Vandalization is Vanity

Hello, wonderful readers! Today we’re changing it up from some of the travel content I’ve been posting and discussing “Urban Exploration” or “Urbanex.” Forgotten places possess an indescribable beauty and a tremendous amount of history. However, not all people seeking to discover these places appreciate history or beauty. “Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints,” is a common motto among urban explorers. Vandals, on the other hand, take everything but the kitchen sink and leave nothing but ruins. Exploring is a harmless hobby, meant to discover, photograph, and memorialize abandoned places. In fact, before the dawn of social media, many explorers didn’t photograph or film their adventures. But the hobby has morphed over the years, and most explorers double as photographers or videographers. The development of social media is great because it allows explorers to share their discoveries with the rest of the world.

Vandalization is detrimental to the urban exploration community for several reasons. First and foremost, vandals ruin everything. There are endless accounts in the community about explorers returning to a spot they discovered only to find the place has been trashed. We’re not talking about quality street art here, we’re talking about crappy tags, dicks, and swastikas. We’re talking about ornate alters and stained glass windows being reduced to rubble and shards. We’re talking about broken bottles, cigarette butts, and broken chairs. These people don’t see the history, beauty, or potential in these abandoned places. All these people see is an opportunity to scream into the void. I remember watching a video by Rare Earth called “The Bay of a Thousand Names,” which is about Grama bay in Albania. In the video, Rare Earth purports that the hundreds of historical inscriptions (aka, carvings in the stone) are people’s attempts to “leave a little reminder that they existed.” I wonder if vandals are simply people trying to leave a little bit of themselves everywhere they go. Moreover, I wonder if vandals don’t want to see history in each spot for fear they will realize the fleeting insignificance of human life.

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La Fortuna & Arenal: Free/Cheap Activities + Photo Spots + Transportation Info + Hotsprings

La Fortuna is a popular tourist area, and therefore not particularly cheap. However, there are still a few free and cheap activities. The difference between Monteverde and La Fortuna is transportation. La Fortuna/Arenal is spread further apart, so getting from location to location can be expensive. This is important! Sure, there are free hot springs, but getting yourself there and back drives up the cost!

Heading to Monteverde? Check out my cheap Monteverde guide.

All locations will be provided in Google Maps!

Some transportation options…

Shuttle pass rumors: Some hostels or hotels have shuttle passes, but getting information on them from TripAdvisor forums can be difficult. I stayed at Hostel La Choza Inn and used their shuttle pass, which was great, but unfortunately it’s been discontinued. I’d check back to see if they offer it again in the future, but don’t hold your breath.

Renting bikes: Check out this post by Costa Rica Travel blog for information about riding bikes. I really doubt you could bike to the free hot springs (plus where would you park the bikes) but you could bike the waterfall, El Salto, and roam around freely. Just be careful.

What about walking? Some locations we were able to walk to. Other locations were too far and/or there was no sidewalk or shoulder on the road. Again, for locations like the free hot springs, the national park, the Arenal lake, etc, you’ll need a shuttle/taxi/private driver.

“I took a public bus from [area here] to La Fortuna, where do I buy bus tickets to my next location?” Red Lava Tours (located right next to the bus terminal), or at least that’s where we purchased bus tickets to get back to San Jose. Public bus info.


Mirador El Silencio.

Arenal national park

Unfortunately, I did not visit the national park, so I’ll direct you to another resource here.

Tripadvisor page.
Cost: 17 USD per person.
Bug spray? Yes!

Mirador El Silencio

I wanted to try something different so we went to Mirador El Silencio. There’s a lake view (which we missed) and a fantastic volcano view, which I’ll get to in a minute. The trail is lots of walking up and down “steps” through a forested area. There is potential to spot wildlife here, but we only saw some pretty butterflies and many lizards. The real treat is the volcano view, which can accessed directly by following the road.

Read more!

What’s the plan?

I envy people who can see a clear path to their career goals. They know what they want to do, what they need to major in, and what types of jobs and internships they need to obtain. However, my selected career – sorry, dream, doesn’t have such defined limits. Often I find myself hopelessly lost in college, highly unsure if my major will pay off or if it’s simply a giant waste of time.

However, today I’ve finally put together a plan. After getting a 78% on an exam (and crying for an hour, because it’s the lowest grade I’ve ever gotten on any college exam…ever), I decided I needed to re-prioritize for my health and sanity. Cut to a day later, during a couples massage for my two year anniversary: I am finally relaxed enough to start thinking more clearly. What do I really want?

I think the obvious answer is: I don’t want to work in an office! I want to either be self-employed and/or work from home. I’d be willing to settle on going into an office once a week or once a month. It’s 2018 and I’m going into a business-tech field. I should be able to pull that off. There’s also my absolute dream of becoming a successful novelist. Working from home would be a huge advantage if I want to write on the side.

The National Gallery says that Goya recycled this canvas. Whatever was underneath wasn’t worth saving.

It’s amazing, I was lost for months years, trying to find my plan. And yet, it all came together within twenty-four hours. I think I was meant to have a breakdown yesterday, because I got right back up and put everything back together in a new way. It’s like art. I can paint and paint on a canvas but sometimes covering it all up and starting over produces a better result. Of course the layers are still there underneath, and they may peak through, but that’s part of it’s character.

In conclusion, I’ve learned nothing because my teacher emailed the class today saying she is allowing us to retake one of our exams! Hurrah!

Anyway, can you guess what my next post is about? There’s a hint in the post.

Until next time,