Costa Rica Recap
Hey there! I'm back home in California after two weeks in Costa Rica... I cut my trip short because of some unexpected circumstances (more about all that below) that led me to feeling homesick and realizing over and over that Paradise isn't paradise without the ones you love. When you arrive in certain places, you know in your heart that you're meant to be there and other places, you're just not. Your intuition tells you before you go usually but we do a good job of tuning that out to varying degrees, depending on our level of growth. Overall though, it's clear to me that through traveling, we learn lessons much faster than we have the ability to learn them at home and this is simply because we remove ourselves from the barriers of our homes and offices and routines and instead put ourselves in the way of the unknown, of adventure, and of new opportunities.
Today, I talk about the beauty of Santa Teresa (the place I call home in Costa Rica) and about the valuable lessons I learned both in life and in business on this trip! It was quite possibly the most important trip of my life. Santa Teresa is one of those towns where people get "stuck". There's no other way to describe it really. For some people, it may seem like an ordinary surf town in Central America but to some, it can only be described as magical.
"But What About the Private Jet?" you ask.
If you missed my post about this, a few weeks ago, I needed to get to Costa Rica to meet with a client. My trip was planned for 6/29. My good friend Ricardo's dad had a private jet flying from LA to San Jose that exact day, and they offered to give me a ride if the flight gets confirmed. It ended up working out beautifully! It was amazing living like the 1% for a change. No lines... flight was at 4 am and I showed up at 3:50 am. They didn't even check my passport! Just hopped on board and got comfy. There are some videos and footage of it on my Instagram at @rima_danielle.
To get from San Jose to Santa Teresa, it's quite a journey. You have to take buses or shuttles and a ferry, or a commuter flight. I didn't know how I was going to get from the capital to the town of Santa Teresa as we didn't know the exact landing time, and all the modes of transportation (bus, flight, shuttles) left by at 2:50 pm.
We landed at 2:30 pm... not enough time to transit to the next method of transportation. Rciardo's dad runs the air medical evacuation company and jokingly, we hoped for a non-lethal accident in Santa Teresa so I could hitch a ride with the flight over to pick up the patient. 10 minutes before landing in San Jose, his dad called his crew to check in and turns out a girl had hit her head surfing, so there was a flight to ST! My friend was shocked - "You're so lucky!" No one could believe my "luck" - I hope the girl was okay. She ended up refusing the flight midway in the air but the paramedic, Sergio, convinced them to turn around again and take me to ST. I really am a blessed girl.
Good karma, eh? Flying home coach in the second to last row of the plane sandwiched between Jamal from Georgia and Susan from 1000 Oaks was dismal in comparison.
Getting Stuck in Santa Teresa
I've talked to many travelers that got stuck in ST (some were traveling for 5 years when it happened), and I personally instantly felt like it was home the first time I went there. I always feel joy when getting to the main road and always feel sadness upon leaving. I've heard theories as to why this is the case. One local, who was hanging out by the super mercado with another local boy, told me that the ocean is lined with different kinds of Quartz. The ocean cleanses the crystals and the moon charges them up with moonbeam magic or something. People who vibrate at certain frequencies resonate with this magnetization and feel drawn to it. It's the most believable theory I've heard yet, and I have found many different pieces of Quartz along Santa Teresa's beaches (though I never take them from the ocean... only admire them, take in some of their healing powers, and leave them back for others to enjoy).
I love ST because of the solid sense of community I feel when there... one I haven't felt in other places that I've lived. In Los Angeles, it was very difficult to find genuine friends (listening to the clients I had back then, this wasn't an uncommon dilemma). Being straight with your word and not "flaking" on people is seen as a rare and valuable trait. I commonly have to make plans with 10 people when I head that way because I know 9 of them will flake. It's the home of the "LA Flakers", after all! I find people there don't want to make the commitment to drive or invest time into relationships unless it serves their agenda in some way, but in Santa Teresa, people truly live alongside one another without any hidden agendas or itineraries.... Simply being. It's a place I dream to live full time alongside my husband and is what I've been working to do these last 2 and a half years (this last trip was a business trip with that end in mind).
It's a difficult place to make a decent living. Running yoga retreats is fun but let's be honest - they don't yield high returns and they're difficult to sell (getting people to invest a couple grand into your event when there's many options and destinations these days takes a lot of time and effort). I saw real estate as a viable option to get my family and I a solid footing in the area and for my eventual treatment center to become a reality. So I started CostaRima.com last year - a website to market my friends' and connections' real estate properties as well as my own events in the area. It's turned into a sort of resource for people traveling to the area.
