Last summer when I told my dad I was thinking about quitting my job to travel the world, he, as you might have guessed, warned me strongly against it. “What are you going to do when you get back?” he asked. “You may never get another job as great as the one you have now,” he said. In short, it seemed he wasn’t too keen on the idea.
This concerned me. It also made me seriously think twice about the whole plan because my dad’s opinion means the world to me. He’s one of my closest friends and has been since my mother passed away when I was young.
More active and social than most of the people I know who are half his age, my dad is the type of person that all of my 30-year-old friends always want to hang out with. He’s also usually applauding me for taking chances in life, so you can understand why I was upset when he didn’t seem supportive of this particular leap of faith.
Still, by the fall I was convinced that I needed to take the plunge and I called my dad to tell him so.
“Wow! How exciting!” he said.
“What the hell?” I responded. “I thought you were completely against this?”
“Naw, I just have to say that kind of stuff because I’m your dad,” he replied.
Knowing all this, you’ll understand how elated I am that my dad’s come to join me for the penultimate week of my journey. It’s the most powerful form of support that he could have shown, in my opinion.
It was obvious that he was making the trek down south for me, but I was a bit worried about whether or not he’d actually enjoy Costa Rica. He loves roughing it at the cottage, but his vacation destination of choice is typically a swank golf getaway not a dusty Costa Rican jungle town.
Craig, my dad, my friend Amie (who is also joining us for the week) and I decided to rent a house in Nosara near a beautiful surf beach called Guiones that I visited for the first time several years ago. My dad was the last to arrive and as we drove through the desolate potholed streets of Nosara enroute to the airstrip to pick him up we noticed him already wandering around a ramshackle convenience store contentedly sipping an orange juice.
He hopped in the car telling us of the people he’d met the night before at his B&B outside the capital city of San Jose and rhymed off the many Spanish phrases he’d learned on his iPad. We arrived at our picturesque jungle cottage and it wasn’t long before he was on his way to the beach, boogie board in hand. The next day he had a new toy – the ATV you see him on in the photo above.
The past few weeks I’d been pondering where on earth I got the guts to go ahead with this amazing, yet completely insane, extended vacation. These past few days I’ve begun to realize that having an adventurous spirit may be hereditary.
“You’re a lot like me,” my dad said over dinner last night. “The way you look and act.” “But you’re also like your mom in that once you get an idea in your head about something you won’t let it go. She was so shy and reserved, but around certain subjects there was no arguing with her.” I think he’s right – I recognize this as a mix of sheer determination and utter stubbornness and I think it is simultaneously one of my best and worst qualities. It means I can follow through on almost anything I commit my mind to it, but once I’ve made a decision about something it’s not really up for discussion.
Maybe that’s why my dad ultimately reacted as he did to this particular drastic plan – he didn’t want to get in an argument.
It could also be that he recognized that this was a decision that was genetically predetermined by my DNA – a combination of wild Irish recklessness and tenacious German resolve.
On the other hand, because we are so similar, I think deep down maybe he thought it was just a pretty darn good idea.