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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!!!!














15 comments:

Shandi Brown said...

Gorgeous pictures!! I like the second, I could hang it on my wall. There is nothing better than a beautiful ocean calling my name!
I like your thoughts, I love that the bad economy has gotten most people on track to simplifying our lives. It's been a much needed change from the over indulgent, excessive spending that has been going on. I also read about your thoughts on change, I just think as a mom you see it every day in your child and it is so hard seeing them change before your eyes and knowing you won't ever get this time back! I hate how fast it goes! Anyways, thanks for the thought provoking ideas.

Kindred Family said...

Oh my gosh, Dan! I found your blog through Bonnie's and I couldn't stop reading. I am so jealous of your trip to Costa Rica - I just put it on my list of places I must go. You're very talented with both your photography and your song writing. It was really good to catch up with you (even if you didn't know it!) through your blog. Keep in touch!

Katie Barlow Kindred

Teren said...

hey dan cool pics. I really like the last one and the other sunset one with like a hill on the right side of the pic.

Lac said...

Oh my gosh I am so jealous. The other day while I was driving I had a really morbid thought. I thought that if all of my family died in a car accident with my husband driving and I wasn't in it what would I do. It was instigated by watching the show "21 grams" her whole family dies, so I couldn't help but put myself in her position. I decided that if that happened, I'd travel with Dan! Costa Rica looks amazing, you lucky son of a bitch! So glad you had fun! I love the shadow pictures mostly because shadows are perfect!

ash said...

Dan,
Your pictures are AMAZING! Costa Rica looks gorgeous and your trip sounds so cool! I have always wanted to go to Costa Rica... I am so glad you got to go! Hope you are doing good!

Tenille Gates said...

Aloha! Im so glad that you got to do something adventurous and exciting! We all need to get away sometimes and take a step back from our busy lives...it looks like you had a blast! You are getting so good with the SLR..those pics are amazing!...i like the close-up monkey one myself :0) probably b/c ive never seen one before (other than at the zoo) and have always wanted to! SO cool! I hope all is well with you. Pura vida ;0)

Nettie Martin said...

Top Three:

1- last sunset picture- green
2- monkey picture- the top one
3- the other sunset picture- warm orange and red one.

thanks for sharing.

Clayton, Jen, and Millie said...

Dan your pictures are seriously amazing! It looks like you had so much fun!

Aarean Jergensen said...

im so jealous. what a great trip! Where did you find the cheap tickets? my sisters are going over there in June and haven't gotten their tickets yet!

Malia said...

What an amazing experience you had!!! Great photos my favs are the last one (looks like the cover of something awesome!) the closeup of the monkey, the bamboo, and your the shadow shot! Sweet! Next stop Panama for some epic surf and photos! Seriously though come if you can we're gonna have so much fun!

Steve.Jeana.Preston said...

Oh you are SOOOO lucky!! I love all the pics and what an amazing trip! It is SOOO true how fast paced we are...I love the idea of a simplified life :0)

From the look of it, things are going good for you:0) i am so glad. Things here are good. Ryan is getting married on Saturday!!! CRAZY! My family says hello! My mom laughed out loud when I told her Dan Kettle, the boy scout, said hi :0)

Cody said...

radical.

Lac said...

Time for more Dan! I need to see what you're up to?

Annie said...

hey dan! i'm so happy to go to costa rica. i agree with you about the simple life... thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Steve.Jeana.Preston said...
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