True Nature Travels Blog

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Travel is such an amazing opportunity to grow our minds, expand our views, and develop our sense of community.

Now, what if you traveled with purpose? A chance to expand skillsets for the real world, network with fellow student leaders, and form a long-lasting relationship.
You have probably considered and perhaps have even Traveled aboard for educational reasons. However, committing yourself to a full semester can be a little scary and not to mention a little pricey.

Consider a week-long program with True Nature Education where you will reap the benefits and go on an adventure of a lifetime!


Top Universities, published a fantastic article of the top 25 reasons to travel abroad. So in case you needed a little convincing, we thought we should share!

1. It’ll look good on your CV

If you can explore a new country at the same time as picking up the international skills to gain a decent graduate job, then that’s pretty good going.

2. Brush up on your language skills

Remember the foreign language skills you picked up in school? No, me neither. Refresh them by studying abroad; you might be surprised at how much you remember.

3. Meet a diverse range of people

Your exposure to many different types of people will not only help you to develop your people skills, but it will also give you a firmer knowledge of others, both friend and foe.NSLS travel

4. Make lifelong friends

You may not love every single person you meet, but chances are that you’ll meet at least one lifelong friend (if you’re good at keeping in touch, that is).

5. Discover new and exciting foods

6. Study and learn differently

Often those studying abroad will experience a completely new way of teaching. This can be daunting, but it will also open your mind to new ways of learning.

7. Gain independence

It’s not easy being independent – to paraphrase Destiny’s Child – but it’s also a heck of a lot better than living with your parents as a 20-something.

8. Learn self-reliance

Moving abroad is the ultimate test in self-reliance. When (or if) you move back, you’ll likely rely on others less and you’ll take more responsibility for yourself.

9. You’ll gain a greater knowledge of different cultures

Cultural sensitivity isn’t just a quality which politicians may be accused of lacking; it’s also something you can develop while studying abroad!

10. See your own culture through a new lens

It’s easy to accept your own culture as absolute, but living in another country can help inform your point of view on your home culture, allowing you to develop your own views rather than simply accepting those defined by where happen to come from.

11. Learn more about yourself

Throwing yourself into a completely new environment will help you to figure out what you’re good at, as well as what you’re not so good at. These are things that can then be built on during your study abroad experience.

12. Become an adult

Speed up the transition from teenager to adult by leaping into the unknown. You’ll have to fend for yourself, buy your own meals and wash your own clothes, but it’ll all be worth it.

13. Gain life experience

One of the ultimate reasons to study abroad is to gain life experience. You’ll learn how to organize your life and condense it into one suitcase, handle unforeseen situations, be independent and self-sufficient.

14. Be spontaneous and adventurous

When you’re hundreds of thousands of miles away from home, spontaneity and adventurousness are your best friends. Open your mind up to new experiences and sights and the fun will come your way.

15. You learn to appreciate the smaller things more

Studying abroad usually means you have even fewer possessions than the average student, and being that much further from home can really make you miss those familiar comforts you’d taken for granted. Welcome to a new-found appreciation of everything from your parents’ cooking to having more than two pairs of shoes to choose from.

16. Gain a global mind-set

Whether it’s in work, study or play, you’ll be able to use your new global mind-set to back up arguments, inform your beliefs and steer your future.

17. It’s an unforgettable experience

Even if your friends back home get bored of hearing about it (warning: they will), your study abroad experience will stay with you long after it’s over.

18. You’ll appreciate your home and family more

Any memories of parental arguments or sibling rivalry will pale in comparison to your memories of how amazing they are. (Likewise, they’ll have time to forget about all your less attractive attributes too…) When you get back these relationships will look so much stronger!

19. Use your spare time to explore

In between lectures and lab sessions, studying abroad should leave you with plenty of time to explore. Whether you’re one for visiting iconic landmarks, trying new foods or bartering at local markets, there’s always bound to be a better way of spending your time than scrolling through Facebook!

20. Increase your international job prospects

While you can always go home at the end of your time as an international student, many choose to stay put and apply for a working visa. Even if you return home or decide to seek work elsewhere, the international experience provided by studying abroad is likely to be looked on favorably by employers.

