travel dispatch: costa rica

I have saltwater in my veins, in my blood. My skin is smooth from the ocean’s sandblasting. I am full of sleep, my body running on real, nourishing food. The last ten days of travel, hanging out in Costa Rica, mellowed my soul and mended my mind. My husband and I took a honeymoon 2.0, eschewing all responsibility for a getaway to one of the most beautiful enclaves on earth.

We fled the city with backpacks and yoga mats, leaving a trail of moving boxes and contractors at our new house. We had creaky muscles and stunted spines and we were searching for something to heal, lengthen and reconnect us to life outside the chaos.

Having been to this magical section of Central America three years prior, we exited the airport and instantly felt at home in the humid heat. It was our way of prolonging summer. Driving down the Pacific coast, I felt everything start to melt away. This trip was something that we needed—not because of any troubles or issues. Just because we had been run down, and we love to travel.

The oasis that we landed in (a secret spot in paradise) welcomed us back and we spent the days in the outdoor yoga shala, sampling classes every day from a global faculty of teachers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all from a 100-kilometre radius, cooked in small kitchens with homestyle love woven in. After three straight weeks of takeout and restaurants, fresh fruit, rice, beans and fish felt divinely sent. Evenings saw us running down to the beach, diving through the waves and celebrating another sunset with local beer, nestled in the sand.

Sitting under jungle trees, with howler monkeys sending out an unusual soundtrack, we talked about everything—who we want to be, the current state of the world, the dream life in Costa Rica. It was a vivid reminder of who I am, who my husband is, what we love to do. So often the day-to-day chaos of cooking, cleaning, working, socializing, everything, can fog the mirror of who you are. This change of pace was a welcome way to reacquaint myself with myself- with the person who cares deeply about other people, about world issues, music, reading, traveling, surf, exploration.

Our goals for this trip were to relax. Chill out. Our biggest plan was to have no plans. We ended up taking yoga classes every single day, and were loyal to our evening ritual of jumping in the waves. With each wave, and each downward dog (of which there were hundreds of each), healing layers peeled off. We made amazing friends in the short span of time, cutting clear to the essentials, leaving everyone wondering—had we met before?

As I sit at 30,000 feet, somewhere over North America, I feel content. I feel grateful and fortunate, but also clear on who I am, and how this trip wasn’t just fun, it was a priority. Eliminating the noise of the day-to-day was essential. Hitting pause and going inward, healing and chilling out—that was the exact itinerary I needed.

alex kelly

public health + personal wellness