In case you missed how deeply I fell in love with Costa Rica the first time around, let me just iterate: I did. Hard.
So much so that I’m returning at the end of the month to immerse myself in herbalism and yoga, sand and surf. As of the 25th, I’ll be headed back to CR, first to volunteer in the kitchen (LOL) for Medicines from the Edge: A Tropical Herbal Convergence in Queseda, then to study traditional Latino herbalism in Puerto Viejo, and finally get my hardcore yoga on in Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula.
How did I find these opportunities? I scoured work-trade websites like Helpx.net and Workaway.info. They’re kind of like WOOFing, but not limited to farming opportunities. You do need to pay for membership in order to contact the hosts, but the price is usually reasonable for a lengthy membership. Anyway, while those were great resources and jumping off points, I researched people who were doing what I thought was interesting, and emailed them about work-trade or internship options. Turns out, many people are open to trading room and board for a bit of help, even if they’ve never done anything like work-trade before. I ended up having my choice of a few different options, and went with the ones that felt right and worked into my schedule the best.
Accommodations are secured through the end of June, but I’m being flexible and open to the (likely) possibility of staying longer, or checking out another country (Mexico?) in July-August for a bit. I tend to travel lustily and with abandon, so I promised myself I’ll return by my birthday at the end of August by the latest.
The past six months have been a wild ride: including an ended serious relationship, job and teaching changes, breakthroughs in my practice and general state of mind. I’ve been seeking lately, trying to figure out my dharma and how I can contribute and give back. That picture is slowly, incrementally coming more into focus every day, and seems to be a gorgeous tapestry of teaching yoga, working with women and children, growing things, and body positivity. I don’t quite know what the big picture looks like, but that’s OK. I’m trusting the process, and I feel like I’m being guided–a kooky concept that the control freak in me wants nothing to do with. But hey, I’ve been meditating a lot lately.
Coincidences abound and things have just fallen into place: these work-trade opportunities, my apartment magically being sublet by someone perfect, the funds, the flexibility of my situation–the universe provides abundantly when you’re headed in the right direction!
I am exhilarated and terrified.
It’s a strange feeling as my trip draws closer: I’m essentially quitting all of my jobs (two serving positions and three teaching ones), and feel strangely unattached, like a stray balloon bobbing above the city. This winter has been brutal on everyone and I’m trying to stay grounded and continue to make meaningful connections with people even though I’m leaving for a bit. Concurrently, I’ve sequestered myself in a lot of ways–mainly due to my crazy work schedule and the arctic tundra Chicago has been frozen under–which has meant a lot of self-study and self-practice.
Solitude can be so sweet. I’m a natural introvert–if you can believe it–and have always needed lots of Alone Time to stay balanced. I feel very alone embarking on this trip, as all transformative journeys must be taken: independently. It seems everything I’ve done has lead up to this point, and I’m so excited to finally immerse myself completely in the things I’m voracious about.