Over the past few weeks, my Facebook “On This Day…” feed has (mostly) taken a break from the statuses about boys and heartbroken quotes and instead turned to photos of luggage, mountains, beaches and baby sloths. I’m not too sure what I was doing last February – nothing exciting, apparently – but two years ago in February I was a month into my first solo adventure.

I can’t believe it’s been two years since I first stepped foot in Costa Rica – partially because it feels like I’ve been here so much longer and partially because I remember the excitement I felt as if it were yesterday.

I’m really enjoying these daily memories as it still blows my mind that less than two years after my first trip here, I’m living here. It’s a fun reminder of how far I’ve come in the past two years.

So, in honor of the two year anniversary of my first international adventure, I present you with several of my favorite memories.

Orosi Valley

from my first trip to Orosi, Costa Rica

Falling in love with the mountains. Orosi is a mountain town with not much going on. If anything, it’s a stop-over for people heading to the airport who don’t want to stay in San Jose. But the small town stole my heart – there is just something about the town that still hasn’t left me and I know I’ll be going back very soon.

Friend dinners at Montana Linda. The best part of solo travel is all of the people that you meet. There were not a ton of visitors in Orosi when I was there but I became close friends with the few staying at Montana Linda and we quickly formed our own friend group. They “encouraged” my first liquor purchase and we made group dinners nearly every night. One night we attempted bananas foster and ended up lighting ice cream on fire.

Studying Spanish at Montana Linda. It wouldn’t be fair to exclude the real reason I went to Orosi from this list. I spent nearly a month studying Spanish at Montana Linda. With 4 hours per day of class my brain was fried after a few days but it was still an experience that helped prepare me for the rest of my trip. Read more about my Spanish attempts HERE.

Visiting the Sloth Sanctuary in Cahuita. Visiting the Sloth Sanctuary is definitely one of the highlights of my entire trip and it was actually the inspiration for even going to the Caribbean coast in the first place. I learned so much on the tour and I still smile thinking of the sloth that tried to grab my phone. LINK

Partying at Rocking J’s. Orosi is a pretty chill town so there was no partying going on which I don’t mind but by the time I got to Puerto Viejo I was ready for some party. Luckily I was staying at the right place – Rocking J’s. Rocking J’s is THE party hostel in Puerto Viejo, with a few dorms but hundreds of hammocks and camping spaces. I’m not a big partier but it was nice to be able to drink and dance until ridiculous hours of the day.

Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua

Valentine’s Day at Laguna de Apoyo

Riding a horse on the beach. Riding a horse has been a life dream of mine and riding a horse on the beach was a huge bucket list item for me. Thankfully, it was a bucket list item I was able to cross off, thanks to the help of Bruce at Playa Chiquita Riding Adventures. The entire day is one of my happiest memories and when I head back to Puerto Viejo, I will definitely be stopping by here again.

Valentine’s Day at Lagua de Apoyo. Most of my time in Nicaragua was nothing special but when it was special, it was incredible. The absolute BEST day of my entire trip was spending Valentine’s Day at Laguna de Apoyo with Graceann and Kate. LINK. It was one of the most perfect, relaxed, and happiest days I’ve ever experienced.

For a trip that only lasted two months and with one month spent studying Spanish and most of the next volunteering, it was a pretty epic adventure.