so I safely assumed it was a no-go. Completely out of the blue, I received an email from them stating that their current groom had an emergency and needed to go home immediately. 

“Alrighty, I’ll do it.”

Why not? Free airfare back to the states (earlier than the round-trip ticket I have), plus two weeks of show pay (= 💰💰💰). 

As soon as the Florida gig is done with, I am flying back to (home-sweet…) California to pack the hell out of my car and hit the road because…drumroll please!…I’m headed to South Carolina for work. 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that means I am driving across the entire girth of the US. I am clearly putting a large amount of trust in my little car. 


I am rather excited because the job is with a trainer I worked with the previous year, and it is an amazing opportunity to really improve myself as a rider! Grooming, I feel, is a strong point of mine, but when I keep taking strictly grooming jobs, I lose out on being trained myself. Pay is not quite as good when I’m receiving more riding, but excellent when I groom.  

It’s a catch-22. 

So begins my last adventure in Costa Rica. I’m on the bus to Monteverde, to do some crazy adrenaline pumping zip-lining and bungee jumping in the midst of the rainforest. 

I better see a damn sloth. 

Zombie Caterpillars

Do you know about the psychological projection theory, otherwise known as blame shifting? 

No matter where you work, live, or travel to, you are going to experience this phenomenal piece of psychology. 

Narcissistic people are the best example of this theory. When a person is a narcissist, they are under the impression that they are the best. Absolutely the winner of all, and never to be held accountable. Correct them on a simple error, and you are automatically to blame for them having that error. 

Humans naturally defend themselves against their own unconscious needs or qualities (both positive and negative). They do this by rejecting the existence of these qualities in themselves, and allocating them to others. 

The most common projection is of guilt. It’s a form of defence that comes naturally because, lets face it, who wants to be at fault when there is a problem at hand? That is the difference between people. Those who are willing to accept their mistakes, and actions, are the ones able to bypass most of the projection theory. Accepting your wrong-doings is the mature route, and most respected. 

So the moral of this rant/informative post, is just to take action for your faults, and not blame others! We are only human, and can never be perfect. Misunderstandings are a part of life, but it is the way we handle them that really displays who we are. 

How to Raise Your IQ By Eating Gifted Children

Everyone knows how much I love to travel. It’s just a bug I can’t seem to shake. 

I’m currently living in Costa Rica. 

The land of jungles, beaches, and American retirees. 

I volunteer at a hostel five days a week, in exchange for housing and food. It’s a rocking deal, really.  

The businesses down here are very competitive, as are most in this world, but the one I work for is much more so than the rest.

There are many competing hostels in the area, all within super short walking distance of each other. This can be a bit tricky when it comes to keeping a steady flow of tourists walking through your doors. 

The past two days, I was sent to a nearby hostel in order to obtain an inside, tourist perspective, as to why they are receiving such a high number of reviews in the very short time they have been open. 

Let’s do a comparison!!

  1. My hostel, (A) Hostel Casa del Parque, focuses the most on encouraging a welcoming atmosphere and home-like facility. They are very keen on including guests in games, and chats, and share food they are cooking if anyone else is around. It’s a quiet place. The rival hostel, (B) Hostel Urbano Yoses, focuses more on a modern feel, where guests are left more to mingle on their own. Common rooms are very airy, with windows for walls (sitting room, dining room, game room, and kitchen). Staff is extremely non-inclusive. A bit of a louder place. Free computers to use, and a pool table to boot. 
  2. A costs anywhere from $10-15 per night (for dorms), and $30-40 per night for private rooms. B costs around $10-12 per night for dorms (I’m not sure about private room rates). Prices are rather similar, but B averages cheaper. 
  3.  A provides the kitchen and utensils to cook for yourself, with no meals given during your stay, but provide free coffee and tea 24/7. B provides a breakfast of two pancakes, a cup of fruit, and coffee, as well as the kitchen and utensils for full access. No coffee and tea are provided 24/7, though. 
  4. Both hostels have the option of reserving a private room with single or multiple beds (some including a bathroom, and some not), or the dorm setting, with shared toiletries. A provides single beds in the dorms, whereas B provides bunk beds. 
  5. A is very centrally located, near the pedestrian only areas. B is further out of town. 

Both places are lovely, and provide a unique experience. I enjoy having the opportunity to travel to each of these hostels, and provide my own workplace with my experiences, for them to further improve themselves. 