21. Because “variety is the spice of life”

It might be something your dad says when opting for a different flavor of crisps at the supermarket, but it’s true; change, variety and new experiences are what make life worth living. Mix it up a bit: study abroad!

Whether you choose to do a week-long excursion or a semester-long immersement, go explore!


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Join us in Guatemala!


Guatemala is often known as the hidden gem of Central America. Steeped in its rich Mayan culture and dramatic landscape, the country has grown vastly in popularity over the past decade. True Nature offers a location on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. This large endorheic lake (one that does not flow to the sea) is the deepest lake in Central America with a maximum depth of 1,120 feet (340 meters). There are 12 villages around the lake, and each village has its own distinctive culture. The lake’s breathtaking landscape features three volcanoes and at an altitude of 5,000 feet in the Guatemalan highlands, the climate has been referred to as the “land of eternal spring.” Come experience the Mayan magic of Guatemala!


Some activities include:NSLS Travel

  • Ziplining
  • Waterfall Expedition
  • Rainforest Hike
  • Cooking class
  • Kayaking
  • Visits to local museums and churches
  • Mayan or Cacao Ceremony

You will also have the opportunity to engage in leadership-building activities and guided exercises to help support personal growth during your True Nature Education Global Program.

Some examples of service include:

  • Painting of local schools
  • Gardening at local schools
  • Lakefront or forest clean up
  • Village Community Building

Discover the unique culture, immerse yourself in the local community, and join our Guatemala adventure!




AUGUST 25 – AUGUST 1, 2020

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True Nature Travels Blog

Ever wonder what life on a True Nature Education retreat really looks like? Check out this awesome blog from True Nature retreater, Denneshia Brown, as she gives you an inside view of what to expect during a True Nature Italy retreat! 

Reflections on my True Nature Italy retreat

True Nature Italy Retreat6I am grateful for the opportunity to travel abroad to Tuscany, Italy through True Nature Education. My life was impacted in a way no words can express. I met a few the most amazing people while being there. Living with them for a week helped me to embrace no longer being an individual, but being apart of a family. From eating breakfast, lunch and dinner together to sharing the very same rooms and facilities, I wouldn’t have traded this experience for nothing in the world. Everyone was so diverse in their various ways including myself but yet we blended very well.

Our guides Molly and Franz did everything in their power to make sure we had a true and authentic Italian experience. They worked well together as a team and executed every tour and service project we involved ourselves in. They welcomed us with open arms to their home, provided us with comfortable beds and wonderfully prepped meals from talented chefs. Such amazing hospitality! The environment was just so friendly and relaxing that I didn’t want to leave. The atmosphere helped me unwind and leave my thoughts of negativity at home and the yoga sessions inspired me to take better care of my body. 

The experience that impacted my time being in Italy most was meeting with African refugees who traveled from their homeland to Italy in search of new and better life. I was able to connect with a few of them and I’m glad I decided to step out of the box and get to know them. They shared experiences both good and bad and I shared mine as well to show them that they were not alone. I encourage them as they encouraged me and we left lasting imprints on one another’s hearts. To know that there are people like me that have a passion to excel and achieve their goals let’s me know that I too am not alone on this journey.

I would love to travel abroad again through True Nature Education! This whole trip was an impactful one in various ways! I would recommend all NHSLS students to grab a hold of this opportunity when it comes back around, you won’t be disappointed.

About the Author: Denneshia Brown

Denneshia Brown, attending York College in Queens, New York where she’s currently pursuing a bachelorette degree in Social Work. Due to her life changing experiences as a teenager, she’s developed a heart for young people and desires to impact those lives with the various gifts and talents of inspired by creativity. An active youth and worship leader at her local church, she inspires youth to embrace being unique and to stand out amongst their peers in boldness! Inspired by her desire to travel and her recent trip to Italy, she developed an interest in social issues as a whole and hopes that in due time, she can help advocate for a groundbreaking change on macro level  for those in need.

