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Costa Rican hummingbird

On our community service trip in Costa Rica, the middle school Girls’ Leadership Club stayed at eco-yoga-lodge Rancho Margot, where all the food is grown on premises (even the little piggies for your morning bacon!). They gave us a two-hour tour of the property to show us around. The two hours were hardly enough, as […]

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Costa Rican poison dart frog

After an overnight whitewater rafting trip over class-IV rapids with 17 girls– the middle school Girls’ Leadership Club, I didn’t think the trip could get anymore exciting.   After much-needed hot showers, I heard the group of girls shrieking, as they generally tend to do for no reason. This time however, there was legitimately something […]

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Girls’ Leadership Club in Costa Rica

I recently returned from an inspiring week in Costa Rica with 17 students and another teacher Lisa Schiavenza from the middle school Girls’ Leadership Club at Menlo School where I teach in Atherton, CA. The Girls’ Leadership Club was established four years ago by Lisa Schiavenza, and she turned it over to me back in […]

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Mt. Chirripo, 12,533 ft, Costa Rica

Well, I’m fresh out of international travel stories. That’s it folks, for a while. Clearly in need of another adventure. I’m currently looking for suggestions for countries or regions. In the meantime, I’ll be doing “photo of the day” to keep myself thinking globally. Today’s picture comes from the top of Mt. Chirripo, Costa Rica’s […]

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Top 5 backpacker hostels in Central America, according to me

Recently it’s become apparent that everyone assumes I am a greasy-haired banshee in my tent braving the elements somewhere every night when I’m traveling. This is definitely not the case. While traveling across Central America for about 50 days or so, I think I only spent 11 or 12 nights in the tent. I spent […]

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On the bus to San Miguel de Sarapiqui, Costa Rica

I love Central American public transportation. No, really. I really do. When riding busses across developing countries with not-so-developed infrastructure, one really appreciates the gift of life. I’m not talking about the hijacking or holdups we read about on, I’m thinking more about one particular ride I took out of San Jose heading north. […]

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Ziplining in Costa Rica. I’m afraid of everything.

My friends who live in Costa Rica are a short motorcycle ride away from Recreo Verde, a popular canopy tour outfitter. I just had to do a canopy tour; it’s a classic Costa Rican tourist experience. But of course, I was convinced I was going to die the entire time. Between the heights and worrying […]

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Halfway up Mt. Chirripo, I realize I look like Gandalf.

The hike up Costa Rica’s “Middle Earth,” a.k.a. Mt. Chirripo (12, 533 ft), would have been impossible without the walking stick. The mountain is relentlessly steep and unbelievably muddy. You gain about 6,000 feet of elevation the first day. “Lightheaded” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Notice the mud? From that point on it only […]

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Central America + 2 outfits =

In an effort to pack light for my 7-week backpacking trip, I came up with the genius idea to bring one pair of pants (those crazy ones that, thanks to the zippers just above the knee, can be pants or shorts), one sun dress, and two tank tops. Interestingly enough, both tank tops were blue […]

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Costa Rican critters! (and the presents they give us)

One afternoon in Costa Rica my friend Andre and I went out to lunch in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean coast with our friends Helen and Dirk. We were enjoying our meal until this friendly fellow dropped a huge turd onto Helen’s sandwich. He was perched up on the rafters directly above our […]

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