Costa Rica + Coming Home
We spent the last two weeks in Costa Rica, a country we’ve longed to visit for years, and now that I’ve seen it, a place I definitely recommend experiencing. The landscape is lush and green and inviting. The pace of life slows down substantially. Waiters never bring you the check until you ask for it because they don’t want you to feel rushed. The days start early, as the sun rises around 5:30am, and the locals quickly become busy with the tasks of the day. (Little known, unadvertised fact: You can purchase a round trip ticket from Dallas to Costa Rica for as low as $400 through SW Airlines Wanna GetAway fares.)
One of the things I love most about travel is discovering new spaces. I love it when I find a little place in this world that beckons as if to say “Welcome. This spot was made for you, for this moment in time. Stay and linger awhile.” I happened upon a few of those on this trip. These are the places that breathe life back into my soul, the babbling brooks I talked about in my last post.
I discovered one of these in the back section of the coffee farm Airbnb rental in San Isidro. It felt like we had stumbled upon the Garden of Eden. The perfect canvas of rich green vegetation, bougainvillea, honeysuckle, citrus trees, coffee plants, and a thousand other varieties of plant life, framed by mountain views on all sides, red-tiled roofs dotting the landscape. We could have been in Tuscany. Walking paths lead through the gardens down to a fresh mountain stream… yes, a babbling brook. Benches scattered throughout invite guests to sit and take it all in. You would think this place would charge admission, and yet it’s simply the back acre of our Airbnb owner’s private property.
Then there was the discovery of the Sibu chocolate gardens, tucked into a crowded neighborhood on the side of a mountain. If not for google maps and local recommendations, we would have never found this place. And yet it welcomed us in as if we had come home. Hot chocolate served in tiny cups on a cool, rainy afternoon. Cozy benches under a covered porch, a chef creating wonderful meals from locally grown, organic foods, the smells of coffee and chocolate and fresh rain falling. More of my favorite things.
Creator of fire and water, Your burning bush has turned into a bubbling brook and I have taken off my shoes, having heard you call my name.
The thing that strikes me is that someone at some point in time had to create these spaces. They started with raw land or an old building and a vision of what it could be with a little imagination and a good bit of old-fashioned sweat. They invested the time and the dollars and the TLC into the creation of something others would benefit from long into the future. Travelers and wanderers whom they would never even meet would one day happen across their path and be refreshed by the space lovingly constructed by a stranger as if God Himself had reached out His arms and embraced them with a personal invitation to sit and be refilled.
I planned this trip with the hope of experiencing life from a different vantage point for a few days and coming back with a full tank and some fresh enthusiasm for the projects at hand. And it accomplished exactly that. Being rejuvenated by someone else’s created spaces has affirmed in me the desire to create spaces that will welcome, nourish and inspire others for years, or even generations, to come.
So here I am. Back home on my own porch with a view very different from the breathtaking scenery of Costa Rica, and yet in so many ways just as fulfilling. It rained while we were away, so the grass is greener than expected. There’s a wonderful morning breeze with just a hint of fall in it. I hear the sounds of kids playing in the schoolyard a couple of blocks away. Life in this little town is back in full bloom. And in this moment I realize something. That, as much as I love experiencing new places, the best gift they give me is the confirmation that I am exactly where I belong. This right here… this fits.
Happy Labor Day weekend! Hope you can carve out some space and time for rest, play, and a fresh vantage point!
*Photos taken by Jarod Schmitt + Becca Stetson