This is just the first of many missions I am going to be sent on! 

Vertical Forests

Do you ever want to get away? From technology? People? Civilisation? 

I do, a lot! It is such an overwhelming world we live in. So many stimulating factors. 

My backpacking adventure around Ireland was my last BIG escape. I escaped work, constant phone notifications, 99% of our modern-world stimuli. I used my phone only to let my family know I was alive (rarely), and to post photos from all the amazing places I was visiting. It didn’t feel like I was constantly needing to check into the world. I had control. I spent most of my time walking alone through the country. 

I talked to people only when I wanted to (which, if you know me, I like to socialise!). I hitchhiked when I needed to cover long distances quickly. I walked when I had the energy, the time, and the need to be away. 

I covered nearly 1,500 miles around Ireland, and only 1/5 of it was spent on public transportation. The rest was walking, biking, and hitching rides from the good people in this world. 

Have you ever wondered if people who pick up hitchhikers have souls desperately wanting to do the same, but don’t quite have the courage? Or do you suppose they’re mostly former wanderlust travelers, such as myself? 

The most amazing people I have met in my life were because of a risk I took; a step into the fog, not knowing what lie beyond what I could see. 

Nerves are easily distracted with a few beers. 

Jolly Emerald Hills

It’s been nearly a whole year since my last post! I suppose time does fly when you’re having fun! 

A whole lotta travel has happened since I last spoke about my European adventures… (too much for one post, I’d say). 

I did the West Highland Way with my friend. Well, more like attempted. Neither of us knew fully what we might  encounter. There was not enough mental preparation for the adventure ahead. 

It began on a Monday, full speed ahead! First, a quick train ride to Milngavie from Glasgow. Easy peasy. I liked it already. The moment one steps out of the train station, and walks nearly 200 meters, a welcoming sign glistens in the sunlight overhead (yes, sometimes the sun does show its warming face in the U.K…); “West Highland Way.” 

Alright. Here begins the challenge!

We walked, and crawled, and shuffled, and walked. Did I mention we walked a bit? 

The trip in total is 96 miles of pure Scottish countryside. The views one witnesses are unlike any other.. 

You just don’t see this natural (unfiltered!) beauty in a lot of places. A piece of my heart will forever stay in Scotland ❤️ 

We continued our walk, increasingly becoming more and more exhausted, between rain storms and no sleep, covering less ground each day. By day three, we were so blistered, our equipment was failing, and there was snow foreseen ahead (in May!)! As much as we did not want to quit, for our safety, the white towel had to be thrown in. 

Alright, WHW. One mark for you, zero for us. Next time we will be more prepared!

Let Your Imagination Run Wild

My time here in Scotland is coming to a close. 

These past six months have been incredible. I have done more here (touring), than I have anywhere else, and even still, I’ve missed seeing A LOT of history, facts, and other fun things. Sometimes I wish I could stay longer, but there is so much out there in the world I have yet to explore. Everything happens for a reason. 

My next adventure will be the West Highland Way backpacking trip:

It is 96 miles of beautiful Scottish countryside, and towns, which takes approximately 5-7 days to complete. There are many different walks to do here, but this one struck me the most. Driving through the highlands will make anybody wish to hike through them, camping along the way. 

One of the people I met while spending my time here offered to hike it with me, so at least I’ll have fun company along the way. 

Immediately following the completion of this expedition, well 3 days after, I fly to Ireland for an even more adventurous adventure. I will be backpacking for 30 days, beginning in Belfast, then traveling north, and setting off counter-clockwise to cover every inch of the coast, back to Belfast. I then fly back to Scotland for either a departure back to the U.S., or another European country (I cannot make up my mind). 

Everyday is a winding road! It all takes us further along this path we title “Life.” We meet everybody for a reason or a season, impacting us in different ways. We go everywhere we go, and do everything we do for a reason. We are meant to live our lives to the fullest and be the best we can be. 

Do it! 

5 Things..Plus Some

So, I haven’t written in a while. I guess my excuse is that I’ve been too busy planning my future adventures..

I mean, stressing over my future adventures.

Anyway, I decided I want to write something about my life in Japan.

Japan was an adventure, to say the least. It was my first “out of North America” experience, and yes, talk about ‘BAM,’ culture shock.

I want to write about the 5 GOOD things that shocked me the most while spending my three, long months there.

