Because I do now count the tourist trapping areas located just off of a Carnival Cruise boat, I have never really been out of the country.  The is due partly to the lack of opportunities I have had to do such, although if I had to admit it is largely due to my irrational, though intense, fear of airplanes. I have, however, decided that this fear will no longer keep me from experiencing the world and when I heard of an opportunity to study one of my favorite animals, birds, in Costa Rica I could not pass up the chance. I am filled with such a mix of emotions, from extreme excitement to some pretty intense butterflies but above all I am thankful for the opportunity to truly live out a dream.  Preparing for this trip has been different from any other experience I have had. Thinking ahead of what I will need for three weeks in the tropics is far from what would be needed for a typical summer spent in South Georgia. But now as I look at my suitcase  filled with hiking clothes and shoes I could not be more ready and excited for what the next couple of weeks will bring.