How I Was Deeply Impacted By My Second Day In Costa Rica

Today was one of the most important days of my life. I was deeply impacted by what I saw, what I felt and the places that I went to.

I was deeply humbled by the experience and I know you can get an important moment of introspection out of this story, so read along with an open-mind.

Last Night: We landed in Costa Rica late last night, around 9 PM. It took us about two hours to get to the hotel from the airport. That experience was bundled with driving in fog, driving down a one-way street (my bad y’all) and the GPS not working. I highly recommend you get a map, use it and have your directions figured out ahead of time. Believe it or not, there was a time where the entire globe could use a map. Now, if you take our iPhones away from us, where would we end up?

After arriving at the hotel, we went for a little walk in our neighborhood of San Jose. I don’t recommend walking at night, alone in San Jose. In fact, we only stayed in San Jose because the flight in land so late and we knew driving in the dark wasn’t going to be a great idea. If you walk in San Jose, at night, use the buddy system.

After a short walk we found a 24-hour restaurant that served authentic Costa Rican food. Plus, the lady there was extremely nice. My Spanish is not that great but I know enough to get by.

I was about to stay in my comfort zone and order a hamburger because I knew it would be good, however, the lady frowned at me when I asked if it was good. She told me to order Arroz Con Pollo.

It’s basically a huge plate that has chicken mixed in with rice, Papas fritas and vegetables. The fresh vegetables taste amazing, they consisted of vegetables I actually like: corn, cucumbers and tomato with a side of lime. The lime was not green like the ones we see in Arizona it was actually yellow, which put me off a little bit. One thing I can tell you about traveling internationally is you have to adjust to truly get the best out of the experience, you have to be willing to leave your comfort zone. It will be a little scary, but that fear is normal, but you still need to go.

And that brings me to today and what I learned once I left my comfort zone. Today is the day that I am forever changed. We drove about three hours to the volcano town called Arsenal. I feel like I needed to experience that lady and her restaurant because it jolted me to a place of openness.

I’ll make a separate post about the entire adventure of what happened in Arsenal, however, this post is only about the end of the trip. Come back in a few days and catch the followup.

The Part of The Trip That Impacted Me Deeply: We walk into this house and you can tell it was made from hand. There was a small fire pit in the house, it was lit so it could keep the mosquitos away. The bark from the trees had been beaten and woven together, meandering like rivers across the sides and top of the house. This house was made purely of trees and rocks. The floor was clay and was not flat. The little family walked in from behind us and they lived in this house. This wasn’t architecture from centuries ago, it was their house and they lived there, happily.

The mom, relaxed but she had a stern and protective demeanor. The daughter, sweet and shy brought us a shot that was composed of fermented pineapple, cane sugar and water. It represented cleansing and celebrating a journey, together.

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The tour guide made a joke about how in the states we will take shots as a celebration but will use Tequila or Whiskey. The six of us laughed since we are all from the states. He said in Costa Rica, the indigenous people preferred healing elixirs over poison.

As you look around in the room there are thousands of hand painted pieces of art, music and clothing. Each piece of art has a spiritual connection to the divine. It looked like an art museum.

As the tour guide started to tell us the history of the indigenous people of Costa Rica goosebumps came over my arms, my eyebrows went straight up into the air and my heart opened more and more as we got deeper into the details.

They live with no electricity. No running water. No toilets. Horses roam freely in the neighborhood with no saddles; horses are their friends. They eat fish, vegetables, berries and fruit. All of the clothing is made out of bark. No shoes. No iPhones. No laptops. They live off of the land and live by the code of family. For them, everything is about family. When someone dies, they wrap the body in bark and bury them under the house so “the family can always stay together”.

Hearing these words changed my life. They made me reflect deeply on what I care about, how I could be better and made me think deeply about life. It made me realize how much “stuff” and how many “things” we have in the states. It made me realize that some of the things we care about are silly and minuscule, and this moment helped free me. I’m not here to say that one way is better or worse. I’m here to simply share this with you because it impacted me deeply, and just maybe, it’s time for you to reflect on life a tad bit deeper yourself.

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I wrote this while sitting on a chair, looking off into the abyss of the jungle. I’ll leave you with this question: what really matters to you and is it time for you to examine the truth of that answer?