Sleep deprived and exhausted from close to 20 hours of traveling, I stumbled out of my taxi – precious backpack in tow – and waved adiós to my friendly Tico driver. Luz en el Cielo awaited me, nestled so naturally into the jungle that it looked as if it pushed through the earth alongside the emerald green palms. The ocean was no where to be seen but I could feel each humid, saltwater-infused inhale begin to replenish my New York City weathered soul. Hello Costa Rica.
Early in the fall, something somewhere in my gut nudged me. “Hey,” it said. “You should book a trip to Costa Rica. February feels right.” Not one to deny intuitive requests for paradise, I looked into it. Costa, I’d heard, was safe, “Pura Vida,” sounded so idealistic and I would get the chance to put the Spanish I had been teaching myself to the test. I found a cheap flight and settled on a week-long yoga and surf retreat at La Escuela del Sol near Montezuma in Cabuya.
My one night in the heart of Montezuma was special. It is Costa Rica’s hippie haven. Somewhat touristy, it’s a teeny little town and a true community where people recognize one another and know each other’s names. Small sodas (local Tican restaurants) and shops abundantly populate the few main streets, catering to barefoot backpackers and locals alike. All roads truly lead to one of the multiple long, paradisiacal stretches of shore.
I met Simone, Leo and Josefine, solo travelers from Austria and Sweden. Together we shared an oceanside dinner and happened upon a less populated part of Playa Montezuma. We laid in the sand and listened to the meditative repetition of crashing waves while staring up at galaxies. Relaxed, we absorbed the energy around us emanating from natural purity and the magic of coming together, here, by way of chance and spontaneous opportunity opened to us through our single decisions to embrace the unknown.
I took this journey to give myself space. I needed to remember what it felt like to open myself up to the world and step forward into uncertainty. I needed a reminder that human beings are one with and part of a world and universe around us, rather than the masters and shapers. I needed a blank slate and unattached newness in order to clear my mind so that I could begin to process the adventure ahead of me that is the peace corps set in motion. I also needed mental space to begin to reconcile the person I had created and stepped into being in North Carolina with the person I had both become and reverted to back home. My beautiful adventure ahead was everything I had hoped it would be in the most heavenly of places.