March 12, 2018 | Stories from the road
For a memorable experience, just add water
By Madeline M.
Really picture it.
Now toss that mental image out, and picture a white sand beach and 25 newly-made friends cheering you on. Oh, and throw in some monkeys. This was how Dan, an EF Ultimate Break traveler, learned to swim.
As soon as we heard about Dan’s story, we knew we had to give him a call to learn more about his once in a lifetime swimming lessons. Originally from the Philippines, Dan lives in Chicago, and has had a taste for adventure for as long as he can remember. And after traveling solo a few times, he was looking for a change, and booked an EF Ultimate Break trip to Costa Rica.
“I wanted a new kind of travel experience, one where I could explore a new place and meet new people.”
When we asked Dan about the trip, the first thing he expressed was his amazement at how quickly the group bonded. “We were a very diverse group, coming from all parts of the country, and we got along well from the start.”
It was on Day 2 that the group ran into a surprise—Dan didn’t know how to swim. So, the group saw an opportunity.
The hotel they were staying at had a pool, and they wanted to give him a swim lesson, just in time for their beach day at Manual Antonio Park. Dan was game for anything, so they taught him the basics.
The next day, when they got to the beach, Dan was determined to go for it. “We all have our fears. I encourage people to just gives things a shot…you may end up loving it.”
As he headed toward the ocean, his fellow travelers joined him, cheering him on, offering advice and support, right there off a beautiful beach in Costa Rica.
“It was definitely a bonding moment,” said Dan.
Through group travel, Dan met awesome people who helped him grow and make memories, and of course, helped him swim sans water wings. While he hasn’t been swimming since (winter in Chicago doesn’t exactly scream swim season), he can’t wait to get back at it and has his group to thank.
“You just get to meet so many cool people your age. We all have wanderlust.”