Jumping out of the box

Trip Start Oct 27, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
I stayed in San Pedro the first night and then travelled, tents in hand down the Central Pacific.
What I did
Manuel Antonio National Park.

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of San Jose,
Sunday, January 3, 2010

    This was my very first trip abroad, solo. Life had become mundane and I was stymied as to where to go and what to do from this point on, so I enrolled in an Outward Bound course in Costa Rica, where I would learn how to surf, do service work and surrender all control of life as I knew it. Sounded fantastic to me, after all it would just be for 10-11 days. 

    So, in the early morning hours of January 1, 2010, I started my journey to arrive hopefully in San Jose CR by 10 pm that night. Which, thankfully, I did.

We got to base camp at 1030 pm and I was wired for sound and needed a shower, bad. After meeting my room mate and course instructor I through myself into what is affectionatly known as a ' suicide shower '  because of the dangling electrical cords necessary to heat the water.

So, I headed to bed fully dressed in wool shirt and jeans, with wet hair. Well, needless to say, I froze all night, due to the elevation of base camp and my hair never dried. So, when the 5 am wake up call came, I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead of me. It was the second wake up call and my vain attempts to brush my teeth and wash my face before heading out for breakfast, which by now was just the cold leftovers and some jet fuel to get my heart started.

We were briefed on what the day held and needed to hustle back to our room to change, and re-pack what we needed for a day out rafting. I have to say that I've never been so unprepared for anything. I had absolutely no idea what I had gotten myself into.

Our first day we did some white water rafting down the Rio Pacure, it was picture perfect and jade green water. The Costa Rican rapid classing system is different than the Canadian system, so that day we rafted Class 5 rapids with 6 of us in the boat. At first I sat on the side, and then when given the chance, moved right up front to face to the water head on.

We spent the day on the river and chowed hard when we got back to base camp. I was still a bit disoriented, as everythng that could possibly be different was different. All of a sudden, I was no longer in control and I was the minority with little to no understanding of my surroundings or the language being spoken.

From base camp we moved on to Jaco beach, well, Playa Tulin is where we set up camp and Jaco is where I learned how to surf. First though, I needed a little humbling. I sheepishly recall actually trying to enforce my will on the Pacific Ocean, can you imagine?

Picture this, I'm standing in the Ocean after having been thrashed about in the white wash for a while, and my rash guard is rolling up, sunscreen is burning my eyes, I've got saltwater in places I didn't know possible and my hair is getting in my face and I think I actually stomped my foot and had a bit of  a temper tantrum, and I definately know that I said out loud " could you just stop for a f***king second?" and was properly right sized by the next over head wave that knocked me off my feet. I learned quite easily after that.

Although, truth be told, my surfboard ran the show for me most of the week, and it may have been 6 or 7 days in before Carlos, one of the instructors, told me that I didn't have to keep standing there and taking it on the head, that I could dive under and let it wash over me. What an epiphany that was! It's something that I still practise today.

This trip was filled many adventures, from rafting and surfing to watching a local soccer game and many things in between. Suffice it to say that this trip and what I learned changed my life and how I live. I love Costa Rica, it feels more like home than anyother place I've ever lived. It was like I finally knew where I belonged and who I was.

They're doing great things down there, not just Outward Bound, but the country itself. Check it out for yourself if you get the chance. Who knows? You may find yourself amongst the waves having a temper tantrum, too, or you may well find yourself at home, I know I did.

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