True Nature Travels Blog

Day 3 and 4 of our great expedition was both educational and rewarding. For Day 3, we traveled to img_6626the KSTR or Kids Saving the Rainforest. During a tour of the facility, we learned just how many animals they had at the facility and how they were rescued or rehabilitated and released. Following that tour, we were put to work doing different tasks including helping prep the animal’s food, moving dirt from one area of the sanctuary to the another for some sloths and helping pain
t and fix a bird cage and changing out the animal cages. All the members saw numerous types of animals including white-faced monkeys, squirrel monkeys, porcupines and much more. For everyone, it was a very rewarding
experience and the staff at KSTR were so wonderful and supportive of us being there. It was a great service project.


img_6623Our next day, consisted of some fun including banana boat riding, parasailing and surfing. However, before the day started, we had a visit from a pack of white-faced monkeys at the hotel restaurant. The monkeys were very cool to see as we hadn’t seen many except at the monkey sanctuary the day before. The only not so cool part about our beach day was it sprinkled/lightly rained during our time on the beach. But I can tell you no one complained. We were all very happy to get some down time before our other activity of the day which was at the Miguel Antonio National Park. During that tour, we saw several things but the highlight was seeing a baby sloth (video link included). We also saw several species including crab, grasshoppers and lizards.


Everyone is continuing to support each other as most are still getting used to the climate change that we are currently experiencing with the weather changing nearly every day. Day 3 was very warm and humid but Day 4 started with rain for the morning and ended with sunshine. That was one interesting thing our tour guides, Mar and Marcela, mentioned the weather in Costa Rica changes all the time!img_6627


True Nature Travels Blog

I became interested in the True Nature’s Costa Rica trip last fall when my Citytech NSLS Chapter advisor, Alice Tucker informed us an opportunity to do service work in another country. At first, I was very excited to go because I like traveling and giving back to the community. In addition, I wanted to treat myself since I was graduating next year. I did not know what to expect, all I knew that I was going on a new experience that would change my life.

It did.

Service and Adventure Program 1

The great thing was that I was surrounded by other NSLS students from across the United States such as Georgia, Washington, Texas, Minnesota, California, just to name a few. These students were funny, exciting and hardworking people who loved doing service work as much as I did. I learned the impact of giving back to the community and its effect that it has on people when we painted homes for two families, which they expressed their generosity with hugs and a home-cooked meal.

Service and Adventure Program 2

The look on those families’ face made me cry because we were a part of making their homes as pretty as possible. This trip was not all about service but exciting adventures like parasailing and snorkeling, which I faced my fears of drowning. When I did parasailing, I felt like I was bird flying in the air and seeing all of the beauty of the country, it was an unforgettable sight that could not be described into words. With snorkeling, I was terrified but I was guided by one of the tour- men so I when I dipped my head into the water, I saw the beautiful blue and green fish that were swimming around my hands. What an experience! I could not believe that I was doing this.

Service and Adventure Program 3

Service and Adventure Program 4

One of the things that I appreciated most about the trip was that we were surrounded by the nature; all the trees, plants and animals (especially the sloths). I felt that I was at peace being surrounded by Mother Nature. Overall, I was really surprised and proud of myself for what I did, experienced and overcame to truly enjoy the trip. I will never forget this trip and encourage other students to attend, you will not regret it.

Fatimah Ojesanmi, Staten Island, NY

NSLS- New York City College of Technology Chapter

Find out how you can join one of these trips at

True Nature Travels Blog

When one travels, a new door is opened. A door that leads into a fresh world; full of growth, experience, and shiny new thoughts. With this expansion of our mind, different opportunities are born. We feel inspired and motivated. Why not expose ourselves to this type of transformation through travel?


True Nature Education is dedicated to bringing students an authentic and eye-opening travel experience. We partner with some amazing organizations so you can dive in head first into Costa Rica, local service, and non-stop adventure.

One component of the service adventure trips includes staying at a sustainable rainforest eco-lodge hotel, offering an intimate experience of primary rainforest together with a certified organic biodynamic farm. On this mystical eco-lodge is a man full of wisdom of the land, plants, and sustainable farming. As we deplete more and more of our resources, it is interesting and imperative we explore alternative farming methods, and Steven Farrell is database of knowledge.


