connection in costa rica

my two weeks spent in costa rica seem to have flown by sooner than I can say the words ‘pura vida’

speaking honestly, leaving canada again in the beginning of november didn’t look quite as I intended it would. I was going through a bit of a slump back home, wondering and questioning what I will be doing next and feeling a bit uninspired. no less than twelve hours before leaving home for the airport, as I tried to pack and organize my things I broke down and cried in my parents kitchen. a mix of overwhelm, stress, and anxious feelings that had been piling high for awhile without being noticed seemed to come out all at once. if anything, giving myself the space to let out all these emotions was exactly what I needed. it was a huge sense of release and a point where I could then allow myself the chance to simply breathe and relax.

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at four a.m the next morning, waking up tired and sleepy-eyed as I headed to the airport, I kept thinking if I wanted to make the most of this trip I needed to set an intention of being present, letting go of the need to control anything and take things as they would come. little did I know that setting this intention prior to my journey would help pave the way for an unforgettable two week journey far exceeding any expectations I could have had at the time.

so after a long day of continuous travel I arrived late in the night in San Jose where Sergio was eagerly awaiting my arrival. I met Sergio back in Squamish, BC when I helped guide another adventure retreat with Run Like A Girl. we were both staying with Hailey and Eduardo at the time as I was guiding and he was gearing up to race on Team Costa Rica for the Primal Quest (an insane 500 km multi-adventure race). knowing I was coming to Costa Rica later in the fall we agreed to meet up. as the date for my departure was coming soon, we chatted briefly and I decided to give complete trust in someone I had only met for a day or two before. between exploring endless local trails, hopping from beach to beach, discovering powerful, awe-inspiring waterfalls and spending all week deep in exceptional conversation, placing trust in someone I barely knew turned into incredible memories and a new lifelong friendship. I will forever be so undeniably thankful for all of these experiences and for Sergio.

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the week that followed, I would be working for Run Like a Girl as a guide for their Chakra Adventure Wellness retreat. coming back into San Jose, I was excited to meet the twelve women from Canada, USA and the UK who had come to experience an incredible week adventuring together. meeting everyone for the first time during an early morning breakfast, we no sooner left for our journey to San Jeronimo where we would then stay at the Chakra Ecolodge perfectly nestled in the heart of the mountains between Chirripo National Park and La Amistad International Park.

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trying to sum up the week long retreat in a short write up seems nearly impossible. I could speak at length of each inspiring woman that showed up so presently - coming together from all different walks of life, sharing their stories and vulnerabilities, overcoming challenges and shining so beautifully all week long, encouraging one another and their desire to grow but also have SOO much fun together. I could touch on the incredible hikes and runs, towering water falls, relaxing days at the beach, daily yoga in Chakra’s breath taking open faced wooden platform high in the mountains, or the pure serenity and peace we all found in the off the grid ecolodge. I could also speak of the growth the entire group experienced individually and as a collective, seeing women fearlessly opening up, friendships being formed, lessons from others experiences, as well as my own take aways and experiences. honestly, my heart explodes thinking of this week and replaying all of the moments in my head. thinking of one time in particular, at the end of our last morning yoga session we all shared one word that resonated with us during our five days in the mountains. words like gratitude, growth, joy, relaxation and peace came up. I definitely felt drawn towards all of those words, but what really stuck out the most for me was the word connection.

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connection is something that showed up in a variety of different ways for me during this time. undeniable connections with the incredible women in our group, feeling so intertwined and connected to the natural environment and all of the beautiful landscapes that completely surrounded us, and lastly a deep and true connection to myself that I found within my intention of letting things unfold naturally and being fully present to these experiences.

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I also need to mention how incredible it was to reconnect with the amazing local staff who truly are the heart and soul behind the Chakra Ecolodge. Don Louis, Martina and their daughter Roxanna, along with the main guides Felipe and Eduardo who started the ecolodge. coming back to Chakra, seeing their smiling faces again and being welcomed with such open arms touched me more than I can put into words. I also have so much love and gratitude for Eugenia, our retreat's inspiring yoga teacher, who added so much depth to the week and also towards the crew at Run Like a Girl who have dreamed up these retreats and shared the opportunity for people to feel empowered and seek personal growth through a shared love of outdoor movement, health and doing what brings them to life.

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bursting with joy and gratitude, on day five of the retreat we hiked back down from the ecolodge to the village of San Jeronimo where we helped the local gardening club plant pots for our community project. leaving the village and ecolodge with bittersweet goodbyes we drove from the mountains to the beach where we would spend our last two days relaxing alongside the oceans edge and enjoy the last of our time together before we had to say our farewells.

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after finishing up the retreat I spent the next few days I had left in costa rica at the beach where I had some time to take everything in. throughout the entire two weeks, it seemed that little lessons and important reminders seemed to present themselves in a variety of ways and allowed room for so many opportunities for growth and understanding. having the opportunity to slow down and take in my surroundings - seeing things more fully with eyes of curiosity and wonder, the opportunity to connect with the most beautiful people on a very meaningful level, and the opportunity to connect, or rather reconnect with myself after losing touch a bit while back in canada.

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I think it’s also important to mention that while I left canada in a bit of a slump, it is totally normal to experience these periods in our life - we are all human after all. I certainly don’t mean to say we need to jump on a plane or find a means of ‘escape’ from our every day life to find contentment or move through these times, but if anything it’s important to tune into the times we are feeling off and take responsibility for how we will respond to it. whether it be releasing with a good cry, setting little intentions to move forward (whatever they may be), journaling more frequently, keeping yourself accountable to meditate or finding simple things in your life that bring you joy and make you feel more aligned with yourself. each person is so beautifully diverse, intricate and multi-facetted, and I truly believe we hold so much more power than we sometimes allow ourselves to believe, but it really is up to us to believe it, tune into it and take the best steps forward to connect back with ourselves.

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so coming back from costa rica, feeling so full of life from the sunshine, experiences and growth, working for a guiding company I am SO passionate about, meeting truly remarkable individuals and sharing memories with them I will never forget, I have returned home feeling so connected. connected to costa rica, connected to the natural environment, connected to others, and really connected to myself.

so muchas gracias costa rica & until next time…

KARA FOLKERTSComment