Yogi Entrepreneur Part 1: Chasing Dreams in Costa Rica

Dancing in the direction of my dreams! Photo by Kara Kapelnikova @carboncarmine in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica April 2015.

Dancing in the direction of my dreams! Photo by Kara Kapelnikova @carboncarmine in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica April 2015.

Back in Santa

I'm back in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica - my favorite place in the world! I've covered my trips a few times on the blog so if you want some more reading when you're done here, check this page out. This trip, I'm here for two weeks. I arrived on Monday (it's Friday now) and have been working to close a real estate deal that I talked about in this article. Closing the deal will change our life dramatically, so I've been working as hard as I can to learn, create, accomplish, & flow. Pete and I will have a nice cushion to move here as well as manage the property that sells. Due to reasons of confidentiality, I'm unable to disclose at this moment the specifics of the deal, but rest assured that Part 2 of this article will give the full resolution of the story - no matter which outcome occurs.

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The second part of my trip is a retreat with Yoga Travel Tree! I am so excited to teach a group of eager yogis and take them around my favorite parts of Costa Rica. Stay tuned for photos on Instagram and live scopes on Periscope! It's sure to be a thrill ride, either way. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, but that's a good thing! Anytime people are putting a high amount of trust and money into you, you should always feel slightly nervous (in the beginning, anyway).

Flashback to the First Time

It's officially the 3 year anniversary of my first trip to Costa Rica ever. That trip was 9/20 - 9/25 of 2012 and I stayed in the same hotel I'm staying in now, and my FAVORITE hotel ever: Nautilus Boutique Hotel. I refer to that time in my life as the week where everything changed. I had started manifesting my being there the year before (probably my whole life) and the way things unfolded reassured me that I was in the right place at the right time. The person I am today versus the anxious and excited girl that stepped foot in Costa Rica three years ago are two completely different people - it seems - but as I reflect from moment to moment, I realize that through the process of chasing my dreams, I learned:

  • To trust myself;
  • To be happy being alone;
  • To simply show up and let the answers come;
  • To be more calm and at ease;
  • To practice yoga;
  • To love and to let go;
  • How to be a woman.

What have you learned while traveling solo? Comment below!

My first trip to Costa Rica was totally unplanned. I was dating someone at the time that surfed and always talked about going to Costa Rica, so the country started showing up on my radar more and more. We planned a trip to go out there together but broke up before the trip came. A colleague of mine, Heather, had booked a trip for her and the guy she was dating to go out a Yoga and Surf Retreat to Costa Rica. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for me), he didn't have a passport or the desire to go on a trip, and since she knew how badly I wanted to go, she offered for me to take his spot. Two weeks before take off, I trusted my gut and of course said YES! I didn't know what to expect or what I was in for but I can truly say that those were some of the best days of my life (and things just keep getting better).

Facebook photos from the first time. Click to enlarge!

We landed in the capital, San Jose, and took a 12-seated flight to the peninsula. It looked like the plane was going to land in the water as the runway extends from the ocean. The local airport near Santa Teresa is a small runway with a folding table (no building or structure). I knew I was in for an adventure! We arrived to the hotel and rented surfboards immediately. I was NOT a yogi at the time and in fact, didn't understand the value of it at all. I had never taken a class and didn't really care to. My exact words were: "I could do yoga anytime anywhere. I can only shred Costa Rican waves in Costa Rica so that's what I'll be doing." Clearly, I thought I was super cool.

We walked out of our rooms to the restaurant in the hotel, Olam Restaurant, only to find a vegan and vegetarian restaurant! I couldn't believe my luck - I was falling in love. I was a vegan at that time for 2 years already, so this was a huge score in my mind. Exploring the rest of the party, you find yourself among lush and peaceful gardens and as you walk down the pathway towards to back of a property, you end up in the peaceful and pristine pool area.

That night, as if things couldn't get any more perfect, we all went night swimming in the ocean. The stars and moon were perfectly aligned to create a reaction of bioluminescence. If you've never had the extreme privilege of seeing this environmental phenomenon with your own eyes, you are missing out! Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. When water makes contact, there is a light show or a glowing reaction (see the photo below!). We ran into the glowing water and we instantly turned into little kids - laughing, splashing each other, genuinely joyful. I felt like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia as "glitter" shot from my fingers. I couldn't imagine a more perfect day.