As part of the trip, the students get to experience this first hand with a taste of what eco-tourism and biodynamic farming looks like.

Tico Times did a fantastic article about Steven Farrell and dives into what the lodge is all about……

“In 1994, a shaggy Gringo made his home at a remote little farm south of La Fortuna, in Costa Rica’s Central Highlands. He grew his living in the form of organic turmeric and ginger, and today that same hippie, Steven Farrell, oversees 207 acres of biodynamic farm at the same site, along with a spa, a rain forest yoga studio and an eco-lodge.


He welcomes guests to stay, rest and learn about the property, though it remains a working ginger and turmeric farm that accommodates more pigs, goats and water buffalo than people. I recently traveled to this far-flung green gem and received a lesson in what it means to be a biodynamic operation.

Basically, the farm takes a holistic approach to organic agriculture that incorporates the use of farm animals for fertilization and labor, as well as astronomical planting and harvesting. Biodynamic agriculture was pioneered in 1924 by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, and its sometimes bizarre practices are followed worldwide – particularly in northern California.

Farrell describes the biodynamic process as the homeopathic use of organics, cosmic energy, minerals and herbs to create a form of spiritual agriculture.

Farrell is a self-taught encyclopedia about the natural world surrounding his farm, and he can rattle off plant names in English, Spanish and Latin. When speaking of the flora’s medicinal qualities, Farrell beams behind his great white beard and excitedly tells you all he knows.

“You can come to this nice place to eat healthy, be well and have a comfortable vacation from the world,” he said. “But here you can also learn from nature how to live in a more sustainable way. We grow and eat food that is really food, not an imitation. Hopefully aspects of how we live here can be extended into your lifestyle, wherever you live.”998395_10151428786691930_446933591_n


Farrell and those who live at Finca Luna Nueva, including several interns, serve as sustainability guides with their educational nature walks, lovingly prepared food and simple kindness. Intern Cathryn Henning works the fields in the mornings in tall boots as a protection from snakes, and devises new ways to keep the turmeric and ginger plants healthy. In the afternoon she’s in the café, whisking up papaya-turmeric-vanilla-ginger smoothies and chocolates for guests.

“The farm is unique for its intention,” she said, which is to “re-associate” with nature by escaping worldly distractions and living more simply.

On the Sacred Seed Garden Tour, guests can smell and taste the sources of spices like cinnamon, bitters, and allspice. Farrell encouraged me to eat various leaves and bright fruits, which was an especially thrilling departure from the adult voice in my head warning me not to put strange things in my mouth.

On the jungle tours, the staff shares some of the most interesting tidbits about the local trees. For example, I learned about how matapalo trees use their killer vines to climb up other species and slowly strangle them. I also found out that the sap of certain trees makes excellent bug repellent (warning: when rubbed on the skin to deflect mosquitoes, the sap dries in annoying white streaks).

Around the property, ripe jackfruit, bananas and star fruit beckon to be picked from the trees. In the café, freshly made sarsaparilla soda and green tea kombucha are favorites, as are the whole wheat bread at breakfast, the yuca cakes filled with tree spinach at lunch and the coconut-crusted fish at dinner. For a lesson in food chemistry, ask Farrell about the “miracle berries” that block the tongue’s sour receptors and turn the tartest lemon into the sweetest dessert.

In addition to the fine organic dining, the property features an ozonated pool and Jacuzzi, an on-call massage therapist and a yoga platform ensconced in the rainforest. The rooms have especially comfortable beds that are regularly adorned with fresh ferns and marigolds. There is no television.

On her second visit, Oriental medicine and acupuncture practitioner Claudette Baker said she is fascinated by the healing capability of the farm. She’s organizing a yoga retreat there for a group of her patients who have survived cancer.

“This place has a simple elegance,” said Baker, who is from the U.S. City of Chicago. “Here there is no pollution or modern noise. The oxygen and energy is pure and there are few distractions.” ”

Interested in joining a retreat with True Nature Education? We would love to have you! Check out our abroad programs here!





