He thought it would be a typical summer trip with his best friend. Beaches, rainforests, and Latin babes. NOTHING could go wrong.
On the surface, Chapter One: Costa Rica is a typical narrative of travel that is based on true events: as “our Holy Protagonist sets out for adventure to find himself and seek a moment of astounding enlightenment amid daring trials and tribulations…”, he comes to face his fears of hunger, thirst, heat, pests, heights, strangers, and exhaustion-and conquers them all. He fights off sweat, dodges hookers, and learns to surf and zipline in coastal Jacó. He battles rain, lodges in shambles, and explores the rainforests of Manuel Antonio. He climbs Volcan Cerro Chato and parties in La Fortuna, and then escapes certain death at the hands of Pat the Butcher in San José. He triumphs over his doubts and fears and returns from “this great and wild journey [with] a new discovery of himself and the world around him”. After just one short week of travel and introspection, he is changed forever.
But beneath this narrative is a heavy subtext: an examination of a 21st-century identity crisis. Set during the peak of the 2016 Presidential Campaign, it is a damning satire about what it any longer means to be an American. Serving as a caricature of contemporary America, “our Holy Protagonist” takes on such heavy themes as racism, sexism, misogyny, consumerism, and ignorance by examining-unabashedly-the very issues that then and now define the collective consciousness of 21st-century America.