When I think of all of my vacations, only one comes to mind’ the month I studied aboard in Costa Rica’ where the luxury of the latest technical gadget involved 2 cups held together by fishing line. While this may be an exaggeration, the fact that my Motorola Razor traveled well was nothing to balk at. Do you remember those thingsâ€¦thin little boogers weren’t they? Needless to say, it is obvious that I wasn’t a trend setter when it came to traveling ‘well-equipped.â€ I arrived in Quepos naked internet free, not knowing a single person in hopes that I could survive with little to no communication tools. While many speculated, I made it out alive and consequently wrote a 7 step guide to vacationing gadgetless:
1. Let the locals be your Facebook
The first step is getting to know the locals and in some cases, actually living with them. I resided in a beaten down house on the outskirts of Quepos with Mi Madre Mirna, and el perro Negro dejas de Club Bananaâ€¦for those of you who do not speak broken Spanish, this means I lived behind a Club named Banana. I was able to expand my network by simply talking to everyone I ran intoâ€¦Mirna’s neighbors, taxi drivers, the owner of Mango Bangos, surf instructor, cops, etc. It’s amazing the amount of free ceviche one will obtain by befriending Pepino the bartender.
2. Play games without a controller
If you follow step 1, you will find yourself being invited to participate in local activities that do not involve a computer screen. Some games might include, Toothpicksâ€¦
Other games might involve putting a cup on the groundâ€¦any location will do, and grasping a quarter between your butt cheeks. The ultimate goal is to make the quarter in the cup, but be prepared, this game attracts many spectators.
Then there is everyone’s favorite…Spanish Twister…
3. Let the sun be your clock…watches are for cowards
Marinate if you will and imagine your days where the sunrise and the sunset are your alarm clockâ€¦that’s Tico time baby. I realize it’s difficult to comprehend, but you would be shocked at the amount of stress that is lifted when your life is not run by a clock. So on your next vacation when someone asks why you left the Rolex at home, just smile and say, ‘Pura Vida!â€
4. Do not wait on a Yelp review, try the food
Let’s be honest, sometimes it is just better if you don’t know.
5. Waving with purpose will alert taxi’s much quicker than a phone call
It is understandable that without a mobile device you will be experiencing text withdrawals, so I urge you to put that energy into waving down taxis. If you are confused, please revert back to step 1.
6. Use your internal Google Map
It is amazing the things you might find while aimlessly wondering about the area…
7. Put down the iPod and sing-a-long
There is nothing better than experiencing new music, especially if you are traveling outside of the country. Find opportunities to join in, even if it does involve holding a piece of wood while flicking a single string.
You do not have to try all 7 steps at onceâ€¦I do not want to send anyone into culture shock. But try one every once in awhile, I promise it will make your vacation that much more fulfilling.