5 Lessons from the Jungle on Redesigning your Lifestyle

I did everything I was supposed to do… but none of that made me happy.

5 min readJun 3, 2019


I was sitting in front of my computer. Staring at the grey ceiling of the basement in the luxury hotel where I worked.

I’d had this feeling inside me for a long time, but lacked the courage to listen to my inner voice—until that day. My health was in bad shape. I suffered from insomnia and depression. My hair was falling out.

What the hell, I thought. Why am I falling apart in my twenties? What’s wrong with me?

I did everything I was supposed to do. Got a career, a good job, a nice house, a boyfriend who loved me… but none of that made me happy with myself.

That night I lay in bed and truly listened to my intuition.

I wanted to change my lifestyle and become healthier. I wanted to leave my job, relationship, house—everything—and just start anew. It hurt so much to let go and felt almost impossible to walk alone, but I did.

To make a long story short, I chose me, and I arrived to the jungle of Costa Rica.

Jumping is the scariest thing I have ever done.

It has been almost three years since I took a leap of faith, which I can confidently say was the best decision of my life. My body and soul were screaming for me to take off my suit and leather shoes—and get out in nature!

I landed at Cascada Elysiana, and I am grateful and proud to say that moving to the jungle taught me so many lessons. I would like to share the top five with you:

  1. RE-program the mind. I learned to let go of my fear of nature — of the unknown animals and insects. I learned to live with nature and respect every being. I now know that nature is not here to hurt me, but instead each creature is on its own life mission and I am lucky if I get to be a part of it or witness it. Mosquitos pollinate cacao trees. You can’t hate mosquitos but love chocolate.
  2. RE-connect with Mother Earth. I am now in awe of the plants, animals and bugs around me. I did not have that special bond with Mother Nature before. Away from the noise of the city, I found I could listen to the symphony of the birds in the morning and the crickets at night. There was less noise within me, too. This connection with nature extended to food. So much of the food in cities is disconnected from nature. Have you ever seen a cashew fruit?! Did you know that raw cacao beans are dark purple? Witnessing food growing and then getting to eat it is one of the most special parts of my life here in the jungle.
  3. RE-discover the inner artist. I grew up doing all kinds of art, drawing, painting, clay work, and sewing. I had almost completely lost touch with this in college and university because I was trying to be an adult and work on my career and make time to party. Here I have the opportunity to be creative and get my hands dirty.
  4. RE-charge core power. My vitality. The power that always lived in me. Being in nature gave me new energy, and after a few months I felt like my feminine energy was ready to explore love again.
  5. RE-balance body and mind. I found the equilibrium I was seeking. That balance between health, fun, and working toward something I believe in. In moments of imbalance, I take time to exercise and meditate in nature. Afterwards, with a feeling of peace, I remind myself: Lauren, you are exactly where your are supposed to be. Trust. Believe. You can do it. Great job.

At Cascada Elysiana the people and the beautiful surroundings inspire me to become a better person. Every day, I feel motivated to learn more about nature and permaculture, and to grow this startup into a thriving project.

I invite you to come and experience it for yourself. Hosting a retreat at Cascada Elysiana or coming by yourself offers a unique opportunity to disconnect from the noise of the city—and your own mind—and plug into nature. The Eco-Lodge and Retreat Center offers acres and acres of pure green, a five-minute walk to an incredible waterfall that feeds so much life, and nutritious meals straight from Mother Earth.

Feel free to reach out to learn more about this incredible place! It makes me so happy to share this piece of paradise with others. Showing visitors the beauty here helps me fall in love with it over and over again.

Cascada Elysiana is an Eco-Lodge & Retreat Center near Dominical, Costa Rica offering a wonderfully introspective, remote and natural experience for Backpackers, Digital Nomads, Volunteers, Nature Lovers and Seekers of all kinds. We host Workshops and Retreats and offer Extended-Stay and Work-Trade opportunities with a focus on Environmental and Personal Well-Being.

Ready to redesign your lifestyle? Discover the beauty of this natural oasis!

About the Author

Lauren is a nature-loving Canadian who grew up in Ottawa, Ontario. She worked in corporate hotels as a manager for a few years before making a 180-degree life change to study nutrition and yoga, and eventually followed her heart to work in the Costa Rican jungle at an eco project and retreat centre in the making, Cascada Elysiana. She loves cooking, learning about food, creating art, dancing like no one is watching, and connecting with nature.

Editor: Toby Israel