Our first adventurous travel outside the USA was to Costa Rica in February, 2015.  Looking back, I think our trip was very challenging, more so than our later trips to Spain.  I made a 3 week airbnb reservation, longer than I’d ever risked, bought plane tickets, and reserved a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  I got in a couple of months of Spanish language study, and off we went.

After arriving at the airport in San Juan, our first hours in the country alternated between confusion and terror.  We were supposed to meet a contact from the car rental agency, but didn’t knew exactly where.  We had no currency, and had never tried using an atm in another country, and our diesel suv was completely unfamiliar.

I wish I had watched this before deciding to drive in CR:


But I probably would have ignored it.

Despite all the ways this trip could have gone wrong, we had a great time in Costa Rica, and our eyes opened to the possibilities of travel outside of the USA.


My main lesson from all this was that we’re quite capable of coping with strangeness and surprises of travel, even in countries where we don’t speak the native language.  And that you don’t need to know much to enjoy a conversation with citizens of another country.

If you both want to communicate, you can find a way.