I'm not really 100% where to start with this whole 'getting back into blogging' thing, 8 weeks is a long time to be away in a world where things are old as soon as you hit publish. More than that, I'm not really sure where to even start - I've had the most incredible experiences, met amazing people, seen things I never could have imagined seeing and I feel like I've been on a journey that's far deeper than just miles physically travelled. If I'm honest, my uncertainty about where to start is more of an uncertainty about whether I can find the words that do the memories justice. And there are so, so, many memories. And so many pictures.
So I'm starting at the beginning, and I'm not sure how long this story will take to tell. More likely than not it'll be governed by how quickly I sort through the pictures (probably slowly). Having said that, there are less pictures than I anticipated, particularly of Costa Rica. Still a lot, because old habits die hard, but less than I thought for sure. Some parts of the world are just better when you're not seeing them through a viewfinder. Sometimes living the moment is more important than recording it, y'know?
I left England from Heathrow airport on Sunday 30th June at 12:15, on the aisle seat of the centre row of a Boeing 777, flight number AA39 and bound for Miami International. Remember how I met some of the people I was going with in London over Easter? I met Scott just before security & after an awkward 5 minutes where we both stood there trying to figure out if it was indeed the right person we said goodbye to our respective families and cleared security. I remember the whole morning, the drive to the airport, the coffee with Mum and Kev as a bit of a blur - I'd spent a year looking forward to this trip and after months of planning the last few weeks seemed to rush away and I was suddenly standing in an airport.
We met another couple of girls in the departures lounge, grabbed a meal deal from Boots and then stood in front of the departure boards waiting for our gate to be announced for approximately 400 hours. True story. Flight 1/11 was a good one, I was sat next to a really friendly couple on their honeymoon (also headed to Costa Rica) and although I missed out on lunch (don't eat your meal deal 5 minutes before they serve lunch, you won't be hungry...), dinner was actually pretty tasty.
We had just over 2 hours in Miami, but by the time we'd cleared immigration, gone through baggage control and re-checked our bags through to Miami there wasn't much of it left. One thing this whole experience has taught me is that time is weird in airports, I'm convinced they are magical places that do strange things to the passage of time. At the gate for flight 2 (Miami > San Jose) we met up with another 3 people & headed for San Jose. It was a shorter flight but seemed to take just as long as the last one, maybe because I'd been travelling all day but I think anticipation had a lot to do with it as well! By the time we landed in San Jose I was tired & so glad that I'd booked an airport hotel. My rucksack even had its own double bed ;)
My alarm call came too early Monday morning & I'm not entirely sure whether I answered the phone properly or just mumbled incoherent rubbish at the poor receptionist. Oops. The internal flight I was catching left at 8:20, we met for breakfast at 6:30 & caught the shuttle to the airport so we were there an hour in advance. We didn't need to be there an hour in advance. Nope. Calling it an airport is a bit of a stretch to be fair... While we were in the 'departures lounge' I was conned out of 13p by a security officer who "wanted to see what English money looked like". Lies. Our plane was small (it had a propeller!) and the flight was short - but amazing. It was my first real look at Costa Rica, and we flew low enough that we could see the ground the whole way. We flew beside mountains and over forest, across fields and over the ocean. It was hands down the best flight I've ever been on, I think I'm definitely a fan of small planes!
Camera's were allowed and it took me a fair while to whittle down those 'out the plane window' shots, I tell you. Tough stuff. There is so much I could write about sorting through pictures and deciding what to keep, but I'll save that for another day ;)
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