When I was young, I dreamed of travel. I read novels with exotic settings. I had a poster of Santorini, Greece on my wall, andI was one day headed to Australia, India, and Nepal.
But life happens, and travel costs money. I married and had a family. It wasn’t just me anymore. We were Mr. and Mrs. A. We decided to be a single income family so one of us could be home to raise our four kids. We made sacrifices, and the first thing on the chopping block was international travel. Wanderlust doesn’t die easily, though. Our concession was to travel extensively throughout our region, often returning to much loved family vacation spots. Still, the desire to explore the globe never went away.
The kids have now grown and are heading out on their own adventures. Two of them are wanderers, in college in other states, eager to strap on a backpack or grab a rolling bag and head down the terminal with their passport for adventure. The other two are more content to stick close to home, and it’s a struggle to take them anywhere these days. I chalk it up to the rubberband effect of friendships. Only time will tell.
That leaves us standing in our once bustling house, looking at each other again for what seems like the first time in twenty-five years of marriage. The reverberating echoes of school and band and dance and soccer, of fighting and laughing and vying for attention slowly dissipate, leaving us able to hear each other once more.
Twenty-five years. This was a big one. We talked of celebrating our anniversary in style. I suggested Hawaii. Tropical beaches, rugged landscape, and all of that ocean were calling. There were hills to climb. Maybe we would go mountain biking or snorkeling or take up surfing. We are not loungers, content to sit on the beach soaking in the sun, sipping Mai-Tais, not that there’s anything wrong with that. We prefer exploring, hiking, seeing the wildlife and the differences in environment and culture.
My husband was okay with Hawaii. Just okay. I knew he would make the trip for me. He does a lot of things for me. I wanted this to be for us, so when he came home talking about Costa Rica, my ears perked up. The thing with not traveling, though, is that it makes you nervous to take that first step. Isn’t that true of anything? We searched the internet. We contacted tour agencies. We got an estimate. Wow! It looked like Costa Rica might be cost prohibitive. The kids might be on their way out of the house, but they had left a trail of financial needs that we were still helping with. We put it all out of our minds and celebrated in a nice resort on the coast less than two hours from our house.
Still… Costa Rica was calling, whispering our names, jiggling us, asking us to consider the possibilities. Maybe if we planned our own trip…
So although our anniversary had passed, we were again looking at hotels and things to do in Costa Rica. We came across a little B&B in a remote mountain location called Monteverde that was not anywhere near the top of my list of places to see. The B&B was cute, and got high ratings on Tripadvisor, but was only available for one night within the small time frame we were looking at. We looked at each other. Should we? Nervously, we gave that ball a push, and soon it was rolling. With one reservation taken care of, we only needed a flight, my passport, and the whole rest of our ten day trip filled in. I had always dreamed of being a travel agent, and I got to work immediately. Soon we had the whole vacation lined up with hotels and tours and transportation. Before we knew it, we were on our way.
I’ll leave the rest of the trip for some other time. Suffice it to say that Monteverde was our favorite part an amazing trip, even though we only spent one night here. It’s green, cool, peaceful, and very focused on conservation. We took a tour with a local guide, Marcos, who led us immediately to a quetzal and talked excitedly about the natural history of the cloud forest. We stayed at our cozy but upscale B&B and interacted with our lovely host, Carlos, as well as tourists from France and other parts of Europe. We came back from a night tour to a beautiful and delicious plate of plantains and ice cream and enjoyed breakfast in the morning on the open air patio. We made a connection to this place, and it was very hard to leave the next day.
There’s a whole world to explore. I hope to see so many things and places still, yet I long to get back to Monteverde. I want to wake up early and wander through the cloud forest. I want to sip delicious Costa Rican coffee on an outdoor patio while watching the birds. I want fresh pineapple with gallo pinto in the morning and passionfruit smoothies in the afternoon. Maybe I’ll even zip through the canopy.
If you’ll excuse me, I have a trip to plan.