From the mountains to the rain forest

I thought being in the mountains was my favorite – until we took a boat ride towards the Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna. The sight of this active volcano with it’s ever changing cloud cap is simply breathtaking.

On the way our guide spotted a monkey in a a tree and a cayman in the mud. It is amazing to me that they can be seen, their camouflage is so good.

Before arriving at our hotel, tucked into the rain forest, with a view of the volcano from its fabulous veranda, we spent a little time in town. I ate a “tipical” vegetarian lunch, consisting of white rice, black beans, a little salad, plantain, and vegetables. I’ve had this meal in various forms since I’ve been here, interesting to experience the different interpretations.

My new friend and roommate, Mandy, and I then walked across the beautiful park and found an amazing chocolate shop where I splurged on an iced coffee. I can’t seem to resist the Costa Rican coffee – which may explain why I’m writing this at 2 in the morning.

img_20190331_164630_12100005406616165741.jpgThen we went to the sloth park. It was disappointing to learn that we wouldn’t see a sloth up close and personal as they spend the majority of their time up in trees. They are much safer from predators there. However, we had an excellent guide with a good telescope and i did get a couple of pictures and a video. We also saw some birds, a blue-jean frog, and leaf-cutter ants.

I was super tired by then and ready for the hotel. A short ride took us to La Princesa Ecolodge, tucked away in the forest. The view of the volcano is fabulous, and the sound of the whistling cicadas accompanied us as we ate our evening meal on the lower veranda dining area. I think it was the best meal so far! One of my traveling companions shared a glass of white wine with me, and as we sat discussing the events of the day and the expectations for tomorrow, we all agreed that the trip was just getting better and better.

(the above was written at 2 am. now it is 6:30)

When I got up, the stickiness was gone from the air. I sit on the wide veranda, after having done a few yoga stretches, listening to the morning sounds – the birds, the insects, and the people in the kitchen. I am hoping for coffee soon. We are taking a short walk in the forest to a waterfall, then a chocolate tour a little later.

Wifi is on and off, all the time. Uploading pictures is uncertain. Videos are even more unlikely. I have loads more pictures I’d like to share, but they are stuck on my phone for now. But here is my first look at Arenal Volcano this morning.

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From the beach to the Mountains

I’m writing from Hotel Los Jardines in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I am SO glad to be in the mountains, where it is cool – only 77 degrees and not humid, rather than in the 90’s and sticky humid all the time like it was at the very beautiful beach in the Bejuco District.

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This trip with Bamboo has involved much less work than I expected. It’s been more of an education about what is being done to slow the destruction of the environment and what is being done to try to reclaim it.  I’m being reminded that I can make changes that can have an impact, such as not buying anything that comes in a one use plastic container or wrapper. Difficult but possible.

We’ve spent the last five nights sleeping at the beach house. The mornings were spent in: going on a trek to gather seeds for reforestation, visiting a fishing village, working in and around a greenhouse that is nurturing tree seedlings, and sorting plastic waste for recycling. Afternoons were free. I spent mine taking short dips in the water followed by a cool shower, nap, and lolling around on the veranda enjoying the view but getting very sticky again.

I was very happy to pack my bags and get on the bus to come to the mountains. When we stopped to admire the view, it was wonderful to feel the coolness and the drops of cloud moisture pricking our skin. pano_20190329_1344342814212484938510982.jpg

We visited a small family owned organic coffee farm, which was very lovely,  then had some time to rest and rejuvenate at the hotel, including enjoying a cocktail at happy hour.

 

 

Then it was off to dinner at The Treehouse, a restaurant which has been built around a huge tree.

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It is late and tomorrow morning we go zip lining “through the rainforest canopy”. I’m super excited about it. I’ve done it twice before – once in Mexico, above the canyons, and again near Austin, which was pretty tame. I expect this time to be very thrilling!

San Jose – first impressions

I was transported from the airport to Hotel Luz de Luna by Eric, a very nice man who spoke as much English as I do Spanish – muy, muy poquito. He got me here safely, but it was a bit hair-raising. I was somewhat prepared, having visited Honduras 11 years ago, but honestly, I am amazed they don’t have more accidents.

The city is old, and very crowded, with lots of traffic. Besides cars, there are buses and small motorcycles. The cars and buses merge unexpectedly without signaling, and in the crowded two lane streets, people on motorcycles “white line” even when there’s no white line!

The drivers seem to have a rather mysterious method of communication via honking. Sometimes the honking means “you are in my lane, move away” and other times it means “go on ahead of me.” At one point, Eric rolled down his window and yelled at someone, then apologetically turned to me and said “stupid people” and a lot of Spanish words I didn’t understand. He then proceeded to drive at breakneck speed through what seemed like back roads.

