By Harrison Mayesh
Assistant Circulation Editor
From the fast paced lifestyle of the South Bay, to the laid back culture of Latin America, former Costa junior Danika Smith plans to immerse herself into a different culture for the next few months while living in Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil and Nicaragua.
Smith and her mother, Johnna Smith, plan to stay in San Jose, Costa Rica for the first two nights of their three month long trip. After their time in San Jose, Danika Smith says they have no further plans for any other locations to which they will stay in.
“As we travel around, we hope to be staying in Airbnb’s,” Danika Smith said. “My mom doesn’t want to experience hotel life while being there because she thinks that disregards the whole point of living like a local.”
The inspiration for their move began due to Smith’s mothers desire for her daughter to experience life outside of Manhattan Beach and to see a world besides their own.
“I want my daughter to see life through a lens where she has peripheral vision,” Johnna Smith said. “Being in a new place, surrounded by people with different perspectives, will enable her to see life in a completely different light.”
As well as emerging into the Costa Rican lifestyle, Smith and her mother plan to work with organizations such as Houses for Humanity in order to aid the community and further educate themselves on the culture of the locals.
“While in Costa Rica, I really want to experience the happy Costa Rican culture and people there,” Danika Smith said. “There is no worry about time there because we aren’t on a set schedule and I love the thought of that. I plan to immerse myself into the culture by stepping into whatever comes my way. I want to feel like a local there and not a tourist and I cannot wait to see how others live their life in Costa Rica.”
In order to be able to pursue this adventure, Smith is currently finishing her second semester of junior year through the online school University Virtual High School. Smith plans to have completed her junior year, by the time of their departure on March 25th.
“At first, I really did not want to go to Costa Rica because that meant leaving all of my friends and school was also an issue that I had in mind,” Danika Smith said. “Then we had talks about it and I heard from many people that they wish they had this chance to do this, so I decided it was a go.”
In order to keep their family updated on their travels, the Smiths have created a daily vlogging channel on Youtube called “Johnnaanddanika.” Along with channel, they have also created several personal social media accounts which they plan to keep active throughout their trip.
“We have a social media account that we started so people can follow our Costa Rican adventure with us!,” Danika Smith said. “Staying in touch with family and friends is super important to us and this is one way especially that allows them to know where we are while we are there. Other than that we still can text and email them as well.”
Smith and her mother have many hopes for the trip and what it entails. Not only do they want to learn about the Costa Rican culture and give back and connect with the local community, they say also want to learn to see life differently.
“I hope that when I get back I will be more influenced and encouraged to live my life happy and healthy,” Smith said. “I think I will come back more aware of my surroundings and really understand the meaning of life knowing that it doesn’t take a phone that’s with me 24/7, to have fun. Experiencing the life there will hopefully change the way I think about things in a good way.”