Before traveling, I’m always thrilled by the places and things on the itinerary: mist-shrouded forests, small towns with narrow streets, strange foods and rare birds. But after returning home and shaking off the dust, it is inevitably the people encountered along the way I remember most. Their lives and stories are what imbue places with meaning, context and worth. It is — or should be — an honor to have the resources and occasion to traipse so through other people’s lives.
This jaunt down to Costa Rica will be the first time I’ve traveled under the auspices of Journalism, and it is the journalistic imperative underlying the trip about which I worry most. Reporting with honesty and nuance is hard enough in one’s hometown; doing so on a whirlwind trip through foreign lands seems darn near impossible. But I suppose that’s part of what we’ll grapple with the first two weeks of January.
So my hopes for the trip are these: To learn much, to see clearly, to write ably, and to do some justice to complexity.
— Caleb O’Brien