at the start of the excursion, I was unaware of what I would expect to see.

this amazing scenery was our first stop. I will never forget how clear the water was.

 

Thus far, the trip to Costa Brava has been the best part of the program.  We hiked 12 km on Camino Rhoda Costa Brava. Understanding the importance of what I got out of the journey, are stories, and memories that will live on forever. Like many, I started the day being overwhelmed, tired, and pessimistic. The energy exerted to finish the expedition wasn’t as extreme to me. As long as I stayed hydrated and positive, the journey did not seem tough. This was more of a mental game at the start of our journey. We were met with rocky terrains and hilly paths. I was mentally preparing myself for the long journey.  Though on paper it sounded tough, starting it was a different story. Being able to have nature in front of myself changes the thoughts I had going through my head.  I was enthusiastic to get the hike done once we started. Where many were talking amongst each other to pass the time, I chose the opportunity to really take everything in. Finding the small beaches, hidden away from tourists, made the experience exceed my expectations. Being able to go to into the water and see all the fish and sea urchins clearly, is something that I’ve always enjoyed.   The hike reflects what I am grateful for which is the opportunity to be studying in Spain. I took many pictures during the expedition.  These pictures and ideas were not for the blog post but to send to my family back home. Though tired at the end, the feeling of accomplishing the hike was very rewarding,

 

 

These small boat houses are relics of a different time.

though rocky, people still enjoy the other aspects this beach has to offer.

 

My legs were sore but I knew that the hike positively impacted my physical and mental health.  The role that our environment plays on our health is vital. If I were to walk the same distance back home, the experience would not have been the same. The idea of living a structured life and heading to an environment where anything can happen is what changes the mood. I saw beaches and views many people back home only see in online videos, and I came to appreciate them. I was able to get up close and personal with hermit crabs and sea urchins. This is something that cannot be planned.  There was a point where our tour guide, Leyla, explained how the locals protested the privatizations and commercialization of those beaches. What I experienced in those few hours, is what the locals experience in their everyday lives. Though beautiful, I understood then the importance this environment has to its people. They not only fought for the preservation of the ecosystem but the preservation of the positive psychology the environment has on people. If it wasn’t for their perseverance, I wouldn’t have been able to experience this.  If we had more places like this back home, I think it would have a great impact on my community. Though we do have forest preserves, the beauty of this terrain and the aesthetics of the ocean cannot be mimicked.  Like the quote written on the wall in the image, “to love all of life because we only have one,” life should be appreciated. We should enjoy aspects in our life like this. These aspects allow for a different outlook on life.

at the end of our hike, we were met with a more structured pathway. this can symbolize our journey back to reality.

“to love all of life because we only have one”. – Unknown . reading this was a nice way to end the hike through the Costa Brava coastline.