True Nature Travels Blog

The National Society of Leadership and Success partners with True Nature Education to bring one of a kind service leadership programs to life in Costa Rica. Each week long excursion has a totally unique group of amazing student leaders who experience moments that truly shape their lives. This past trip was no exception. One of the participants, Joshua, shared with us how the True Nature Education adventure shifted his perspective and paved way for a remarkable future!
I wanted to share how rewarding I thought this experience has been for me. Being the first time I’ve been out of the country, and really the first time I felt independent from family and friends back at home, my perspective on life changed dramatically. I honestly can’t remember the last time I cried more than I had the day we were leaving, from the bus ride, to the airplane flight, and when I got home. I cried because of how much of an impact this journey was for me. And not only do I think that traveling abroad to experience the tourism spots and beautiful sceneries is spectacular, I feel it’s just as phenomenal to work hard to help families and projects to make a difference. I’m thankful for the tour guides and friends I’ve made as these connections and memories will last a lifetime, as well as for TNE to host this experience for students like you and me. I want to travel more, and I want to continue to make a difference. I want to keep seizing these opportunities, however they’re presented, and I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned back to my university and make as much of a difference as I can. Costa Rica will forever be the place that made me who I am today, and who I’ll strive to be. Pura vida!
Joshua attends Rutgers University, majoring in Astrophysics, graduating in 2017. If you would like to join a NSLS and TNE Costa Rica service and leadership program check out our website here! Registration is open and spaces are limited.


True Nature Travels Blog

Love in details…

And I start typing this letter while Costa Rica plays vs Canada.

All the family is together in our home, we are eating pejibayes and enjoying the moment. Soccer is part of the most important things for the Costa Rican people, you will discover this very soon.
Inspiration comes even when we pay attention to the game, to my three years old who is kicking a ball in my porch, to the rain that sometimes makes the tv signal become so poor… When there is not a good way to watch the game, we start talking, we imagine how interesting it could be to be there, doing our best in the soccer field…
Almost all the Costa Ricans are getting togetCosta-Rica-World-Cup-Gambling-Oddsher tonight… Almost all the Costa Rican are asking God to protect the goalkeeper… I am join them!!!
 Life is like a soccer game. We need to work together, we need to protect our team, we need to do our best… There are many people around, many people that are just watching, many people that are expecting to do the job in a better way, however they are just expecting to do it…They are not in the soccer field!
I feel passion for the colors of my flag. I am this kind of person who feels emotion when listening the national anthem, I am this kind of person who is proud about her country, about her planet, about the universe…
Tonight I am wearing my t’shirt…
Small details are the best! I just imagine how amazing it could be if I could have the courage to wear the t’shirt not only for the soccer game, but for life, for a better world. I’d like to have a team, my team, your team, our team…
It is clear we can make our best, we can make a difference if we all forget a7hjZj9K718ADrXbj8VKmr1LeHKnBwjtmci_lMaW75LQbout the limits, about the borders. If we play for a reason. If we play with love.
Seriously, life may not be like a game sometimes, however we can try to enjoy, we can try to play and have fun.
Having too many reasons to be happy, it is a waste of time to be sad…to be angry… to be indifferent.
A new volunteer team is coming soon, We are ready to start playing, enjoying, living the moment, experiencing love in the small details…
I love my family, I love to share with them, I am sure we all will love to share what we are, how we live, with you…
This is the second time and I am not sure if Costa Rica will win the game, however I am happy, I won… I spent the night in a happy way, I am still celebrating to have too many amazing people around and more people amazing people coming, like you.
See you soon, team!
Pura Vida!
-Lindsay Padilla

 Lindsay Padilla has been a dedicated True Nature Village Leader the past 8 years. She is committed to serving her community and supporting True Nature’s groups that visit her village. She is also a wonderful mother of two.

True Nature Travels Blog

IMG_20140325_164817 (1)We’ve had an incredible year of service in Costa Rica through our True Nature Costa Rica Service and Adventure Programs in partnership with national leadership organization, The National Society of Leadership and Success. We just wrapped up our 4th outstanding group of students last week representing “The Society” from chapters across the country, participating in global service missions in Costa Rica over Spring and Summer school breaks.

