We took another road trip to Playa Corozalito. The pothole-ridden, narrow road makes the trip slow, but interesting.
Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey. Driving that slow allows us to truly appreciate the jungle and wildlife surrounding us, as we are constantly on the lookout for new animal sightings. We are lucky and come across our first white-nosed coatimundus, known locally as pizotes. They are a member of the raccoon family and remind me of a mix between a monkey and a raccoon. He gallops across the road, pausing briefly to look up at us, and then disappears into the trees. Almost to the beach we notice a bush surrounded by hundreds of dragonflys, all different colors. We pull over to admire the sight. It appears they are all gathered for a very important meeting and are oblivious to our arrival.
Driving down the bumpy beach road we notice the beach is deserted and we find the perfect covered picnic table to claim as our spot for the day. The wooden hut is painted a turquoise that matches the ocean and the picnic table is surrounded by low-hanging coconut trees. We spend the afternoon walking the beach, cutting down coconuts, shell-hunting, body surfing the waves, and beach-napping. We stay hydrated with lots of fresh coconut water. Coconut water tastes like happiness. I’m so grateful for the image that will be forever seared into my memory of Andy karate chopping coconuts with a machete mid-air, on the beach during a lightning storm, wearing nothing but a bright blue sarong tied around his waist, like a skirt. You never know when you’re making a memory.
The thunder and lightning put on quite the show for us, as the afternoon storm rolled in quickly. I see five simultaneous lightning strikes over the ocean, and the thunder answers. The roar of the thunder matches the roar of the ocean, as if they are competing for our attention. The cool breeze of the storm filters through the muggy, salty air.
When we pulled in I noticed a pile of broken glass in the sand. It doesn’t look like a broken beer bottle, but more like someone’s car window was shattered. This puts me on edge and I tell Andy we better not wander too far from the car. In Costa Rica everyone says to never leave valuables in your car, locals will sneak up and break your window and steal your stuff in less than 30 seconds. A lot of times they hide in the jungle and wait for you to go swimming and stop paying attention. They know the roar of the waves will mask the sound of glass breaking.
As I was relaxing at a picnic table, Andy decided to go body boarding in the big, angry waves. I was zoning out, enjoying the sounds of the ocean and the birds. All of a sudden I got a bad feeling in my gut. Looking around, I didn’t notice anything to be wary of. The beach was deserted, we were the only people and the only car in sight.
I get up and slowly walk over to our car, and as I get close I notice the body of a man, shirtless, sneaking through the jungle in the direction of our car. Foliage blocks his face, but I watch as he takes slow, deliberate, stalking steps. The way he was walking gave me the creeps, like he was trying hard not to be seen or heard, and to blend into the jungle. It appears he is trying to sneak up behind our car, with the car between him and Andy. I assume he has seen Andy swimming and probably thinks this is his opportunity to break into our car, not knowing that I was there.
Suddenly I can see his face and our eyes meet. I watch the realization that he has been seen wash over his face. He is a deer in the headlights. In a flash he turns and sprints in the other direction, instantly disappearing into the jungle, confirming my suspicions that he was up to no good. I start to follow him because I wanted him to know he had been seen and that we were not easy targets. He may have gotten away with taking advantage of innocent, naïve tourists before, but this was his first encounter with an angry S.C. country girl from Oregon…
But I’m all talk (or writing I guess), and he melted into the lush jungle, never to be seen again. We were on high alert the rest of the day and felt as if we were being watched from the foliage. If he was watching us, I’m sure he was eventually scared off by Andy’s skirt-wearing-machete-coconut-chopping-beach-dance-routine.
animals are beautiful people…
October is a special month here. Slow season. The beaches are deserted, the town shuts down yet comes alive with a new vibe. The tourists melt away, replaced by authentic Costa Rican wildlife. The animals (and locals) seem to wait for everyone to leave, and then come out to enjoy the quiet world. Spending the afternoon at Playa Carrillo recently, we witnessed this first-hand.