Purpose of my Trip
Through CostaRima.com, I met a client interested in buying a hotel in Santa Teresa. I know the owners well and it's not publicly on the market because they want to ensure the right buyer will take over. The interested buyer (we'll call him Dave) and I have been establishing a business relationship and rapport since December of last year and with his crazy work and travel schedule, he was unable to make it out to see the property until July. I have met with many clients that are interested in property in ST, but with Dave, it was different - Based on the questions he asked, the persistence, and the vibe I got, I knew it was worth it for me to invest the time and effort to head to ST to meet him... to oversee the meetings for the sale. The hotel is a dream property, the first hotel I ever stayed at in CR, and the property that led me to fall in love with ST. The whole thing was very symbolic and came full circle.
My best friend Jacqueline asked me, "Why don't you try to work with Dave and help him run this hotel?" Of course - the thought had crossed my mind - but I hadn't met him yet so I didn't want to jump ahead or get caught up in attachment. The sale of the hotel was already enough of an emotional roller coaster! My practice with yoga and meditation helped me to stay present and detached from outcomes. I committed to showing up where the Universe was taking me and to be present with the process, breathing it all in.
My other business venture was to check out a retreat center near Parrita for future events and to explore a possible job opportunity that I was contacted about. The resort is on a stretch of land that's surrounded by estuaries so it's considered an island. I was excited to explore new lands! My heart is in ST (it's where Pete and I got married and it's where I want to live, but the new town was close enough so I figured I could spend a week in each place and see how everything feels.
The First Leg of the Trip
The first day I got to ST on 6/29, many of my friends were out of town and Dave wasn't arriving until 7/1 so I had a a day and a half to myself to work and get ready for the meetings. I walked on the beach and a man approached me who recognized me from last year when I was putting flyers up for a yoga event. We said hi and chatted for a few minutes and then parted ways. Then there was an insane storm that knocked the power out from 8:30 pm to 3:30 am. With the power goes the Wifi and the water, and everyone basically went to sleep at 9. The next day was right before the full moon - I noticed that I started doubting myself in many ways. Negative thoughts began to emerge like: "Why am I wasting our time and money chasing these dreams?" "What am I doing here alone again?" "I miss home!" Whine, complain, feel sorry for myself - for no reason at all really. Being an entrepreneur and paving pathways for yourself out of thin air can be a scary thing.
A lot of time and resources goes into investing in yourself, and at the end of the day, you either get what you are striving for or you don't - the risk is big! (My dad reminded me this evening, though, "nothing ventured... nothing gained." So true, pops! Love you!)
The weight of the moment started to crush me down. Talking to Jacqueline, I realized that she was having similar feelings about other things, and that the moon and stars may have been affecting our rationale. I know that I am truly blessed and that it's silly to complain about things that are so amazing in my life! Nonetheless, I found myself feeling lonely, alone, and uneasy.
That night, the friend I met on the beach earlier came to the hostel I was staying to see a friend, and we began chatting in a group. Eventually everyone left, and him and I sat on the patio talking. I told him about Pete (my husband) and what I was doing in Costa Rica. Turns out he is a reiki healer/channeler and for the next 30 minutes, he placed his hands on top of mine on the table and proceeded to answer all the questions I had been asking that day and the day before. He offered wisdom, advice, and clear messages that left me feeling joyful and reassured. He said that when he saw me on the beach, he knew he had recognized me and felt compelled to approach me, but didn't want to seem creepy or come off the wrong way. He simply had a feeling that he needed to talk to me. I got chills over and over and tears in my eyes throughout the conversation, because I had the distinct feeling that angels were communicating to me through the voice of a fellow human, and I felt very grateful.
I told Jacqueline the next day and she called it my full moon release. That totally made sense to me and it's how I felt. The buyer arrived the next day amidst local strikes from people trying to persuade the municipality to pave the roads around the peninsula. As an activist, I'm all for a good strike, so I couldn't be too upset, but poor Dave was stuck in his car trying to get off the ferry for 3 hours! I nervously laughed as we waited to see if he could get through. I let fate decide as I had no other choice! There were riot police everywhere, but Dave is an adventurer and got a kick out of the whole thing (once he finally made it to ST and had a nice, cold beer!).
Him and I hit it off amazingly. He met with the owners of the hotel and I took him to dinner the first night. He told me stories of his past and it was great to get to know his history. On paper, he's a corporate bigwig from England that works in the United Arab Emirates and since we had only corresponded through e-mails, I had no idea what to expect. It turns out he is a self-made success that started from the bottom and worked hard in different fields before arriving at his current position. He's a paraglider, completely down to earth, and loves to chat about all kinds of things! I could already sense that he was loving ST and the hotel, so I casually mentioned that Pete and I would be interested in partnering with him to run the hotel. He said, "Hmm. that's an interesting idea... let's talk more about that."
Over the next couple of days we had more meetings and dinners, and I could tell that Dave was in paradise, having a grand old time! He loves to take photos so he went around exploring a lot. The last night he was there, we went to dinner and I had my spiel ready for why our partnership would be a great match. He heard me out intently and asked about Pete - his background, his desire to relocate, and more - and accepted the partnership immediately.
