New York to Costa Rica

JFK Airport – Queens, NY

Tuesday, November 21 (2:30 pm)

International travel can present issues and challenges even when nothing goes wrong. For me, travel is an opportunity to use organizational and emotional tools like preparation, communication and feeling awareness. Today, that’s checking in on my anxiety. So far, so good. I have a great team in my corner and I think I have done the work to help make the journey go smoothly. At this moment, I’d say I’m a “2” on the anxiety scale – not bad for a Sullivan Count boy visiting the big city.

Leading up to this moment, I gave myself the assignment of finding a dental clinic in San Jose for Beth’s root canal and crown. This could not have been more painless, however, thanks to my men’s group brother and friend, Jim H., who has gone on six “dental adventures” to Costa Rica. Jim steered us to a great clinic with a doctor who is extremely efficient and, thankfully, very patient with us newbies. (More to follow in that as we experience it.)

Daughter, Steph, and her loyal and wonderful friend, Weston, arrived in Sullivan yesterday afternoon to return our Prius and enjoy a little family time between farming and her own trip to Central America. She will not be getting dental work, but it’s possible Beth, my mother and I will be grinding our teeth a bit while Steph traverses through rural parts of Guatemala and Mexico this winter. Again, travel simply comes with some anxiety because it’s riskier than eating a pizza in front of a TV. As I’ve said before, Steph inspires us to live life with what the Costa Ricans call Pura Vida.

Today, we said our goodbyes and Happy Thanksgivings to family and friends and drove the 3 hours to JFK (where I’m writing this post). In between, we parked our car in Queens and met people on the shuttle who were heading to Chicago and Morocco. I love to hear where people are going and it’s fun to talk to strangers. Yeah, I’m one of THOSE Americans who chat up waitresses, school custodians and postal workers. It’s half the fun of life this being friendly. Kudos to my father for modeling that.

Wednesday, November 22 (6:00 am)

I am waking up in San Jose after a successful and, thankfully, uneventful day of travel. On the plane, last night, I enjoyed the 3D map. In real time it showed us crossing over Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, the site where our CIA landed and unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro’s government. This led to a standoff with Russia known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

We passed over Nicaragua and the map showed El Salvador to the west. This was becoming a tour of embarrassing moments in history where the US purposely (and, again, unsuccessfully) meddled in other country’s affairs. Then, as now, some geopolitical strategists make a case as to why the USA must provide arms to others and advocate against for one side over another. It’s a tough call that often ends up with a lot of suffering.

Politics aside, the sky looks blue and a light breeze is moving the palm trees outside our hotel window. We may do Beth’s yoga classes in our room, but I will also see if our WiFi connection extends into the courtyard downstairs. If it does, we can shoot the class outdoors and near the pool. That would make for a nice background and we always prefer to be outside when it’s convenient.

That said, perhaps we can avoid an international incident on our first day and not barge into one more Central American country trying to get OUR way. Class will be indoors.

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