  1. The language! This was the first thing that almost made me regret my decision to fly there altogether. I promise you, there is absolutely no English anywhere. No English signs, no English maps, and definitely no English speaking people. It’s not the type of language that you can attempt to dive into, either. No Latin origin means no words that you can haphazardly sound out. Ever want to feel like you’re in the Twilight Zone? Go to Japan. Since Tokyo is one of the largest, and most tourist popular cities in the world, you would think there might be the slightest bit of English. Not a chance.
  2. The food! Sushi. Ramen. The Japanese LOVE their food. They love to go out to eat A LOT. It’s not just going out to order one dish, and possibly dessert. It’s going out to order about 10 dishes, and dessert. I found it especially difficult in deciding what to order when we went out (about 3 or 4 times a week) because I have a fish AND shellfish allergy. Yup. Talk about living in the wrong country. I became quite skilled at avoiding pretty much any authentic Japanese restaurant, except Coco’s (a family style sit down restaurant), and an oh-so-favorite Indian restaurant that I cannot remember the name of. Throughout my stay, I had a difficult time grocery shopping on my own, as I had to guess what the labels on food packaging said. I became better at reading the kanji by the end of my time, but still had to guess a lot (this also falls under #1).
  3. Driving! Oh boy. Where do I begin? For starters, the driver’s side AND the driving lanes are completely opposite what they are in the U.S. This was extremely scary my first couple of weeks. I never crashed, but there were a few instances where I turned into the wrong lane in intersections. Also, I had never driven a manual car before. Not successfully, anyway. One of my day to day tasks was to drive a manual truck. Let’s just say, that after 1,000+ stalls and bumps into fences and doors, I managed to be quite the skilled truck driver (we’re talking about a truck that is about the size of a Ford Ranger). It’s something I actually have on my resume.
  4. The hospitality! Japanese people are so giving, and care a lot about the well-being of their friends and family. My employers were some of the most caring people I have met. Whenever I went out to dinner with them, they always paid. They were constantly ordering sweets to put out for us employees to nibble on in the offices. Also, they took me on day trips to hike or explore the Japanese culture. At the end of my visa, when I was leaving, they gave me a large amount of gifts as a farewell and ‘thank you’ for my time and effort. I always felt appreciated.
  5. Japan has countryside? Believe it or not, Japan is not all hustling and bustling cities and towns. Where I lived, Nasushiobara, was about five minutes outside a small(ish) town, in a beautifully set farm. My job was to assist with the everyday care of a horse farm, as well as groom and ride some of the horses. It was like home (I grew up in the middle of nowhere, basically), with the soft noises outside, helping me sleep. Definitely, if you one day decide to visit, make sure to go outside of the cities, as well as inside!

Another thing that really shocked me, that I could write about all day, is the culture in general. Japan, and Asia, is known for its strict up-bringing of its children, and its focus on staying very traditional. School is no joke, and conforming to society is a must. Everyone must blend, and not stand out. When you are in Tokyo, you notice the things people will do to try their hardest to stand out. This anti-conforming is a fairly new thing, that my generation (the 90’s) is bringing about. We seem to be more about change, and not sticking to traditions. I think that this is an extremely difficult issue for Japan, and Asian cultures, to realize and accept, because it means going against thousands of years of traditions and family values. One example of this anti-conforming, is the ‘unwritten’ rule about only wearing slippers indoors. Some of the workers that were around the same age as me decided they did not always want to take their shoes off to go inside our housing units (dorms/apartments). Sometimes, they would run in with muddy shoes, grab an item from their room, and run back out, leaving a lovely mess for those of us without slippers to step in.

Also, isn’t it a massive stereotype for Asian people to be extremely clean and articulate about their belongings? I have never met messier people in my life. Those that I shared living space with, you guessed it, never once cleaned up after themselves. They would leave rubbish everywhere, as well as coats and shoes. I found myself taking care of their stuff more so than them.

Mold is a huge issue, due to the humid climate. This being said, you would think that they might do more to prevent mold from growing. Nope. There was pretty much always mold everywhere I went. Kitchens, sitting rooms, laundry rooms, shower and toilet rooms, and floors/walls in general. It was fairly unsettling, making me never feel 100% clean or comfortable.

I do not want anyone to think that I am bashing Japanese culture and life. I loved the time I spent in the country, but had my dislikes, as I’m sure everyone has about their travels. It was one of the best experiences I have had, and I learned so much during my stay.