Some people visit Santa Teresa and just find it to be beautiful or relaxing, but they may not feel the magic. That's okay - for them, it's still a profound and blissful experience. But for some, it's as if you've been bitten by a bug. That night, I asked Dave to notice how he felt upon leaving ST and the few days after... if he felt any sort of sadness or yearning to return. That would be his clue that he'd been bitten by the bug. We laughed over drinks as he imagined what it might be like to tell his powerful and very corporate boss that he had been magnetized by the moon Quartz and couldn't return. When he did actually try to leave the next day, he got lost an hour into the drive and ended up back in ST. He considered not paying the airport exit tax of $30 so he had no choice but to stay.
He had definitely been bitten. He let me know that he's in for the hotel and to work together, and we've communicated a lot since, but I'm not getting too attached to any outcomes until things progress further with the sale. For now, we're all back to our schedules and routines and have many logistics to work out. If all goes according to plan, though, Pete and I could be living in ST by the end of the year (basically all of our dreams will come true)!
After he left, I had the task of leaving ST and heading to the other part of Costa Rica. I had put it off for a few days and decided to stay a whole week in ST. I told Pete before leaving that I was nervous to go to ST first before the other place because I knew I would get stuck there and not want to leave. Well - I was right. My best friend in Costa Rica, Gingi, came back from his trip, as well as a few other friends, and I was having a blast hanging out at Gingi's hostel where I always stay. Part of the work of letting go of attachments for me is letting go of people, situations, and places. I knew in my heart that I didn't want to leave and the person who I was going to meet near Parrita for a potential job opportunity had made some shifty claims since I arrived in CR that made me question going at all.
The Second Leg - What Happened?
I cancelled my ticket when I took the private jet, so I didn't have a return date. Since things went so well with Dave, I contemplated skipping Parrita. After talking with friends and family about it, I decided it would make sense to at least go check it out and see how I felt there. Since I didn't have any business left in ST and knew I would just be vacationing if I stayed any longer, I made my arrangements to get to Parrita and arrived early in the afternoon on 7/7. I'll spare you all the crazy details and just say that it didn't feel right. Although it was a beautiful resort on a stunning beach, the energy in the town and with the people wasn't what I feel back in ST. On paper, it would appear that the person I was going to meet would suit me better in terms of personality and interests than Dave would, but it was actually the opposite.
I felt marooned on this island that I was on and I could immediately tell there was no Quartz on this beach. :-) I felt lonely and trapped, like I was a million miles from home. They had me staying in a musty, dirty house alone, I had no way to get decent food and I didn't feel comfortable (for reasons I won't elaborate on because this post is long enough). The first night I cried to Pete on Skype for an hour and I definitely realized that moving to CR isn't about just being anywhere there, but about taking the time to set it up in the way that works for us and retains our quality of life. I didn't want to be so attached to ST that I didn't give this new opportunity a chance, but the experience solidified for me where I want to be. A paradise - when you are alone and feeling uncomfortable - is simply not a paradise. I didn't feel a connection with anyone there and I was hardly given the time of day, attention, or respect that I deserve as a professional. The offer wasn't what it was made out to be and I felt I was wasting my time by staying there any longer (I have clients to work with and yoga classes to teach, dammit!). I booked my flight for two days later.
I felt so much relief to know I was returning home to my husband, cat, and home! Obviously, nothing terrible happened but the whole ordeal was slightly traumatic for me. Even though I was safe, I felt shaken and apprehensive. The last day, I spent all day on the beach practically alone (there's no one on this dang island!) practicing yoga and being a mermaid all day. I let all the experiences soak in and away as I found presence, peace, and gratitude for the beauty surrounding me. I had a handstand breakthrough on the beach and was able to hold it for the first time for 15 seconds! I felt strange that I could be so uneasy in such a beautiful location, but I didn't judge myself for it - I just let it be the process it needed to be. I figured I would enjoy it while I was there, and it helped me to appreciate the experience for what it was and what it taught me. All of the negative emotions that came up throughout the trip had their place, for sure. They all needed to be processed so I could truly understand my place in this world a little bit better.
I learned the lessons that:
- Things aren't always what they seem, and you can find miracles in the most unexpected places. Do the work, show up, don't judge, be open, and trust the process.
- Home isn't home without the ones you love.
- Don't worry too much about planning anything out. If you release yourself to the Universe, she will carry you through.
- Try not to get attached to any outcomes before they manifest into form. Just flow with it and trust you'll be in the right place at the right time, and that the Universe has to get us there somehow (it may not always be in the way we envision).
I made it back to San Jose in time for my flight and got to see my two friends there for lunch. Carolina, owner of Sulara Wear, & my friend Ricardo. We had an amazing time! I hope you enjoyed the recap of my crazy adventure!