The week began at 3am on Monday morning. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say the old week and the old life ended on that dark morning at 3am in a town 4298 km from home. I was getting out of my taxi and trying to explain who I was, and what I wanted at this early hour to the sleep deprived hostel employee.
Eventually I had a bed, a locker for my valuables, and a powerful desire to melt into the grey nothingness of sleep for an extended period of time. I had made it, I was here, but after traveling for 18 hours, I was exhausted.
When I crawled out of bed, found the coffee and struggled to string my thoughts together, I began chatting with the other hostel residents. A slightly older gentleman and his wife explained many of the basic subtleties of hostel travel, gave me recommendations and some help with my spanish. Another resident talked to me about swimming and hiking. He was from the Vancouver area and had done a lot of the hikes I wanted to do, along with surfing and language classes. I had done so much reading preparing for the trip, but an hour of talking to other travelers was dramatically more useful than most of my reading online.
Beautiful inviting view from the hostel front door welcoming me to a bright Costa Rica morning.
My first suicide shower. Thanks to JohnnyVagabond’s How to survive a suicide shower I knew how to use it.
I planned to spend the first day in Costa Rica just adjusting to culture, working on my spanish and preparing for the next steps. I spent the afternoon wandering around Alajuela, trying to decipher street signs using my handy-dandy spanish to english dictionary, smiling at the residents and ordering my lunch at a local restaurant entirely in spanish. Given how poor my spanish is at this point, ordering my food without using english felt like an accomplishment worthy of jumping up and down, fist bumping, and general tom-foolery!
Coming from the end of an Oklahoma winter, the beautiful central costa rican weather with it’s swaying palm trees and warm breezes and friendly locals is just a soul swelling experience. The beginning of a dream come true. I’d actually done it! I’d dismantled my old life and started a new one. A new phase of my journey was underway.