On my recent trip to the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, I was surprised by the abundance of brown. Dusty brown roads. Barren snuff-colored trees lined the miles of brown and brittle grasses.
I’m not sure why I was so surprised. We were visiting the arid plains of Guanacaste during the DRY season.
Dry in that there is no rain.
No rain meaning no water.
No water meaning … ummm.. everything is thirsty.
We booked our trip to Costa Rica without doing a whole lot of research. Armed with a strong desire to escape the lingering chilly days in Atlanta, I hit the “book now” button on the rental home in Playa Potrero with ease.
Visions of lush green mountainsides and fields of brightly colored flowers filled my thoughts in the days that led up to our journey.
And then we arrived in Liberia.
And there was dust.
And … well… brown.
Don’t get me wrong, Costa Rica, even during the dry season, is spectacular. There are beautiful beaches, towering mountain ranges and breathtaking sunsets. Surfers flock to the region and the pace is just what the doctor ordered. Pura Vida (the law of the land in Costa Rica) is a synonym of “hakuna matata” – Life is wonderful; enjoy it. But I was not expecting the dry season to be so … well… dry.
We spent the first part of the week exploring the pristine shorelines, drinking local beer at makeshift bars set up on the beach, and immersing ourselves into the local culture. By day three, we were head-over-heels in love with Costa Rica–already talking about how to make this lifestyle a part of our future. But the golden-brown wintertime palette that framed the countryside weighed on me. What if the other regions of the country are greener? The rain forest. The Caribbean side. Maybe there we would find the bright tropical hues we imagined. What if we were missing out?
That question was answered over a pint of beer at The Beach House Bar and Restaurant on night three. Chatting with a couple from Chicago who had just made the three-hour trek down from Monteverde Cloud Forest, we learned that “yes, the grass is greener.” We also learned that the couple was happy to be back in Playa Potrero – loving the pace, the food, the beaches and the people. With limited time on their week-long vacation, they regretted their decision to drive to the rain forest – not because it wasn’t beautiful but because “the grass was greener, but it was just grass. And rain.”
It was a lightbulb moment, for sure. I spent the first part of my trip wondering what I was missing. Not fully embracing where I was because maybe, just maybe there was something more. Isn’t that what we do? Instead of being in the moment, soaking it all in, we are peeking over fences and coveting all that we don’t have — or that we aren’t doing. Everyone else’s life seems better. And yet when we arrive at that place we thought we had to be — it’s just greener. But not always better.
So, the moral of this story is obvious. There will always be forks in the road, decisions to be made – and I need to fully embrace where I am. Now. Today. Here. This is it. Green grass or not, this is where I am. This is what I am doing. And it can’t get much greener. 🙂