La Fortuna, Costa Rica (Day 3)

This was our best day, so far! After Beth’s two yoga classes (both of which featured a rooster crowing and a hummingbird flitting around), we enjoyed a homemade brunch and did a bit of work prior to the day’s activity – a hike in the rainforest. This was followed by a soak in a hot spring, a Mediterranean dinner and, I think, an early bedtime. I know what you’re thinking – tough life we have, right?

Beth at the foot of Arenal Vilcano

I do appreciate the life we’ve created post-child rearing. It’s got the right mix of work and play. That’s important. I think we deserve a good year after a complicated 2022-23 season.

The rainforest trip began with parrots flying overhead and a guide I immediately recognized as top flight. His name is Wesler and he helped make the day one to remember.

Wesler Corrales Castro

Yes, we saw a toucan, a group of spider monkeys jumping through the trees, a sloth and a boa constrictor. Yes, we also got in a strenuous hike, avoided any rain and listened to a cool musician looping while we enjoyed dinner . But those things were not my favorite part of the day.

My favorite moment was listening to Wesler tell me about his youth. He grew up poor, but joyously happy. His home, a small abode in the middle of a coffee field, had two beds for five people and a dirt floor. Despite the fact that he and his siblings worked hard planting and harvesting with his parents, they shared a life that sounded blissfully simple.

“If we had fruit or fish, we shared it with one another and gave whatever was left to our neighbors. This was how I learned to be with others, to always be connected to them and the nature around us.”

“We worked five days, Monday through Friday, for our parents to help pay for what the family needed. On Saturdays, my father told us that we could keep the profit from whatever we farmed. This is how I learned to work for my family first and for myself second. It’s also how I learned to value my efforts because I had to choose how to spend my money. Did I want new shoes, or something else? I remember saving up to buy a Jansport backpack. I loved it because I earned it by getting up at 4am and finishing by 9:30am when my friends were just starting their day.”

I admire young fathers like Wesler. He gives me hope in our future. He helps me to see that we are so much more than what’s in the news making us believe that the world is a mostly horrible place filled with mostly selfish folks. It’s not. And we’re not. That’s one of the primary things I have learned from travel.

May you, too, know the joys of a simple, healthy life lived with people who long to share it with you.

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