A picture of bioluminescence in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica - from www.pixgood.com.

A picture of bioluminescence in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica - from www.pixgood.com.

The Inevitable Crash

The trip was filled with high after high, from start to finish. A monkey walked up to me in the jungle and held my hand, leading me around our hike for the next hour. I surfed in warm waters as bubblegum sunsets painted the sky. I jumped from a waterfall and sat underneath it as the water hit my head. By the end of the 5-day journey, I was a changed woman. The downfall to a 5-day high, though, is a wicked low crash. I'm not ashamed to say that I felt a palpable depression upon returning to my Venice Beach apartment that lasted, and I knew deep down that Santa Teresa was "home". I would live there one day - how was a complete mystery to me, but I knew I needed to start somewhere! I resolved myself to achieving this dream by January 2014 as it would give me over a year to prepare and I would be back by high season of the following year. 

Me coming into my Rima the Jungle Girl persona before I knew who she was - my friend found the comic book in a pawn shop in December 2012, a couple of months after this photo was taken. It was another confirmation that I was/am on the right path. Photo by Oreon Strusinski.

Me coming into my Rima the Jungle Girl persona before I knew who she was - my friend found the comic book in a pawn shop in December 2012, a couple of months after this photo was taken. It was another confirmation that I was/am on the right path. Photo by Oreon Strusinski.

Transformation in Progress

I was on track to becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist by summer 2014, and I knew I could come back to complete my testing for licensure. Over the next year, I explored different opportunities to work in the travel industry. I helped the original company that planned my first trip there with marketing and social media, but their company never took off (I learned invaluable skill in this time, however). I dreamed of opening a treatment center abroad as they're both beneficial for the community, for the patients they serve, and they are a great business to operate overall. The ultimate goal is to live a life in balance of helping others and providing for my family and myself.

On the New Year's Eve of 2013, my husband Pete and I connected at a party. We knew each other before but barely. His brother was my apartment manager in Venice and threw a party. Something told me not to make any plans for that night (which was weird for me as I'm a huge planner) but I listened and simply got ready for the evening. I walked to the party to say hi to everyone and saw Pete sitting there. He had always intrigued me so I took a chance and started talking to him. We hit it off and had a lovely evening, and started dating. Things got serious fast so in February, I sat him down to tell him of my goal and dream of living in Santa  Teresa. He had been there before and was all for the idea (we had slightly different timelines, though). If he actually thought I could make it happen, I'll never know. The important thing was that he supported me and was on board.

I may not have realized at the time how much my experiences were changing me or what they were setting me up for. I was called to yoga for spiritual reasons finally in January 2013 and was led to taking a teacher training in July 2013, although I didn't know if I would teach or not. Still - my practice was doing so much for me. Looking back, I know the seeds planted during that first trip were what helped me to take the leap and finally get into a studio.

In October 2013, Pete and I went on a trip there together for a week and it was lovely. We both had a great time (aside from the fact that I crashed our quad into a brick wall - luckily, there were only minor injuries). Shortly after returning home, I got a random call from a woman who was given my number by a mutual colleague who thought we should speak. We started talking and I told her about my recent trip to Costa Rica. She got very excited and said, "Oh wow, I have a dream of opening a treatment center there! I'm a social worker and yoga teacher, and my boyfriend has contacts in the government and construction there." Shut the front door! I couldn't believe how things were synchronizing. We started working on a complete business plan for our treatment center and I continued with plans to head back in January. I had a friend who owned a restaurant there who said I could come work while figuring out things long-term.

A photo my love, Pete, snapped of me October 2013 at the Nautilus Pool.

A photo my love, Pete, snapped of me October 2013 at the Nautilus Pool.

Get To Work to Live the Life YOU Want

March 10, 2014. Overlooking the ocean, with monkeys howling, and my bestie and brother by our sides.

March 10, 2014. Overlooking the ocean, with monkeys howling, and my bestie and brother by our sides.

