I have never been on a trip like Sustainable Summer: going to another country by myself and learning all about sustainability while hiking and seeing the rainforest. I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in my life. I went on the 21 day Costa Rica trip where we stayed at different eco-lodges all around the country. Everyday was packed with exciting activities and when I try to think of what my favorite part of the trip was, I start thinking of everything that we did, because everything was my favorite. One moment that stands out to me is taking a morning yoga class right next to a roaring river surrounded by the rainforest… breathing in the fresh air. We took a Latin Dance class at a ladies house with some of the local people in the town of Chilamate. Everyone was dancing, laughing and having such a blast.
At Rancho Mastatal, we learned how you can build the walls of a house out of natural materials. We mixed sand, clay and straw with our feet, smashing it around between our toes and drawing all over ourselves with the clay, which was so much fun. After mixing everything, we helped the people at Rancho Mastatal put this mixture on a structure that would become a house. Among all the beauty of the rainforest, the spectacular views stood out. We went horseback riding on a trail that wove around the side of hills, and from my horse I could see a whole valley where cows were grazing and birds were flying above: it was the most beautiful scene I have ever seen. We ended the trip at the beach. I swam in the warm water, laid on the beach letting the waves wash over me and I learned to surf, which I had never done before. Every night we journaled to different prompts about sustainability and what we did that day. I was able to reflect on how the trip was going so far. I still have my journal so I can go back and look at what my thoughts were during the trip.
As the photographer fellow, I took photos that captured our adventures and what we did. When I was taking photos I looked at everything with a different perspective then when I was not taking photos: I paid more attention to the beauty of all the places that we stayed at, all the incredible views and all the plants and flowers. When I told people that I went to Costa Rica over the summer, everyone asked what I did and I told them about the different activities. But, when I showed photos of Costa Rica, people could see what I did and get a better sense of my travels there. I believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, and photos can convey and capture the moment of what we did. When looking back at all the photos that I took, I can remember the moment that I took the photo and I almost feel like I am back in Costa Rica having the best summer ever. I enjoyed being the photography fellow and I learned through that role it that I really like taking photos and photography might be something that I want to pursue in the future.