The Society/TNE programs bridge the two organizations’ shared mission to bridge the international community through service. With True Nature Education’s focus on mindful travel through service work on both the land and local communities throughout Costa Rica, Society members can expand on their dedication to the greater good of communities and become true leaders abroad.

1972248_10152204627005812_6132098145353937964_nFrom our March trip, Kathryn Hima of Stratford, Connecticut:

“I believe coming on this trip took me out of my comfort zone, no actually, it expanded my comfort zone. I feel I am a changed person now and that I am able to to see and experience the beauty of planet Earth. I will take the memories or Costa Rica with me as I keep on with my journey of life.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 10.46.57 AMFollowing the June program, Candice Wroblewski of Michigan shared that she had:

“A truly amazing, eye-opening experience. You get a taste of Costa Rica that cannot be duplicated. You get to see how the Costa Rican people live as well as the rainforest and nature. I will remember this trip and these people forever. The guides were incredible and you can tell that they genuinely want you to enjoy yourself. The trip and the friendships made are priceless. ¡I love Costa Rica! ¡Pura Vida!”

Our second incredible summer program, which took place in July, can be summed up in Tim Wilson’s description:

“It is amazing to see people from all over the country come together for one week and have so many new experiences and help so many people of foreign country. Unforgettable.”

Our final trip of the year wrapped up with our December program with another great group of students dedicating their Winter Break to service. Kendra Hopkins of Greensboro, NC, told us that:

“While on this trip I have found myself doing things I have never done before and accomplishing a lot. I have meet some of the most incredible individuals the States have to offer. I am beyond grateful for this experience!”


True Nature Travels Blog

It’s not everyday that you can play with monkeys, build a school, eat three delicious meals straight from the farmland you are staying on, take a swim and practice a little yoga. But, on a True Nature Education Service and Adventure Program, this is just one day during an action-packed week of activities. 
What is the Service and Adventure Program? 
“While on this trip I have found a piece of serenity. I have found a part of myself that I has long been missing, and feel so thankful to have made some lasting friendships!  I will never forget this trip and feel so blessed to have gotten to come.”
– Melissa Kraak, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Our Service and Adventure Programs are an exciting new way to experience the authentic rich culture of the incredible country while also doing work to support its people and communities through preservation of the land and the environment.  In a time where our world is becoming more and more of a global family, what better way to be part of the bridge of support we are creating?
We’ve got an amazing group of student leaders representing nationwide chapters of The National Society of Leadership and Success in Costa Rica this week spreading the global service mission. The National Society of Leadership and Success is a national service and leadership organization throughout over 400 college campuses around the country. Here is just one day from their itinerary this week:

7:30am: Breakfast

8:30am: Transport to BBI Monkey Sanctuary for Service Work

12:00pm: Lunch

1:00-2:00pm: Swimming

2:00pm: Service Work

4:00pm: Labyrinth Walk

5:30pm: Return to Karahe for Dinner  (Announcements for Next Day)

7:00pm: Evening Circle/Letting Go Exercise with Special Nature Items to hold on to



Our Service and Adventure Program can be customized for just about any type of group you have from a church group to a corporate business retreat.  We love working with our good friends at The National Society of Leadership and Success. 
“This has been the most amazing experience in my life. I feel so blessed and privileged to be a part of this trip and provide my services to help others! I have never felt more useful and purpose driven, than on this trip. I hope to take a lot of what I have learned back home with me and become more involved in other service opportunities around the world, as well as in my own country. I just want to thank everyone involved who has made this trip possible and for providing us with two wonderful people to lead us around and grow with us!”
– Jenny Modesitt, Monroe, North Carolina

As they close out 2014 with their last program with True Nature, we are excited as we look to 2015 for four more Service and Adventure experiences planned with them. They are also open to any other student from a university looking to get something more out of their school breaks.

What are you waiting for? Check out some more pics from our recent trip and call us today to start planning a life changing experience for a group of your friends!


Pura Vida!