“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” -Pema Chodron
I haven’t worn makeup in eight days.
The pre-vacation manicure I squeezed in before flying off to Costa Rica is long gone. Scrubbed clean away by the sand and salt.
The flat iron I shoved into my suitcase during those last moments of vanity before closing up the bag, is still zipped inside –along with about 50% of the clothes I thought I needed to bring.
What made me think I would need things from “that life” in this one?
This is my second time in Costa Rica and what I love most is how easy it is to just be. Pura Vida, the pure life — it is everywhere, and if you spend any time here, it feels like the most natural way to live. And there are a ton of people doing it.
On the first day here at the beach, we met Captain Jack and his wife over beer and Pina Coladas as we watched the sun make its sleepy descent into the ocean. They were on the tail end of their three month stay in Costa Rica. When I asked them what they had been doing with their days since leaving New Brunswick’s cold winter, they were quick to share that they had been doing an awful lot. Taking the bus and exploring the beaches that lined the coast. Trips to the fruit stand or the Super Wendy for breakfast or dinner fixings.
Mrs. Captain Jack told me that the thing they noticed most was that they ate so differently here. So much cleaner and simpler. Fresh fruit every day for breakfast. Fresh fish and vegetables for lunch or dinner. She boasted about her recipe for fresh tomato and avocado salad that she has made almost every day.
And they walk — like crazy people, she tells me. Skipping the bus often, they just walk from one beach to the next.
And when they don’t feel like doing anything at all, they do that, too. Things like sitting at Las Brisas, sand caked to the bottom of their sandals, sipping drinks at sunset.
And then there’s Rick, the Canadian who stopped us to see if we were in need of directions when we were exploring a long dusty road. Rick moved here two years ago with his wife and two kids and absolutely loves it. He moved here “because I can live anywhere there is an International airport, so why not?”
Harlan owns the new restaurant, El Castillo. He moved here eight years ago from up north and it’s clear, as he glides from one table to the next, greeted by happy patrons, both visitors and residents – he is home.
The house we are renting is in Surfside–a large community of ex-pats that was given its name by a Canadian living here. Which I think is very cool. It’s a fantastic house, within walking distance to the beach — and the fruit stand, and restaurants. And a private pool with great outdoor seating. We spent two of our days just hanging out here and doing a lot of nothing. Highly recommend looking it up if you’re thinking of headed this way.
The woman who handles the rental, Colleen, is also awesome. A Canadian (of course!) transplanted to Costa Rica five years ago, she now lives on the beach — a privilege she tells me. She teaches yoga and manages rentals in the area. She took the leap. Changed her life. Sold everything, including her house and her car, and took a chance on a new and very different life in Costa Rica. I’m fascinated, of course, as we sit and chat today about how she ended up here, far from Calgary. Looking so relaxed in a light sundress, her hair pulled up, there’s a definite spark in her eye as she tells the tale. And I’m all in. I’m so intrigued by the idea that there are different ways of doing this thing. The life thing. Here, in a place where you don’t even need a boat to catch your dinner.
While our time here in Costa Rica is coming to an end, I’m feeling so grateful that I was able to step outside of my norm and into this other way of living – if only for 10 days.