Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

I was pretty lucky that my quad dorm was empty, so I had first choice of bed (bottom bunk, duh).  Although, I wouldn’t have minded having one other person in the room to socialize with. After settling in, I walked down the road and grabbed dinner at Burger Rancho (didn’t get a burger, but chicken tacos and they were great), then came back to go to sleep. My neighbors were singing ballads until Midnight, so it was pretty loud, but it wasn’t so bad.

I’m used to getting up at 5:30am to surf, so even with my little sleep, I was still up early and headed to the beach to check out the surf. I decided I wanted to hit the waves today so I rented a board and went out with a group. I’ve been riding an 8’ 6” board, but on my last day at Shaka I went down to an 8’ 2” board. For giggles, I decided to grab a 7’ 6” board today. I made it out to the green waves (much easier on a small board) and after 6 or so failed attempts, I finally felt comfortable on the new size and was able to pop up and ride. The shorter board takes longer to catch the wave, but once it does, it goes fast!! It was a lot of fun, and afterwards I enjoyed fresh coconut water and cantaloupe.

I spent the next part of the day walking around looking for a new rash guard. I didn’t have any luck, but I did find a really good smoothie. I also spent some more time tanning and reading on the beach with a fresh coconut. Then, after watching sunset I went back to my room to discover that I had a roommate!!

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Tan and happy 🙂
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Outdoor Seating at Earth Cafe
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Centaur on the beach

She is from Jersey and very nice. We met up with two guys from Florida at this beachfront bar where we had a few drinks, played some pool (with pool sticks that didn’t have tips) and then headed home since the guys had to catch a 4am ferry. On the way back Helena and I were talking about how it was nice that we had a four person room to ourselves, but of course when we got back around 11pm, there were two other people in there so our luck ran out! The good news was, at 11pm it was already quiet. The karaoke travelers must have gone to bed early, or left.

Surf and Sushi.

This morning was the final surf for most of us. The waves weren’t as good as yesterday, but what I loved was that it was storming. The sky looked ominous and eventually it started raining. There is nothing better than getting caught in the rain when you’re already wet. I caught a couple good waves today, but I also swallowed a fair share of salt water! Another fun and successful morning.

The rest of the day was spent literally doing nothing mixed in with a little reading, some hammock action, and a bit of packing. Around 5pm a few of us were having some pre-dinner drinks. Amongst the stories told, there was one about portals and UFOs nearby. I swear I saw a UFO last time I was in Costa Rica.. we figured it was just a comet with a fire tail…but now it has me wondering again…

We all went out for dinner tonight, to a really great Sushi place. The atmosphere was perfect with the outside tables, cafe lights and live chill music. The sushi was killer and it was a great last supper for our crew. We had already lost Jon and Jennifer earlier today, but two new people joined tonight. Saying goodbye is a sad ritual, we all  know approximately when someone is leaving so we hang out in the common area and when their cab pulls up we all give hugs and say goodbye.

The next morning it was my dad’s turn, and that was the most sad! I’m going to miss his company. My turn followed shortly after, although I really wasn’t going that far.. I hopped into a cab with Simone and Klaus and headed to Santa Teresa where I checked into my hostel. Let the solo times roll..

Shred and Tread

Shred and Tread

Today’s tide allowed for both me and my dad to surf in the morning. Mine was at 6am and his at 8am. I had another great time and I think my best waves yet. Although, I’m really starting to feel sore in my arms, but luckily my coach today, Danny, gave me a tow so I could catch one last wave. I never turn down a free tow out to the green, but I tried to keep it low key so the others wouldn’t get jealous LOL. Since our afternoon was free, we booked ATVs to ride to Montezuma.

It was a dusty ride, but the views were worth it! We drove through the town and then along the coast and eventually through the jungle. There was endless vegetation, animals, and beautiful ocean to look at. Although, I feel horrible because the Halloween crabs are starting to come out now that it’s beginning to rain and while I tried my best to avoid them, I ran over two :(((((

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We arrived and hiked to the water fall where we went for a swim. It felt great to get all of the dust off. Then, walked around town for a bit before heading back and stopping at the cutest bakery where we bought très leche cake (quattro leche since we washed it down with milk). The plan was to stop at a beach bar on the way back, but we passed by some kids selling coconuts and I always support lemonade/coconut stands since I know the hustle very well. That, plus the cake made us too full so we just kept riding.

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We returned in time to shower and make the daily sunset drinks at Pranamar Villas. Back at Shaka, they were playing 80s music so a dance party began with the featured groove, the backpack kid dance. I tried not to eat too many of our favorite chips, Gina’s, because it was pizza night. Then….the pizza came out! We ate our weight in pizza only to learn that John and Jennifer brought ice cream sandwiches for everyone, so we ate some more. The brand of ice cream is called Trits, which turned into a game of using the ice cream name in exchange for something that sounds similar (think about it). You can probably guess who went to bed first.

Shaka Shred

Shaka Shred

To my delight, the first day of surf was at 2pm, meaning I was able to sleep in. After a morning yoga session focused on shoulders I indulged in a delicious breakfast and then lounged around until it was time to get ready to surf. Admittedly, I felt the need to perform well to show I’ve actually improved since I was last here in 2016.

