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Jennifer-Day 41- Nowhere vs. Somewhere Cool

Today, I am tired. The weekend is coming and I feel like I need to come up with something exciting to do. Last weekend we stayed home and nurtured our colds, but this weekend, I think we’ll be on the mend.

So, what do we do? We talked about going to Nicaragua. I have a rough plan for how this could be accomplished, but as I already mentioned. I am very tired today. I don’t think I’m faking it. I think I’m tired. So the idea of going to Nicaragua is just a little bit daunting. I mean, there’s a volcano erupting there. And I have no idea how much time it will take to cross the border (going both ways). We will only be able to drive up to the border of Costa Rica and then we’ll have to go on foot and take public transportation the rest of the way. They’re doing evacuations there so, are there hotels available? These uncertainties actually make the trip seem exciting to me, but not when I’m tired and still a little sick.

I asked Lydian this morning what she wanted to do this weekend and she said, “Maybe we could rent a car and then just start driving. We could pick a road and then pick another road…” It sounds like a glamorous thing to do in a way. Truly wandering, without even an approximate destination. But I don’t know if I could be this free-spirited. I’m too lazy to take a winding difficult path to end up back where I started or at a dead end in the middle of Nowhere Special.

She was, of course, put off by the fact that I didn’t embrace her idea immediately. Part of the problem was that we were jogging up the 5.4 hill and we really should be using a harness and belay system to be getting up and down it. It takes focus to get up a hill like that and I didn’t have the breath to spit out my thoughts immediately. But my thought was that  without a destination, even a rough idea of one, wandering leads nowhere. Specifically “Nowhere Cool”. The words “waste of time” went through my head (in a whisper so that I could barely hear them) and I wondered why (as I was panting and straining on our nearly vertical ascent). Perhaps I’d find something cool on a trip to Nowhere. As a kid I thought that this was possible. But, now as a fully formed adult who has been Nowhere cool lots  of times (by accident and on purpose) I think that if I aim toward Nowhere, that’s the best that I could find. I at least have to have a destination in mind. An actual destination, however lame. Then, if I get lost, the destination was lame anyway and I don’t have to feel badly about it. I think that wandering without a destination at all though builds a bigger expectation than wandering toward a lame destination. Because in wandering toward Nowhere I would hope to stumble across a gem of some kind;  some nifty little town or perhaps a unicorn. Anyway, there would have to be something notable. Otherwise a nap would be better.

Running up hill, it was hard to explain this to Lydian. If I had suggested at that moment, for example, that we leave our familiar little running path (up the hill and past the horse and speed bump to where the grass  grows waist high) and go off wandering through Atenas taking new streets and paths, she would have resisted. Perhaps this is due to a difference in the amount of effort required by her, though. If John and I rented a car and headed toward nowhere in particular, she could sit in the backseat and listen to music and stare out the window (and nap). In her mind, she’d travel to great and wonderful places while John and I fiddled with a map and made decision after decision (turn right this time, turn left, go down there, don’t go down there…what’s over there? Are we “there” yet?). In wandering toward an actual destination, there are breaks between making decisions where you feel like you’re heading in the right direction and you get to space off and imagine that you’re a cool adventurer, which can be enough to make the “adventure” worthwhile.

So perhaps we’ll go to Nicaragua this weekend, or perhaps the next, but I have to come up with a lame destination to fumble toward this weekend at the very least no matter what. Not to say that the experience of going to a place (any place) won’t be cool, but the coolness factor isn’t embedded within the destination itself (at least not here in Costa Rica), but the process of moving toward it. Perhaps this is why they don’t have streets or highways marked in the entire country. I suppose it makes the journey toward lame destinations more interesting and engaging. Like you’re exploring a new land full of possibility and perhaps unicorns.

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  1. travelingshipps

    I wouldn’t listen to music the WHOLE trip…. Just a little bit. It was my idea after all.

    October 2, 2012 Reply


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