Well, I finally made it to Costa Rica! The people and their ways are called “tico” and I’ve been here just long enough to have a tiny bit of it rub off on me. It fits! I love this little beach town we landed in – Brasilito.
My daughter, Vanessa, is along for the ride – for the first two weeks anyway – and adding a ton of fun to my initial in-country experiences, just like she did when we went to the Philippines last year.
After flying Southwest Airlines and landing in the northern city of Liberia around 10:30 pm, we discovered the airport has no ATM! Luckily, they take US dollars or we would have been in trouble. All over SE Asia, I had become used to grabbing some local money in the airports.
A restless, uncomfortable and ridiculously expensive overnight stay in a very basic “airport” hotel in the middle of nowhere, was replaced in the morning by a shuttle ride through lush, green country roads and finally being greeted by Marcello at Hotel Brasilito, directly across from a mile-long stretch of sand.
We have had four fabulous days in this little town – strolling the beach, seeing a whale slapping its tail just beyond the beach, riding a banana boat, spending a few hours playing with the underwater GoPro, visiting nearby ritzy Playa Flamingo, and touring the fantastic Westin Golf Resort (the next post detailing that will blow you away) and tasting the local cuisine – trying a total of six different restaurants. But perhaps the greatest undertaking was learning the true meaning of “Pura Vida”, the national motto which means literally “the pure life.”
Relaxing was the goal for this portion of our trip and boy, did we succeed. Just take a look at the lady in the hammock. Next up Monteverde – monkeys, sloths, aerial canopy walkways and zip-lining – oh, my!
As I traveled around SE Asia for eight months, and even before I left, I was frequently complimented on my bravery for going solo and asked how I was managing to do it. Whether or not I was rich was the number one question (to which I answered a resounding “No”) followed by questions around logistics and finally some form of “I wish I was a brave as you.”
In my fifth month, I began to realize that some people just needed a little push to get out of their everyday grind and into a more exciting life and then decided I was the gal to do the pushing.
I spent two months writing a book, holed up in the little town of Melaka, Malaysia, pouring my heart out and trying to capture as many of the ways a person could pump up their life as possible. The product of that endeavor is Hug a Pink Elephant: Simple Ways to Add Adventure to Your Life.
I filled the book with some exercises, many stories of adventures of all kinds (some of my own and some of my friends’), quotes and action plans. I worked hard at making it light-hearted, a fun read and inspiring.
I hope if any of you are looking for a way to put more adventure into your lives, you’ll give my pink elephant a try!
I’m in the throes of planning my next big international trip and I’m having a hard time getting used to it being in another region of the world. As many of you know, I completed an eight-month sojourn in Asia recently, but the next is to Central America, with a possible slide south if life sends me that direction before coming back to the States.
I had gotten used to the flavors, pace, heat and humidity of SE Asia, so much that I feel a kinship of sorts with Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. These places I could easily return to with joy. As I look forward to the experiences I’m about to have in Latin America, I can’t help wondering if I’ll feel as “at home” there as I did across the Pacific.
Into this journey, I bring a Spanish-speaking history. My Pops was stationed in Venezuela while serving in the Navy and my mother and I went along. I was only twenty months old, so I spoke fluent Spanish before I spoke English. Do you think I’ve retained that ability? No way. I was a stubborn child at four and refused to be different than the other American kids when we returned to the States. However, to this day when I try to communicate in Spanish, words will magically appear that I didn’t know were there, so cross your fingers for me.
I’m studying my books on Costa Rica (the jumping off point), Panama and Ecuador. I’m planning on Nicaragua, Peru and many other countries as well. I find the process of reading the guidebooks – nearly always Lonely Planet – a bit overwhelming but fascinating and hugely fun. So I’ll continue on with the hope of being thoroughly educated when I hit the ground!