Walking along the shoreline, to the tidal pools, we began the afternoon by spotting a stingray jumping out of the ocean in search of food, briefly flying parallel to the sea and then quickly disappearing below the surface. Up ahead we spot a recently hatched sea turtle egg, resting on the warm sand. A single pelican soars above us, prowling the water surface for any sign of life. A huge golden dragonfly flies over us, sparking in the sunlight. He must be king of the dragonflys, wearing all his riches on his back…
It is a perfect day for tidal pool exploring, the sun is bright and the water is clear. The pools are overflowing with sea creatures. We admire a pack of tiny electric blue fish, circling a sharp, black sea urchin. A gang of multi-colored hermit crabs, some the size of a grain of sand, patrol the sand floor, fighting for the best hiding spot. We notice a huge, bright blue puffer fish with yellow spots, trying to hide under a rock shelf, surrounded by a school of black fish, circling like security guards. A giant football-sized shell rests in one pool and we watch, with fascination, as whatever animal lives inside slowly maneuvers the awkward shell deeper into the water. We watch another puffer fish, this one yellow, try to swim from one tidal pool to another, briefly getting stuck in a shallow spot and furiously flapping his fins until he is able to move again. We are followed by a large monarch butterfly, while a smaller yellow butterfly follows him. As we are leaving we see a family of twelve howler monkeys swinging in a fig tree, howling at us. We howl back.
On our way home I ask Andy what he loves most about Costa Rica. He says “the beaches” and I say “the animals”, and we are both full of gratitude and appreciation for being able to spend such a beautiful day enjoying our favorite things.
Nature is painting for us, day by day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.
oh, the humidity…
As I sit in our 93 degree house, sweating everywhere, I try to focus on the positive things that I’m grateful for:
1) I’m grateful that when I take butter out of the fridge it is instantly spreadable, which my toast also appreciates.
2) I’m grateful for cold showers.
3) I’m grateful for my sweat rag. It is the most important accessory and I never leave the house without it. Sweat rags are the new purses.
4) I’m grateful for how moisturized my skin stays in the humidity, it’s like living in a sauna.
5) I’m grateful that I never have to melt my coconut oil, it’s always in liquid state.
6) I’m grateful for ice-cold water bottles, straight from the fridge.
7) I’m grateful for the ocean, always a little cooler than the air temp.
8) I’m grateful for ceiling fans, room fans, window fans, any kind of fan! Air flow is necessary. Now I just need battery-operated fans for when the power goes out. I think I’ll invent a small, portable battery-operated personal air-conditioning unit. How does this not already exist?? (Andy says that it’s impossible, what a Debbie Downer)
9) I’m grateful for my cooling peppermint body mist.
10) I’m grateful for when Andy leaves to run an errand and I can sneak into the bedroom and crank the A/C on full-blast for 5 wonderful minutes.
if you live like money is all that matters, you’re doing it wrong…
In order for us to move to Costa Rica and travel for a couple of years, we had to sell our house. Our home, that we loved dearly. Having lived in Bend, OR for over 10 years, we had already witnessed the booming real estate business crash and burn once. History is known to repeat itself, and we were worried this would happen again. So we decided to put our house on the market, pay off our debt, quit our jobs, sell our stuff and chase our dreams.
Finances have always been difficult, living paycheck to paycheck, making just enough to pay the bills. It was draining to spend so much time each week working, in jobs that didn’t satisfy us. Spending all of our time, the most precious and valuable thing given to any of us, on things we weren’t passionate about. We were both working hard, but to make other people money, to fund other people’s dreams, to meet other people’s goals. After working all week, we had nothing to show for it, except being tired, cranky and unsatisfied with our lives. We became slaves to our house, the mortgage, the bills and the maintenance of it all. The most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want, on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later. It’s pointless to work for the life you don’t have time to live.
In almost 2000 square feet, we had a huge backyard, a hot tub, a mancave, a steam sauna, 4 flatscreen TV’s, 3 HD receivers, 2 full bathrooms. But we were only 2 people. How typical of the “American Dream”. You work so hard, essentially giving away your life to other people, in order to collect “things” you don’t need, to impress others, resulting in your eternal misery. Yet you pretend to be happy and satisfied, because others knowing your true misery would be the real tragedy here, right? So we all smile, pretend, and fake it, not only to convince others that we are happy, but also ourselves. Why not create a life that feels good on the inside and not one that just looks good on the outside?
The day the sale of our house went through was an incredibly significant day in my life. I learned the most valuable, empowering and priceless lesson: that money doesn’t make me happy. Well, that’s a relief. Now I can go off in search of what does bring me happiness, and stop being a slave to the “American Dream”. If wealth brings you happiness, then the rich should be dancing in the streets. But only poor kids do that. If you want to feel rich, count all the things in your life that money can’t buy. Remind yourself that there are people so poor, that the only thing they have is money. The secret to having it all is believing you already do. Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress.
“DON’T GAIN THE WORLD AND LOSE YOUR SOUL. WISDOM IS BETTER THAN SILVER OR GOLD.”
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.