Pura Vida: The Simple Life

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to travel. Growing up, travel primarily consisted of explorations around my home state of Alaska. As a little girl, I didn't appreciate those frequent adventures the way I do now. I ached for exotic (hot and sunny!) locales and opposed twelve-hour hikes through grizzly country. Ruined completely after our first trip to Hawaii at the age of six, no amount of King Salmon could compare.

I believe there are two kinds of vacations. The first, I describe as character-building. To me, all Alaskan outings (excursions) are character-building. They mostly suck, punctuated by brief moments of fear, exhilaration and awe (sprinkled throughout). They are challenging, uncomfortable, and occasionally painful. In this way, they are much like life, simply crammed into a brief period. After successfully navigating a challenging, uncomfortable, and painful experience, I feel strong, capable, and accomplished. Such is the case with these adventures.

The second type of vacation, I describe as rejuvenating. Filling my tank, shifting my perspective just enough to remove the blinders of everyday life. Looking up long enough to see there is a big big world out there. One in which I'm not at the center of everything (wait, what!?). Right size me please! These are the vacations that I yearn for.

Rejuvenating vacation checklist: sun, sand, water, and my sons, Braydon and Brooks.

When I was married, my husband and I traveled often due to his work. After our separation and divorce, I feared those days were behind me. My self-doubt about affording those experiences on my own was HUGE. For four years, I simply couldn't. I cut all unnecessary costs, lived minimally, and tucked money away whenever possible. My diligence is paying off. Last year, I could afford to take my boys on a ten-day vacation to Hawaii. Talk about rejuvenating! The realization that “I can do this all on my own!” was beyond gratifying, and dare I say 'character building'. I have never regretted taking a trip - neither the sacrifices made, money spent, nor the time away. I always receive much more than I give.

To my surprise, one year later, here I sit on yet another rejuvenating vacation with my boys. This year, in Costa Rica. I am with not just them, but their best friends as well. My boyfriend (oh, how I hate that word. It makes me feel like I am twelve again, and we are going steady), Rob Divelbess, has two sons the same age as Braydon and Brooks. The four of them were friends long before I met Rob. We are the perfect travel companions, all with our BFF’s at our sides. Together, refilling our tanks, shifting our perspectives, getting outside of ourselves, and not regretting one single moment. The Costa Ricans say it perfectly: pura vida... the simple life.