As I made my plans to go, Pete proposed to me on November 1, 2013. I can't blame him, he's a smart man. I had already purchased my ticket though, and was resolute on moving there. I had cultivated some contacts for him to work there as well and tried to convince him to move with me. We decided to get married in Santa Teresa in March 2014, so I moved in January with my cat and all my things to get ready for the wedding. He was supposed to follow me there in March permanently. There were two months alone prior was one of the most challenging experiences of my life, but I grew so much. My bestie Jacqueline came and lived with my for a few months (February to April) and we grew so close. Pete decided it wouldn't be the right time for him to move, so he came for the wedding and we decided I would finish my 6-month lease there to continue making progress.

One of the original beach yoga photos in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica - early 2014.

One of the original beach yoga photos in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica - early 2014.

During that time, my yoga practice exploded. Poses I deemed impossible were now opening up to me and my physical transformations were mirroring my inner changes as well. I made countless connections in the community with amazing and influential individuals. Many of my contacts had properties for sale but a lack of skill in marketing them, so I decided to start my website: www.CostaRima.com - to market properties for a commission. I continued with the work I had done with the yoga retreat company and started marketing events in the area as well. I felt happy, confident and productive.

A few photos of Nautilus. We put our parents up here for our wedding last year (2013)!

Photos by Strike-a-Pose Photography.

I started getting involved with the yoga community on Instagram and met a lot of different influential people in the industry. I connected with Yoga Travel Tree, who was in the beginning stages of their company as I was. We've grown together tremendously over the last year and a half and I simply cannot wait to finally meet Brooke, their founder, personally! Read a collection of my articles on Yoga Travel Tree's website here! When I look back at the work I did during my time living there last year, I realize each step was pivotal. I had no idea what I was doing at the time, except I just followed one stepping stone to the next. Today, I have traveled here 8 times (10 by the end of 2015) and spent over a year here. Although it's not consistent yet, I know that each step leads to the next in achieving our overall goals. I've hosted one workshop here, one retreat, and I'm teaching one now, and I've shown over 10 clients real estate property (not a ton but it's hard when you're not there full time). I'm close to making my first sale if it's in the stars - but today, I am just happy. So blessed to have cultivated each opportunity and to continue to learn massive amounts of knowledge with each one.

My Favorite Photos By Me & Pete or Of Me in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Finding Balance to Create Opportunities

Making your dreams come true happens one step at a time. Not worrying about what the final vision will look like but rather following your calling each day and doing something proactive (even if that means self-care and taking days off) is how you will get there. I know in my heart of hearts that the perfect outcome is always what's happening right now, and I feel bliss. I'm traveling here - working, living, playing. You can call me an international business woman! I know I've achieved far more than people realize, give me credit for, or care to know, but I don't really care about them. Yesterday, the property owners I'm working with talked to me about future projects, and I brought up the treatment center. They listened intently for a long time as I went through the plan. Years after the plan was made, I'm finally seeing how it can become a reality. That doesn't mean I ever lacked faith, though!

Opportunity looks a lot like hard work.
— Ashton Kutcher

I can't wait for the retreat but I'm also missing my husband. Being here so often without him is very bittersweet. I love the simplicity of our life together and waking up to him each morning. Spending so much time apart ensures we always appreciate the small moments, and I know that we will be happy together regardless of where we end up. I know one thing's for sure though: I'm having a hell of a good time chasing my dreams. I'm working on enjoying what each moment holds. Manifesting your dreams doesn't mean "day dreaming" - it means knowing what you want and then showing up for those things to happen, stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Will we end up moving here in a couple months? Make sure to subscribe to the blog through Bloglovin' to stay in the know and catch Part 2 - the resolution of this story! I'll leave you with some pics of me practicing yoga on the Nautilus yoga deck this trip, two friends I made here in Santa Teresa that have the same name except one in English and one in Spanish (Constanza & Constance), & this bomb-ass vegan pizza I just had at Olam while writing this blog post.

Ciao, loves! Pura Vida! Please keep in touch with my via social media! I LOVE to hear from you!

Rima Danielle Jomaa

Rima is an entrepreneur, psychotherapist & yoga teacher from LA. She hosts the "The Rima the Jungle Girl" podcast from her jungle house in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, where she lives the life of her dreams every single day. You can find her atwww.rimathejunglegirl.com or on Instagram @rima_danielle.