Alto doesn’t mean stop when it is on a red and white sign that looks like a stop sign. It apparently means “slow down just long enough that when you enter this road you probably won’t get hit.” And traffic lights don’t seem to serve much purpose!

Funny thing is, I wasn’t really scared.  Even when Eric didn’t seem to be paying much attention to his driving because he was texting and calling almost constantly, I only slightly tensed up. Everyone drives this way here, so I somehow knew everything was all right. I felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and serenity that I was finally in Costa Rica.

Tomorrow, we get on a bus for an eight hour journey to The Turtle Project on the Northern Peninsula (where, I am told, wifi will be sporadic). We being me and 8 other women, seven of them from the UK and the 8th from Canada. Great people, lovely accents, and I am looking forward to sharing the adventure with new friends.

IMG_20190323_182427.jpgIn the meantime, we enjoyed complimentary Sangria at the bar in the little restaurant here before having a delicious dinner at a restaurant down the street.

Off to Costa Rica!

Wow, I can’t believe the day has finally arrived! I write from the airplane, high over the IMG_20190323_111614.jpgGulf of Mexico. I’ve got my computer, my audible book, and my crochet project.  The flight isn’t full, so I’ve got the whole row to myself. I sit by the window, glancing out periodically looking for interesting sights, but right now it is just clouds, sky, and water. Flying on an airplane is an amazing adventure in itself!

I’ve been planning this trip since July of 2017. I think it was a facebook ad. Kind of scary how well facebook knows me. Maybe because I’ve done a blog called Looking for the next adventure! Anyway, I’m traveling solo from Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica, to join a group of adventurers with Bamboo, a global volunteer organization. I almost went to Costa Rica a few years ago, and when I saw this opportunity it didn’t take long for me to sign up. The price was right, and it required no planning on my part other than getting a flight!

Robert and I had just moved to the Woodlands, then gone on a meditation retreat to Garrison, New York. We were planning our wedding, and a honeymoon to Florida and Bimini. But I saw this opportunity, put my deposit down, and put it on the back burner. I was working part time from home, and on the verge of beginning another Ayurvedic course of study. Back then, I thought I would be starting my own business in another year.

But as life unfolded, uncertainties evolved into ideas and plans that eventually became certainties. Robert and I did get married in a beautiful ceremony at home surrounded by the love of family and friends. After a 10 day honeymoon, then Christmas, you’d think we’d chill for a bit. Well, that doesn’t really seem to be in my nature.

Much time was and is still dedicated to taking care of Hazel on weekends, and at that time I still had a weekly date with Sebastian and Hudson. But I went on another Heart-Based Meditation retreat in March – to Sedona Mago Retreat Center. Wonderful place, wonderful being with “my peeps” and connecting with a greater consciousness and my higher self.

I was realizing by that time that I didn’t think I really wanted to do what it would take to start a business. I had a website by then, and had even registered a business with the state of Texas, but I just wasn’t “feeling it”, so to speak. I love Ayurveda, but didn’t want to struggle to make it my bread and butter. So I began to look around to see what case management jobs were available, and sent out some applications. As I weighed the possibilities, I decided that if I got an offer I liked, I would take it.

In June, that is exactly what happened. There wasn’t any hesitation about accepting a good paying job with good benefits in a location that was only a 15 minute drive away and I didn’t have to get on the freeway! I started working for Memorial Hermann Hospital System in August (after taking a road trip with Robert to Iowa in July), and 7 months into the job it still feels like the right move.

When I quit my full-time job in 2016, I had some ideas and dreams and pursued a lot of different angles, but I always know that uncertainty reigns until something actually happens.

Like being on this airplane right now. I started making plans and saving money and eventually bought the ticket. The last month I’ve had fun figuring out how to travel light, ordering some helpful items from Amazon, and getting more and more excited about the whole idea. But really, until I got on the airplane, it was an uncertainty. A life circumstance could have popped up that would cause me to turn my steps away from all this to deal with something that in that moment was more important. Fortunately, that didn’t happen!

IMG_20190323_062805-1.jpgI have gotten away from writing here, although I think about it often. I used it to chronicle my solo travels to Iowa and Montana back in 2015, so I’m gonna give it a go. I have no idea what the wifi will be like or how much time I will have to write – an uncertainty that comes with having someone else plan! But I will definitely write, take lots of pictures, and keep dreaming. I will post as I can, although much of my time the next week will be invested in helping preserve the sea turtle habitat. And hopefully making a few new friends along the way!