What was once a barren field of typical posts about school, football and holiday excitement has blossomed into a vast garden of pictures and posts from my friends’ glamorous vacations and month-and-a-half long stays in countries all over Europe. I think right now I have friends vacationing or studying in: Germany, England, Portugal, Spain, Scotland, Italy, Czech Republic — and believe me, I know I’m forgetting some.
Man, do these pictures take me back.
Visions of summer mornings sipping my coffee at a café in Paris — oh no wait, that wasn’t me. Maybe it was getting lost in Harrods in London — no, not me either. Alright, then it had to be dancing the night away on a beach in Ibiza? Dammit that was, once again, not me. To paraphrase Step Brothers, “I have literally done NONE of those things.”
Here it goes. True Life: I’m 23 years old and I’ve never been to Europe.
While this is not actually a shocking confession, I can’t help but feel like I am one of few who haven’t been at least once. I’ll be honest, the biggest reason is because I’m lazy and don’t feel like planning a trip. The second biggest is, I don’t want to go backpacking, and if you’re not backpacking, a European adventure costs money — a lot of money — that I don’t have.
It’s my own damn fault, really.
Fear not though, I have had adventures, and they’re honestly probably more adventurous than your posh little café in Italy (no I’m not bitter about this at all).
But, no seriously, I might not have seen the Louvre, toured Amsterdam on a bicycle, or pondered my life on the Cliffs of Mohr. I haven’t dined on tapas, strudel or coque au vin. There’s nothing fancy or glamorous about the country I choose to have my adventures in year after year. In fact, it routinely even finds itself a spot on the “poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere” list.
My tapas— fresh plantains and watermelon, my strudel— homemade tortillas, and the coque au vin— pan friend chicken and warm potato salad. And before you start thinking this is a post about food, I assure you it’s not.
If you didn’t gather from the mention of plantains and tortillas, I’m talking about a place in South America — central rather.
Honduras is not your typical summer adventure destination, yet I’ve found myself drawn to it time and time again. It was by chance I ended up there the first time, but by choice the following times. With each trip, I saw something new, met some amazing people and made memories I recall on an almost daily basis.
I really can’t help but feel like I had a richer experience scaling ancient Mayan temples in Copan than someone sipping a latte in Paris. I’d be willing to bet I have fonder memories, riding in the back of a pickup truck through the mountains, than a person riding in an Audi on the Autobahn. O.K., that one might be a stretch, but I feel like I had a real organic adventure.
I’m not here to discredit European adventures, it’s an experience I genuinely hope to have one day. But what I am trying to do is encourage my readers to get off the beaten path.
Don’t be afraid to fall asleep in a hammock to the sounds of rainforest monkeys, instead of a bed in a hostel or hotel.
Dance the night away in a family compound in San Antonio.
Scale the ruins, jump Pulhapanzak Falls and climb through the sacred indigenous tombs behind it.
Eat the fish from Lago de Yajoa, drink the watermelon juice and eat as much potato salad as you possibly can.
Don’t be scared to rough it a little.
Just remember, don’t drink the water and remember to never flush your toilet paper.
And I realize this all seems contradictory, as I said earlier the one of the biggest reasons I’ve never been to Europe is because I didn’t want to backpack. What I’ve learned however, is that when luxury is not an option (even the smallest of them) you have no choice but to love and embrace the environment you’re in. You learn to make your own luxury.
So, next time you’re planning your adventures abroad, don’t be afraid of going somewhere unlikely.
Lindsey is half staff writer at Ambitious.com and half project manager at Dicks+Nanton Celebrity Branding Agency. For the record, she has been to Honduras a grand total of three times. She has climbed and jumped Pulhapanzak Falls barefoot… she does not recommend that to anyone. Follow her ambitious adventures on Instagram @la_ferg