Before I left for Costa Rica, I had every intention of coming home and writing a story about my grueling but rewarding volunteer work for LAST, a sea turtle conservation group. But sometimes, the story we expect isn’t always the one we get. And this time, I was way off the mark. Let me be clear, both grueling and rewarding volunteer work was involved in my adventure, and I’ll touch on that. But, a tale focused only on sea turtles in Costa Rica isn’t the one that’s been brewing. Instead, I can’t stop thinking about three gringas who traveled to a third-world country and had the adventure of a lifetime. Let’s start with a teaser.
Three gringas and a 700-mile road-trip across Costa Rica
On a Saturday afternoon in mid-December, I met two sisters Honora Gabriel and Rita Southard at the Liberia airport. From there, we road-tripped for five days and 709 miles along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Here are just a few of our experiences: we hiked seven miles in the jungle along the Golfo Dulce, planted mangrove seeds with our hands, crossed an estuary where crocodiles swim, and measured a hawksbill’s shell. On the Osa Peninsula, we slept in concrete cabins with cockroaches, cold showers, and no air conditioning. In Quepos, we heard the howler monkeys’ husky roars before we saw some a day later in Tamarindo. We also saw macaws, toucans, parrots, a sleeping sloth, iguanas, and white-faced capuchin monkeys. We ate rice and beans five times in two days and an empanada at a roadside soda. On snaking, two-lane roads, sometimes in the rain, we passed men cutting brush with machetes, mule-drawn carriages, and people of all ages and genders riding street-legal dirt bikes with one or maybe five passengers.
There were times on that 700-mile trip when we squealed like ecstatic teenage girls. But, there were also times when we were forced to step outside our comfort zones, physically, mentally, and culturally. For me, the remarkable part is that we never melted down or gave up. Not for 700 miles. Not when I threw up in a Ziplock bag, or Nora killed cockroaches, or sand fleas assaulted Rita. Even when an intoxicated tico screamed karaoke at us in Puerto Jiménez, a town straight out of a Wild West movie, we didn’t give up. Looking back, we not only survived that road-trip, but we thrived. Because somewhere along those dusty, winding roads, three women became lifelong friends.
Coming in 2020
Coming soon, I’ll be writing more about our road-trip across Costa Rica. Plus, I’ll share a story about a vicious dog who attacked Floyd over Thanksgiving in Kentucky, and another about CBD oil and our sixteen-year-old cat’s remarkable comeback. This spring we’ll be visiting the Gentle Barn, a farm sanctuary in a neighboring county, and this summer we’re returning to the Puget Sound Goat Rescue to check in on Rosebud, our favorite three-legged goat.
Happy Holidays y’all!