My time in Costa Rica was very different to what I had expected. The people, the food and the culture all helped create an incredible experience which will live with me for the rest of my life. I have the next week to decide where my next move will take me, and the thought of returning to Costa Rica makes me very happy.
The volcanic beaches are enchanting, the people, both friendly and outgoing. The food is exquisite and the culture warm and infectious. Americas influence is present for sure but does not impede on the countries organic beauty. I felt more alive in this country than anywhere I have lived before. Maybe it was the rawness of the country and its natural surroundings, or maybe it was living without AC in the sweltering heat and humidity. My experience in Costa Rica reminds me of a travel quote about living in unfamiliar yet exciting places.
‘Personally I like going places where I don’t speak the language, don’t know anybody, don’t know my way around and don’t have any delusions that I’m in control. Disorientated, even frightened, I feel alive, awake in ways I never am at home.’
One of my favourite places in Costa Rica was my local soda, never have I experienced something so authentic and personal. I will miss the family who owned it just as much as their delicious food. But just like visiting any place for a length of time, every day will not be the tropical paradise you envisaged. What is important is how we react and handle times of struggle or bad luck. I remember one day in particular, Lewis and I were joking about the recent bad fortune we had run into. From standing on my laptop and smashing my iPhone, to Lewis getting bit by a dog.
Upon our return from our local smoothie bar the heavens opened and began to pour down on us. Lightning soon surrounded us as we cycled as fast as we could home. Faster and faster we peddled, the roads now rivers. We began to scream and shout through the desolate streets, at times breaking out into what can only be described as a deluded rock bottom confirming laugh. By the time we reached our apartment we were drenched, covered in mud and laughing hysterically.
It’s important to remember to stay positive and not look for the negatives in everything that happens. Not long after those unfortunate couple of days I spent a long weekend embracing the parades and festivities which transformed the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste, as they celebrated their independence from Nicaragua. I witnessed Costa Rica in all its glory, learning the traditions and their ways. I felt more connected to the country than ever before, and I realised how happy I was there.
I don’t know what I expected, but I loved the country nonetheless. Costa Rica is a special place, I really can’t say enough good things about it. It’s a place I look forward to returning to. As I sit here in Florida contemplating my next move I cannot help but think I should return right away. I’ll be back for sure, if not next week then at the very first chance I get.