I can hardly believe it.  I am settled in my window seat, flying BY MYSELF, to Costa Rica.

The nice lady sitting next to me asks if it’s for business or pleasure.

I feel guilty answering.  I won a free trip online.  Just for me.  My 2 small kids are with their dad going to see their grandmother.  They drove away this morning fighting and crying with each other.  I packed them up for their trip and then ran around packing myself.  I forgot rainpants, and I’m going to a rainforest.  I hardly ever travel without my family.  I didn’t know how to use the airport computer to check in.  I don’t know how to use the I-pod in my bag.

I sound crazy.  What kind of person leaves her family to take a vacation with strangers that she won on the internet?   I sound like I should be reported to the authorities.

Turns out my seatmate Meryl is an adoption social worker who has a son with special needs.  We have so much in common – so I tell her all.  How wonderful, but how hard it has been, all these years by my kids’ sides.  How right now, everyone is stable, good, and how I don’t know what next month will bring.  How when this opportunity came up, in a year where I’ve committed to saying yes to things that scare me, I couldn’t say no.

It’s being billed as the “Trip of a Lifetime” by Costa Rica Expeditions (http://www.costaricaexpeditions.com), the most established and reputable tour company in the country.  The president, Michael S. Kaye, a pioneer of eco-tourism, invited 5 active participants of his travel blog (http://www.vacationtimeisprecious.com/) to visit him in Costa Rica.  We will be filmed for their marketing purposes (hmmmm, hope that doesn’t end up on YouTube), participate in programs he is piloting and give him feedback.  There will be networking opportunities for me as a public relations pro, and untold opportunities to try new things, starting with this solo flight into the unknown.

Meryl takes it all in.

“This is such a good thing you’re doing.”

“Do you really think so?” I gush, breathing a huge sigh of relief.  “Because you’re a licensed professional!  And a mom.  Your opinion…”

“You have my official stamp of approval,” Meryl says, stamping her palm.  The sun is setting over New York as we take off.  Meryl smiles, giving me a thumbs up.

I grin the biggest grin, and look out the window.

Coming up:  “Bienvenidos a…Costa Rica!”  http://upside-down-patty.blogspot.com/2010/11/bienvenidos-acosta-rica.html

P.S.  How could I leave my children??  See here: http://upside-down-patty.blogspot.com/2010/10/separation-anxiety-mine.html


  1. YAY!! I’m so excited to read along the way with you!

  2. HURRAH!!!


  3. enjoy every minute – u lucky gal!! -EC

  4. Wow, Patty. This — and all of your other news — is so heartening and alive. Many many congratulations!