The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

                                                                                              -Lao Tzu

“…and also a layover in Dallas.”

                                                                                              -Mark 

Our whole crew, including eight students, two faculty members (my wife Laura and our colleague Sarah Easter), and one faculty spouse (me!) made it to Love Field on time. We were headed to Houston and then on to work with small businesses trying to get into Experiential Tourism in Costa Rica. (Note: The Costa Rica we are visiting is not the one you’ve seen on TV, which mostly consists of a thin ribbon of resorts along the ocean; we are headed to Turrialba, a small farming community in the state of Cartago.) What is experiential tourism, you ask? Instead of trying to keep you in a tiny sanitary bubble where you shift your mind into Neutral and chill out (like a typical vacation), you engage in experiences and encounters with people that enable you to grow and change. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a growing thing.

First things first; a huge thank you to Southwest Airlines, the “Unofficial Airline Provider of the ACU College of Business first ever Spring Break Social Enterprise Consulting Trip.”swa They’re the ones who made it possible for us all to fly, instead of traveling by llama, where bags most certainly do not fly for free. Despite their best efforts, a combination of bad weather in Houston and Air Traffic Control problems left us wondering if we would make it at all; in the picture below, all the yellow flights are “delayed” and all the red ones are “cancelled.”delaysSoon we were told that we would probably not make it out, and that our next flight would be Tuesday. Not a great start. llamaWe started reconsidering the llama option.

At some point we finally got some good news: our plane was on its way. Plus, there were enough other people going to Costa Rica that Southwest was going to hold our next flight until we got there to board. Woot! In the end, we wound up arriving in Costa Rica only about an hour late. Plus we got to sample Southwest’s delicious Plane Crackers, provided free of charge on plane_crackers_by_pajama_ninja_d4cdnxt-fullviewthe nation’s happiest planes. Yum!

We cleared customs. This seems like a given, but last time we brought students here, one was sent back to the US, so we didn’t take anything for granted. After a short bus ride to our hotel we finally hit the sack around midnight, grateful to be where we were hoping to be. We have warned our students over and over that international travel always includes surprises, but we had no idea this would apply before we even left Texas!

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Today’s fun fact: Costa Rica is home to more Costa Ricans than any other country on earth!