Our Co-Founder Mitchell Roy shares his thoughts on TVP's inaugural trip to Costa Rica.
As one of the founders of The Vacation Project I thought I knew what I was in store for on our first trip. Being involved in the meticulous planning that it takes to put together an experience like this endowed me with an air of certainty, a feeling that I knew what would be around every corner of the experience. I could not have been more wrong. Planning prepares you largely for what you will experience but not how you will feel while there.
It wasn’t just the feeling I got at night (and early morning) walking through the Osa jungles in pursuit of nesting female sea turtles to monitor and tag, while being stalked by howler monkeys. That was excitement mixed with a bit of nervousness about the monkeys; a phobia that has lingered since I was four, born out of some marauding monkeys stealing my prized cereal (I’ll elaborate on this one some other time). It also wasn’t limited to the incredible food and beer we enjoyed at Fuego, quite possibly the most beautiful brewery setting in the world. That feeling was glee with a lot of laughter, playing charades with my fellow founders and friends who joined us on this inaugural journey.
This trip ran the gamut of emotions but if I had to distill it into a singular word I would use fulfillment. I don’t mean a superficial fulfillment spawned out of volunteering at an NGO and believing I’m a foreign savior who cured the ills of the country by picking up a shovel (though I couldn’t be more proud of what we did at Osa Conservation and know our assistance was valued). I also don’t mean fulfillment in the sense that we pulled off a successful trip after all of the hard work we put into creating it (though that did feel great). I’m speaking to the fulfillment that comes from partaking in a complete endeavor. The best way I can describe this is if you’ve ever had a day where you woke up, got to hang out with your close friends, got to go to that restaurant or bar you’ve been meaning to check out for a while, and just enjoyed yourself from the moment you woke up to the minute you fell asleep that night. A complete experience. That’s what I left Costa Rica with, fulfillment that can only come from doing something that satiated me to the core. Then sharing that with a group of friends. I wasn’t prepared to feel this profound fulfillment and I suspect the next trip will leave me with a feeling that I won’t quite foresee as well.