September 19, 2013
Our last day in Jaco, Costa Rica was action packed! Dr. Laura Ellis, with medAge, surprised us with an outing to repel down a waterfall at Ocean Ranch Park. Never having done this, my excitement was over the top! And to make it even more fun, we had Go-Pro cameras mounted to our helmets to record the day.
The waterfall was 180 feet tall, which looked quite daunting from the bottom and the top. Our guides were wonderful as well as quick and thorough in prepping us. They could tell we were eager to get started.
The water was cool and refreshing in the humid forest. As I started down, the powerful rush of water around my ankles and feet made keeping my center and balance a challenge. There was a midway point we repelled to one at a time and waited for each other.
By the time, I reached the bottom; I decided 180 feet was not high at all because I was ready to keep going. If there had been more, we all would have gladly jumped at the chance. This waterfall was only enough to ‘wet our whistle’, so to say.
Feeling the looming departure, I was eager for anything and everything I could do to immerse myself in this culture. A friend we made at our local beach bar, Mauro, offered to take me four wheeling in a vintage Land Rover that afternoon. How could I say no?
Off into the woods we went, forging rivers, and deeply gouged roads. The trip felt like an Indiana Jones theme park ride except this was for real. The truck turning this way and that, leaning at 30-40 degree angles as we navigated the terrain was exhilarating. At one point, we stopped to wade in the river we had just crossed. I was impressed when I realized the water was rushing up to my knees.
There were children playing in the water and dogs running around. It was wonderful to be out in the countryside and experience local culture without being catered to as a visitor. To see people being themselves and living their lives in another part of the world is always a wonderful treat for me that fills my heart.
Back to the house, our new friend treated us all to a homemade Italian dinner. Trina, my trainer, had been preparing healthy meals for us all week, each one more delicious than the one before. The fresh, local food she prepared kept us fit, healthy, and energized for every adventure we endeavored to do. However, with this night being our last, all bets were off! Still local and fresh, our friend cooked gnocchi made from scratch with three different sauces and bruschetta. Add a little red wine, and we had a meal to savor and remember.
The last morning was a bit sad knowing it was time for this adventure to end. At the same time, I was eager to return to my beautiful mountains. It is fun for me to look at life as an adventure since you never know what’s around the bend. And it is specific trips, like coming to Costa Rica, that energize my spirit and enthusiasm for life and the world.
When I return to my life after an experience like this, I feel stronger, more confident, empowered, invigorated, alive, free, and undaunted. This feeling can stay with me for days, weeks, or months. A significant part of why I go away is to test, try, find, discover, explore and challenge myself. When I return, I am changed, yet more myself than I was before I went; as if I’ve recovered part of my soul while away.
I feel it in my stride when I walk…my voice when I speak…my perception of the world…the way I hear and can be present to others around me. I am more ‘me’ and yet renewed and rediscovered/uncovered. This feeling is intoxicating and makes me want to plan the next adventure where more of me will be revealed.
Returning to my truest self has been the biggest adventure of the past 5 years and I anticipate for the rest of my life. Because after all, it’s not the destination…it’s the journey that leads us “there” that is the ride.
Stay tuned to my blog to see what’s next as the adventure of life continues!