Day 14-21/180: The Downpour – Living Life in Costa Rica
November 30, 2019
It’s remarkable how quickly humans adapt to a new environment. If you’ve read my previous diary entry, you’ll know that I was struggling to adjust to the undomesticated lifestyle in Puerto Viejo. Yes, I love nature, but I never really pictured myself living IN the jungle. Not that being awoken every morning by the deafening roar of nearby howler monkeys isn’t an absolute delight. Honestly, the first time I heard this noise I thought a wild bear was about to jump through our window.
Looking back, I think Puerto Viejo may have been the most full-on and intense introduction with life in Central-America I could’ve had. The change was radical, let me tell you. From the excessive humidity (my skin was never not sticky) to the mosquitos that were everywhere (first day I was bitten about 20 times when I was absentmindedly brushing my teeth, which, of course, was the start of me walking around fully clothed as much as possible, never mind the heat…) to the unpredictability of the weather (don’t even bother checking a weather app).
It was a lot to process and get used to, but after my run-in with the machete guy, I actually became less afraid (yes, I do see the irony). The whole incident only lasted about 2 minutes (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this entry), but this brief moment of fearing for my life and realizing it could’ve ended way worse than it did (before you think I’m being a drama queen, someone was actually killed this way the year before), made me seriously rethink things.
I was already determined to do everything that scared me, but after this, I actually FELT less scared. If I could survive this, than I sure could manage a few mosquitos and some moldy kitchen utensils. Besides, I wasn’t going to give up quite so soon. I felt rebellious, almost. Stubborn. I wanted to go back to the exact same spot to show everyone that I can’t be scared off this easily. A bit childish, I know. However, from this moment on, I did let everything go and decided to just go with the flow. I stopped counting down the days to my next stay. I no longer had dinner in my bed under the mosquito net. Unsurprisingly, what followed may have been the best week of my trip so far.
A moment I’ll never forget was when I jumped on my bike after I’d been frolicking in the waves for hours, wearing nothing but a wet bathing suit and a small backpack (gotta have them snacks). As I was biking home, the wind started blowing and a downpour followed soon after. Despite the rain and the stormy weather, the air was just as warm and everyone was still as happy as ever. In this moment, I felt perfectly free and I couldn’t do anything but smile at how crazy life is. It was only a few months ago that I was depressed and daydreaming about Costa Rica in a dark city apartment, and now I was here, biking through the rain in a swimsuit, with the Caribbean sea on my right and the Costa Rican jungle on my left.
It made me feel like anything’s possible, if you want it bad enough. If you dare to take the leap. If you just DO IT. It was a familiar feeling, although one I hadn’t felt in years.
Some other memorable experiences during this week include swimming in the ocean every day, taking countless photos of the beauty I was surrounded with, exploring the entire coastline all the way up to the Panamanian border and, last but not least, visiting the Jaguar Rescue Center, where I felt so inspired by how passionate our guide was about the work they were doing. I realised that these are exactly the kind of humans and the type of energy I want to be around and how much I’d missed that in my life.
Anyhow, it’s quite extraordinary how quickly I was able to find joy in a situation that, at first glance, frightened the hell out of me. Although I never did get used to those cockroaches…
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