Saturday, April 4, 2009

COSTA RICA.. Discovering more then just epic sights

The beginning of march I was blessed and fortunate to go with my parents and brother and his wife to Costa RIca. It was kind of random how it happened. We had kinda been planning on going but with ticket prices being high and not being able to leave work when it was still snowing put everything on pause. Then my brother found these awesome deals on tickets and asked what i thought.... It was a done deal for me. About two weeks later we were boarding the plane. I couldn't wait to get out of the snow and back to the ocean. I couldn't even sleep on the plane. I was so excited too see what adventures were in store. We Arrived super late that night and stayed in a nearby hotel. When I go on a trip, I get into this kind of dream state mode where my eyes are glued to the window and im just trying to take it all in. People. Places. Buildings. Way of life. Its like a movie and the window is the screen. Its hard to realize that you are in a whole different world.

We tried to fit in as much as we could. Costa Rica is interesting because the central section is all mountains so when you have to drive from san jose the capital to the pacific coast your not driving tons of miles but its all through these up and down really windy two lane roads. Its one lane heading east and one west with the mountain and a cliff on both sides. So anything you do takes forever to get too but the drives are so beautiful.

I took a travel journal with me to write down things that I experienced or thoughts i had about their culture or way of life that I could learn from. Their were two major things I kept noticing. The first thing i realized was when we were driving the first day up to this active volcano driving out of the city into the country. A lot of people ride bikes or walk on the main two lane roads to get around. The houses their are very simple and small. Maybe two to three rooms total. Most houses just had a tin roof. I noticed a lot of the houses had furniture on the front porch and spent a lot of time visiting with people outside. On our way back from the volcano, we were heading back through the country and i was looking out my window and for some reason I had an awesome moment. We were passing this house that had the tin roof and was very poor in structure but met their needs. This lady was outside playing with her three kids on the porch. As i watched them, the mother and I made eye contact and she had the biggest smile on her face. A smile that said how happy and good life was and she seemed so content. It was the simple life and things that made her happy. Not the big screen tv or a new car. We were talking in the car and my sister n law posed the question if they were happier people than us. Without hesitating I said i had no doubt. We are too much caught up in the trivial and unimportant stuff in our lives. The news and the economy dominates our minds and thoughts. If we lived with what we had we wouldn't be in such a mess. it made me evaluate my life and to simplify my life. Doing so has made me so much more stoked. Im still trying to continue to do that. I thanked God for letting me have that five seconds of realization with that lady.

The Second thing I learned is about Pura Vida. A simple easy spanish translation is "Pure Life". Nothing to that really. But that isn't the translation for Costa Ricans. It has a deeper more meaningful translation. Its actually more of words to live by and a way of life then a phrase. Its much like "Aloha" for hawaiians. They say it all the time and its a greeting and also like if someone were to say "Hey how's life" you would say pura vida. I had heard this in some surf movies but wanted to experience it. One of our last days we went river rafting. It was with some local tour guides and it was a very small group. The guide and our raft was from there and we kept saying pura vida after each rapid we went down. Then him and I got talking and I asked him what pura vida really meant. He explained it like this. "WE'RE ONLY ON THIS EARTH FOR A SHORT TIME, SO SPREAD CHEER, AND THEN WE'RE GONE". I love that. It just struck home with me. Thats how i feel. We waste time and let our pride get in our way of really just feeling love and wanting to help people around us. I found pura vida and its true meaning. We need less blaming in this world and more love. It puts things into perspective as to what we are really suppose to learn down here. Slow down. Enjoy life. Realize what great things you are surrounded by.

Even as i was writing this blog its just mind blowing the things i was able to experience. It was complete unspoiled beauty. This trip was really unlike any other trip I had been on. I grew to love this place so much and the people. I felt like i was in my element which is such a pure good feeling. Just seeing and meeting the people told the story of Costa Rica. What they were about. One of the nicest things about the trip was not having my cell phone. It was nice to leave that behind and feel unattached and free. No one to call back. Exchanging my phone for my camera. I just felt such a sense of what life was like again without the conviences of technology and not being restricted or distracted. Pure freedom.
I can't say enough about my experience in Costa Rica. It really awakened my soul. Check out some more pictures I took and let me know which were your top three favorites. PURA VIDA!!!!