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Discovering My Fearlessness at Pink Pangea's Costa Rica Retreat

Discovering My Fearlessness at Pink Pangea's Costa Rica Retreat

This article was originally posted on Pink Pangea's site here. 

I cannot pinpoint the moment I began to look for writing retreats the summer of 2016, I just knew my soul needed to find a deeper sense of purpose through prose. Tremendous loss factored into my decision to look for personal inspiration. My mother passed away unexpectedly on February 2, 2016 from a heart attack. I am a huge proponent of experiencing life to the fullest, but her sudden death sent a jolt of sadness and reality to my system; I was reminded once again about the value and fragility of life. I needed to awaken my inner fears.

MY BEAUTIFUL MOM

MY BEAUTIFUL MOM

 

I love to express myself through words, but I never attended a retreat, never had taken a writing class, and never had traveled with women I did not know. Yet, the sense of community reflected through stories from previous Pink Pangea participants aligned with what I was intuitively searching for. I made the commitment to attend the Costa Rica retreat six months prior to the trip, also something out of character for me. I am a big last minute adventure traveler.

On a cold Saturday morning in Washington DC, I woke up at 3:50 in preparation to go to National Airport; my carryon full of yoga pants, swim suits, journals, and passport in hand. Pure nostalgia ran through my veins in anticipation for this new experience. I had a quick layover in Miami, and could not stop smiling a big cheesy smile walking past the LOVE & PEACE sign at the airport. I was almost in Costa Rica! As the plane landed in San Jose, I was overwhelmed with nervous emotion. How was the week going to unfold? Would our expectations be met? Would we all get along? Why did we decide to make this commitment to come to this retreat? 

This experience exceeded my expectations in every plausible way.

Every morning I woke up to a vibrant sunrise ready to start my day with a yoga class that overlooked glorious mountains, and every night I soaked in a hot tub watching the sunset in a tropical oasis. Each day was filled with copious amounts of fresh food, a plentiful selection of herbal teas, luscious fruit, and thoughtful conversation. On Friday, the last day of this magical retreat I sat on a hammock to absorb all the experiences I had embraced. I felt like I became a better version of myself; I came to Costa Rica with an open heart and an open mind. I was ready to find greater meaning in my life, to invest in myself, to breathe for serenity, to take my writing to the next level. I flipped through my journal to see how the week transformed my inner and outer being. At our first orientation session, we were asked to complete this prompt: “When I see myself writing I see…” I wrote: “I see potential to impact others but there’s a barrier of fear in my mind.” After less than a week some of those barriers dissipated into the clear blue Costa Rican sky. I asked myself, “Why?”

THE VIEW FROM THE YOGA STUDIO AT THE PURA VIDA SPA

THE VIEW FROM THE YOGA STUDIO AT THE PURA VIDA SPA

 

I had the opportunity to write about thought provoking topics personal to my heart in a paradise that embraced self-reflection and encouraged vulnerability. I read my writing in a space where critique was constructive and where I trusted peers for whom I had the utmost respect. I distinctly remember the day we wrote about “A Woman’s Worth.” I described my Mother’s journey from Bangladesh to the United States in the 1970s. Towards the end of sharing my story about her, I burst out in tears of joy and sadness. I could not believe that I had written words that possessed such raw emotion. It was incredible.

When I was not writing, the warmth of the air along with the sound of palm trees swaying in the wind guided my intention to stay in the present moment. I was free from daily responsibility, free from external noise, free from fear.

Above all else, what made this experience in Costa Rica memorable were the people. When I booked this trip, I did not realize that I would be at this retreat on February 2nd, the one year anniversary of my Mom’s passing. Yet, the ability to be my true self and to be comforted by newfound friends gave me the courage I needed to move forward in my life and through my writing.

I have transferred so much of what I learned in Costa Rica into my daily life; enough to conquer the world with all I can offer. I just needed the right opportunity to discover my fearlessness.

THE FEARLESS HAPPY MANGO

THE FEARLESS HAPPY MANGO

Why Partner Travel is the Next Big Thing

Why Partner Travel is the Next Big Thing

I lived the single girl dream. I had studied abroad in college, lived in various cities, and traveled on my own. I was – and still am – a HUGE proponent of single girl travel. With the world becoming more connected and easier to travel with apps and wifi almost everywhere, there’s no reason why anyone should deny themselves the gift of solo travel.

But all that changed when in December 2013, while traveling with Under30Experiences in Nicaragua, I met my now husband.  Falling in love with another traveler awarded us the opportunity to build our travel lifestyle together. In addition to various one off trips, we’ve lived in Costa Rica, got married in Nicaragua, and are now backpacking our way across Southeast Asia.

To say traveling with your partner is the best thing in the world is an understatement. Here are five reasons why:

1. Breaking Comfort Zones: It’s no secret that travel of any sorts pushes you outside of your comfort zone. But traveling with a partner brings it to a whole new level. When you travel with your partner, you find that you are willing to take steps outside your comfort zone that you may not have been able to do alone. Knowing you’re going to be caught no matter what and celebrating together after one of you conquers a fear? Priceless.

OVERCOMING MY FEAR OF ZIP LINING IN COSTA RICA

OVERCOMING MY FEAR OF ZIP LINING IN COSTA RICA

 

2. Experiencing Moments: Watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean with my husband is one of the most special memories I hold in my heart. Traveling with your partner provides you with experiences you otherwise would never have. You are sharing moments that you simply can’t describe to others, that you two alone own. You understand the impact on the other person without ever having to express one word. 

RICH IN EXPERIENCES - WATCHING THE SUN SET IN BALI 

RICH IN EXPERIENCES - WATCHING THE SUN SET IN BALI 

 

3. Learning About Each Other’s (Not so Wonderful) Qualities: Traveling with a partner teaches you more about one another than just living together does. My husband has learned that I require plans and will read 100 reviews before I settle on something and I have learned that he is content just going with flow. This spills over into other aspects of our relationship. When dealing with differences on the road, you have to face them – together. You only have each other so if you’re mad or annoyed, you better get over it fast. 

 

4. Creating Space Together: Traveling is exhausting – mentally, emotionally, and physically. As such, it’s important for travelers to create space for the mind, body, and spirit to decompress and rest. While we may be sharing a small AirBnb room, giving each other the space we both need to read, write, exercise, and rest is critical to ensure the long stretches on the road. Being able to selflessly give that space to your partner is truly a life skill.

GLACIER HIKING IN ICELAND

GLACIER HIKING IN ICELAND

 

5. Being Home is a State of Mind: Traveling with your parents makes you realize what’s important from the start. For us its actively listening, encouragement, giving each other the space to grow, patience, and always coming from a place of love. It’s the foundation of everything we do. It doesn’t matter if we are traveling or spending a week at home base; home is a state of being with the one you love.

Are you and your partner living a travel lifestyle or are thinking about traveling soon? I’d love to hear your perspective about partner travel.

HOME IS WHERE YOU MAKE IT - RANCHO MARGOT, COSTA RICA

HOME IS WHERE YOU MAKE IT - RANCHO MARGOT, COSTA RICA

 

This piece was written by Travel Expert, Jennifer DeSimone.  Reach out to Jennifer via Facebook or via email at Jennifer@theartofintentions