The Beginning

By Emma Diltz

COLUMBIA, Mo. — I’ve never considered myself uncultured. But I know I’m not where I want to be. And the trip I’m about to embark on is one that is going to very quickly kick me out of the nest of my comfort zone.

Though I’ve traveled for years with my family to different places, I haven’t been much more than a tourist. But in a few short weeks, myself and nine other people are going to be going on the journey of a lifetime (for me, anyways) to the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica as field reporters. This is a trip I’ve wanted to go on since I knew Costa Rica was a place, not only just to add a stamp to my passport, but also to add an interesting chapter to my life’s book and learn an abundance while doing it.

In preparation for this excursion, I feel like I’ve learned so much already, but it’s also given me a glimpse into what I’ll be experiencing throughout 12 very short but very full days. I’ve tried to wrap my head around all of the exciting and exhausting adventures I’ll be participating in, but it has only made me that much more eager and nervous, because the thought of traveling internationally is riveting, but, traveling alone makes me a little apprehensive. While there, I’ll have the opportunity to meet fascinating people, as well as expand my knowledge on the species that inhabit that area and learn more about the country as a whole, which to say is cool is an understatement.

For me, going to Costa Rica isn’t about trying to get a tan or just to say I’ve been to an exotic location. More importantly, it’s about delving into the culture of the country and learning that there is so much more out there than the small town I grew up in, or even Columbia, Missouri. There are people who still embrace the beauty of nature without trying to tear it down for profit, as well as people who have lived a lifestyle so different from what I can imagine. And I know for me, Costa Rica is only the beginning, as I want to take what I learn there and apply it to other places I hope to go to in the future.

While there, I am going to strive to live life in a way that helps me the embrace the differences instead of shutting them down, and I aim to walk in the footsteps of people who live an alternative lifestyle. Ultimately, I want this experience to equip me with the journalistic skills and knowledge to prepare me for a life of field reporting on issues from politics to culture. Through this journey, I want to grow as a field reporter, but I also want to grow as a person. Though I consider myself accepting of everyone, I know there is always room for improvement, and I feel that as a journalist, it is so crucial to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

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