Playa Hermosa and thoughts of home.
We take off and make the beach just fine. Apparently i’m now officially a mechanic (as long as nothing important is broken). We pull across the bridge onto the nicoya peninsula and are eager to find raw untouched beaches. The first one we pass has nothing but 5star resorts. The next few beaches however are a bit more what we had hoped- quiet, slow-paced and tranquillo. Prices however are immediately like those in the states, or higher. Our time in Costa Rica will clearly be a scavenger hunt of cheapness. We pull into a campground off Playa Hermosa and quickly realize that our trip has come full circle.
Our first few months driving through baja and central mexico we almost never saw another tourist. It was too hot and nobody else was stupid enough (other than us) to vacation at that time. Semana Santa is officially the end of tourist season for most of central america and things plummet pretty quickly after that. Our last few weeks were spent in southern nica, where the surfer/backpacker crowd keeps a trickle flowing, but it seems we’ve found ourselves back in the “secluded” season. No hard to see why as its already getting unbearably hot and the humidity is starting to pick up with it.
The owners of the campground open the gate for us and try pointing to the worst space in the yard- in the direct sun and beside the bano despite the fact no other vehicles are here. We have a better idea and keep driving before settling under a giant mimosa in the back. Tons of shade and the whole place to ourselves. Well us, and the horse. The pet horse pandora is aptly named. She’s always wandering around getting into trouble and is always hungry. She never misses a meal to try stealing our food and we wonder what kind of havoc she creates back at the bus while were away at the ocean.
We spend the next few days lounging in a hammock and surfing the web in between monkey sightings, strange/exotic bird watching and chasing pandora away from the bus. As we lounge, we are still trying to find a way to get back home, even if only for a while. We know the money doesn’t work for us to be there long term, but we’re struggling for a way to get there for at least a visit. It’s not only about the friends/family we miss back home but also about what we need for this trip.
Were ready for a shift of some kind. Either a break or a leap, or somehow both. A break isn’t the right word maybe, but its the closest we can find. This isn’t a vacation for us but (at least for now) a way of life. What we need is some time away from it to come back more rejuvenated. A break from living on the road and sweating all day every day, a break from having to meet all new people each day and wondering whether we will make it to our destination each afternoon. A break from pushing ourselves to answer the question about what’s next just because it somehow seems the expected result of this drive.
Instead, we are seeking to fill the gaps of time with other things. Meeting friends for happy hour to decompress in the afternoon, watching their kids play, backpacking on weekends and being creative. Having the space to stretch out a canvas or a roll of paper and see what it gets filled with by at the end of the day. To see how we want to spend each day when there’s nothing else to do. To have an option of food other than rice and beans and a drink other than rum. Bourbon- how i miss thee. Don’t get me wrong, rice and beans and rum and camping and meeting new people are all great, and our days are amazing because of all of them...but this time in our lives is all about exploration, and following our hearts where they lead us. We don’t know what exactly it is we are seeking (from a trip home), but it seems like it might be about time to go find out.
When we ran into Jeff and Monica back in Nicaragua they mentioned that they had a half empty vehicle container heading for the states and offered to split it with us. An easy way back home without repeating the drive, and E would have company! It really got us thinking and we are considering jumping on the offer. We would have to really haul through costa rica to make it to the port in panama city in time...and with the recent state of E that seems a bit difficult. It also seems so very final- the idea of shipping the bus home somehow feels like our trip is over and we just aren’t sure we’re ready for that yet...but we do like the idea of being home before spring is over.
We’ve heard a few times recently from other overlanders that there is a magical 8month wall that most people hit on the road. After 8months they say, you need a break. Some time away to refuel and reset the mind. Oddly, that seems about right for what happened/is happening to us as well. I guess we had just read too many stories about people who travelled like this for years at a time that we hadn’t realized there was any other way (or without realizing they took breaks in the middle). Oddly enough however, almost everyone else we’ve met on the road thus far is currently either parking their vehicle to return home for a few months or shipping their vehicle home. Most of them also started the trip a few months after us, so as usual we’re a bit behind. In no way do i ever mean to sound like we aren't having a good time. Quite the contrary. We are having the time of our lives. We respect every second of where we are and what we are able to do- and are eternally grateful for the opportunity. But, our dreams and plans have always included home and now were stuck with the reality of how to fit that in. We also simply need to listen to our brains and hearts now, as they tell us that we need a break, or need to see things from the other side.
We have heard this from a lot of the others on the road as well...that you almost start taking things for granted or that they have less impact on you. I remember back to when i took an architectural history course in college that had the opportunity of a group bus tour through italy. The first few days we were all awestruck. We would walk into a cathedral, tilt the head back 30degrees and spin in circles with jaw open, aghast at the beauty of the structure/art around us. A few weeks into the trip we would walk into even more majestic cathedrals, take a quick glance at the ceiling and continue on. We would shrug as if “seen one you’ve seen them all” was the order of the day. How horrible... but even the most amazing things begin to lose their luster because you've seen so many the brain cant take it all in at once.
I guess we are feeling a small amount of that now. Here, we feel like maybe we are losing perspective a bit. When i walk out onto a glorious, deserted beach and feel anything other than an overpowering of beauty that knocks me off my feet or makes me want to run around doing cartwheels... we have a problem. It’s time for a break. A break to let the mind take in all we’ve seen, adjust to our new selves and then continue on eager and ready for more jawdropping goodness. I wont bore you with brain research and attention span debates, but coming from someone as severely ADD as i am...there’s a reason why recess was invented.
Already, others back home have urged us to trudge on. They’ve said that it’s too easy to get lost on other things and that we’ll never come back to finish the trip. That it’s just too hard to leave normal life behind and we’ll be missing out on our “once in a lifetime” chance. We are concerned about looking back on things and feeling differently, but we also never want to get to a point where we feel like we’re just "checking off countries" like they’re on a list or just visiting one more because "we’re already here".
Whether to park the vehicle for a while or to ship it home, that's a debate for certain. But whether we need to go remind ourselves of what's back home at some point in order to better make a decision about what’s next for our lives...that seems a given.
When, and how...that all seems a bit more difficult.