One of the great things about joining a tour group is the known fact that you are about to share so much with a handful of people that you just met. This calls for everything from sharing experiences, stories, to beds and toilets!
You share moments and bond so quickly, something that some people never even experience back home. It's one of the many joys of travelling, you don't really have much of a choice but to become super close with people super quickly. The freedom to be yourself is always welcomed and encouraged, and you get to exist in a judgement free environment for those blissful weeks you are away with them.
One of the reasons I chose to join the Central Paradise tour with Life Before Work for the dates that I did was because my birthday fell in the middle of the tour! Now, I've always struggled with birthdays. I've always been surrounded by people, like my sister for example, who have had awesome people in her life plan something exciting for her. From surprise dinners and parties, to surprise birthday cakes being brought to our house for midnight. I was always really jealous of that, and wanted that for myself, but I always found myself comparing, or being disappointed.
I decided that this year, I was going to create the birthday I've always wanted for myself, rather than continue to wait for someone to do it for me. I thought, what better way than to spend it on a beach in Costa Rica. A few of the guys on tour knew when my birthday was, but I wasn't at all expecting it to be anything more than another party night, maybe with a happy birthday song or shot in there somewhere. After all, I was just immensely grateful to be away in such a special place for my special day. I wasn't expecting a thing.
The day before my actual birthday, the itinerary called for a pool party at an infinity pool over looking Santa Teresa. An un-official party I considered it, obviously because everyone is on vacation for their own reasons. What an absolutely gorgeous spot it was. Even if no one knew it was my birthday, I was completely and absolutely content. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend the day.
Except a few hours in, I experienced the most amazing feeling, the most amazing moment, I could have ever possibly imagined. Jorge, our guide, called everyone out of the pool for what I assumed was lunch, and me being as oblivious as I am, didn't notice until I saw him, carrying out a GIANT cake as everyone in my group around me starting singing happy birthday. I immediately burst into tears. These guys who I literally just met a few days prior, who didn't know anything about the facts I mentioned above, woke up early to go and buy me a beautiful cake to surprise me with.
I've never felt so much love in my heart. I was simply bursting with happiness and gratitude. A group of complete strangers, turned great friends REAL fast, quickly and easily made this birthday the most special and memorable of them all. They say what makes birthdays so special, is spending them with the people you care about. And spending my birthday with LBW was the best decision I've ever made. After the tears, and a quick thank you speech, I cut open the cake to find a Smirnoff ice inside that I then had to chug (it's the little things, right?) and we all continued to drink and party under the sunset with the most beautiful backdrop I've ever seen. I took a few moments to take it all in, as all my new friends laughed and joked away in the pool, and I thought to myself, I am truly blessed.
It just goes to show that putting yourself out there, literally and figuratively, even when you are uncertain, is always the right choice. Dreams really do turn into reality when you stop letting fear tear you away from being who you are meant to be. Thank you endlessly, my LBW family, for making this years birthday, one I will never forget.
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My name is Jennifer, I'm a part-time English student and a part-time server at a pub in my hometown, Vancouver, B.C. I love my dog, the gym, and I just recently caught the travel bug, so I'm here to document my crazy, exciting, anxiety riddled life as I discover myself and all the things the world has to offer.
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