I had my same surf instructor as last time, Mike. I enjoy joking around with him, but I tried my best to stay focused for my dad’s sake. I’m happy to report that we both fared well in the waves…me a bit further back 😉 It was so much fun to get out there again. I just love the waves at this beach. Since today was a success for me, I was given the option to do the morning surf tomorrow behind the break. At first I said no, but with some encouragement from the others who went out this morning I committed.

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Off to the land of Pura Vida.

Off to the land of Pura Vida.

Today was an early wake up call. I was at the airport at 3:45am. I didn’t sleep the night before but mostly because I was just so excited to be starting my journey again. That said, I wasn’t the least bit tired. Due to de-icing and low fuel levels our plane took off 60 minutes late. Oh yea, our. The first leg of the trip I’m not traveling solo, but with my dad! I’m excited to show him the place that opened my eyes to solo travel.

It was a bit ironic that our flight was so delayed because we had just dealt with cancelled flights a week before. The airline we were using from San Jose to the small airport near our lodging was shut down. Luckily, were able to get on a flight with the only other airline that makes that route.

Continue reading “Off to the land of Pura Vida.”

Packing, the second time around.

You think it would be easier to pack the second time around, but you know the saying, what you don’t know can’t hurt you? Well, now I know what I would like to bring and that I don’t have room for it all. Notice I said “what I would like to bring”. If I only packed what I needed, I’d be squared away.

You see, similar to last time, I know I need more cold weather clothes. I also know, especially in Europe, that I need smarter looking clothes. I’d prefer not to tour nice museums and wander the streets amongst well-dressed Italians in my dirty tennis shoes, ripped jeans, and baggy t-shirt. So, here is what I concluded.

Continue reading “Packing, the second time around.”

Halfway Point.

I can’t believe I’m going home tomorrow (temporarily)… While I’ve only been traveling for 2 months it feels more like 6 months (in a good way). Sharing rooms, talking to strangers, getting lost, leaving my comfort zone, seeing new things, having little routine, etc. has become my norm.

I took the bullet train back to Tokyo and I felt good knowing already where my hostel was because I chose to stay in the same one. I was beyond happy to see my large bag was still there! I checked in and someone managed to fit all of my things into either my big bag, backpack or carry on shopping bag. I had signed up last week for a futsal tournament that was for 6pm today. It was 45 minutes away by transit and I was feeling a bit lazy but I told myself I had to go. When else was I going to play soccer in Japan? Also, it was only 5pm and it was too early for bed.  So, I went.

It was beautiful out and the games would be played outside! I wore my soccer shorts, which I had brought as pajamas and my T-shirt that I got after bungee jumping in New Zealand, also used as pajamas. I only had tennis shoes, but luckily it was short carpet turf so I wouldn’t slide around too much. The field consisted of boards put over a swimming pool and covered in sheets of blanket turf. Not the best or safest, but I was just eager to play! There were about 18 of us there, 3 teams of 6. I was the only girl. I haven’t played a game in 5 months, and I haven’t been working out much either so I was a little nervous. I could tell they were kind of judging me too, hoping I wouldn’t suck and screw up their game. I was asking a few about themselves as we warmed up and they were giving me short answers. Sorry fellas, I can actually play and talk at the same time 😉

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The game started and it didn’t take long for them to realize I was here to play. I was in my element, playing well and having a blast. My fitness level was actually okay too! I had a couple goals, many assists, a few nutmegs and fake-outs. I even had a few impressive defensive stops. I was proud when I heard one of them call me a warrior. Once, while taking my rotation as goalie one of them took a shot and it hit me hard square on the leg. He apologized multiple times, but I just told him if he would have shot the ball even harder he might have actually scored 😉

After 2 hours of play, we ended and said our goodbyes. I went to head back to my train station when I realized that my 2G of data I had bought must have ran out. Perfect! I had never been to this area before! I did get on the wrong train, but eventually managed to get on the right one and 25 minutes later that it should have taken, I made it back. I showered and then went to bed, or least attempted, I can never sleep before a big flight!

Halfway point.. there are several things that I’ve realized.

Did I get bored? Never! There are too many things to experience out in this world to feel bored.

Did I feel tired? At times, yes, but no more than I would at home. I’ve done a good job of taking time to rest and not feeling guilty about it. I also move around enough and a new city refuels my energy.

Did I miss home? Of course, but not enough to call it quits. I would love see some friends or family but the amount of new people I’m meeting here kind of fills that void in an obviously different way.

Have I spent more money than planned? Only in New Zealand, but that was a conscious choice to experience specific thrills. And then maybe some of the shopping in Japan 😉

Did I pack the right things? For the most part yes. I could have used more winter clothes in Japan. I didn’t need to bring laundry detergent. Of course, I could have used a few more clothes, but I really didn’t have room.

Best part? Meeting new people and experiencing new things with them. The people I met were in the same mindset as me and that was perfect. Everyone was open, appreciative and excited. I loved seeing all of the beauty, culture and landmarks that each city had to offer, but just as beautiful were the connections I made along the way.

Worst part? Nothing. Little things went wrong along the way but that is life and that made it interesting. Perhaps I just had the right attitude, but that’s okay too.