“Costa Ricans know what they have,” declared my seat mate on our Nature Air flight.
Corcovado National Park trailed behind us as the small 15 seat plane dipped suddenly and levelled off. Golfo Dulce lay beneath us, a crystalline body of water that could hypnotize any creature who dared stare in its depths.
The tiny plane was trying to maneuver a tight airstrip and avoid the trees that cut close if a calculation was slightly off.
I prayed a little; the first time I had ever done such a thing on a flight. During the 50 minute plane journey, my seat mate introduced himself as John Lewis, one of the eco-resort founders of the Osa Peninsula, some 25 years ago.
He’s fluent in Spanish and thought I was; that’s how we started talking. I felt bad disappointing him.
John talked of the efforts of expats and locals alike to keep Corcovado a preserve. But how, I asked. When countries like Thailand are complicit in the destruction of their once pristine beaches? How does Costa Rica police it?
“They appreciate what’s here. We move at a slower pace, cause community is a big deal. See down below? The gulf is full of dolphins and there aren’t many boats.”
My brain saw; my body did not compute.
I really thought I balanced myself well between chaos and the serene.
Once I stepped on the grounds of Blue Osa I felt adrift.
Every nozzle, fibre and byte gorges on me.
I am caught in a tailspin where I flail daily and I hadn’t even noticed.
I wake up, check my email and social media before I do anything else.
I eat lunch, I measure who has unfollowed me and why.
I go to bed and bring my iPhone with me and instead of falling asleep to natural sounds I am watching the eerie glow of a screen.
Is this travel now for me? What have I become? Detachment, the pitfall of living inside my head and not my heart.
What are our hopes and dreams but fragments of ourselves.
It’s about the small steps.
Steve and Pete walk with me to the beach, their silent but sure steps echoing mine. Their tongues flop from their mouths, their version of a smile. They sit together, so interconnected as twins are and listen for the roar and call of the ocean.
I try to heighten my senses, listen for it too. When we do, the three of us break into a run and meet the waves.
I watch spiderwebs scalloping across windowsills vibrating with the breeze.
Lodging myself in a hammock for 20 minutes as my hand digs into one of the dog’s backs, his fur thick and rough to the touch. He smells of the ocean and wind. I enjoy the comfort of his weight pressed against the backside of the hammock as his torso heaves with each breath. It feels safe and right.
Appreciate you. Go deeper in travel, it’s there, beyond the glitz and glamour of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and flashy hotels.
Blue Osa and Costa Rica is teaching me day by day what Pura Vida means.