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“Since time travel is not possible, photos are the next best thing. “ - Annie Bananie


Costa Rica Travels

Costa Rica was my 23rd country travelled and it’s in my top three of favourite places to be.  We Wild Camped along the Western coast and was mesmerized by our surroundings. Costa Rica has everything; mountains, ocean, waterfalls, lakes, rainforests, cloud forrests and an abundance of wildlife. The biodiversity alone puts one in awe.

 

We rented a 4 x 4 from Nomad America, a company run out of San Josee by two young guys called Fabio and Luis.  From the moment we inquired about a vehicle they were there, every step of the way to help us plan our trip and make the best choices for our travelling needs.   The vehicle itself was the best travelling decision and enhanced our trip by ten fold.  We rented a Toyota Prado which brought us down the western coast with a few stops along the way.  Our final destination being Matapalo on the edge of Corcovado National Park. 

"Our rig came with all camping equipment including the tent that folds and unfolds from the roof rack.  Fabio and Luis helped us navigate our plans and what we were looking for. Without this powerhouse of a vehicle it would have been difficult to navigate the roads and places we went. " 

"Our rig came with all camping equipment including the tent that folds and unfolds from the roof rack.  Fabio and Luis helped us navigate our plans and what we were looking for. Without this powerhouse of a vehicle it would have been difficult to navigate the roads and places we went. " 


Wild camping in a 4 x 4 is more of an expedition, than a vacation of relaxing in the sun.  It takes some grit to spend days outside in the heat.  One has to be comfortable with digging a hole to relieve oneself of bodily functions and be comfortable going without a shower.  To me this is heaven. Yes, there were moments when the heat got to me and I wished for a hot shower, and a porcelain bowl to defecate in. In my world that is all part of the experience that allows me to step down from my western throne where everything is at my disposal. This gives me an appreciation for the simple things in life.  Nature has a way of healing and no better way to reap her benefits by being right there with her amongst the trees and ocean.

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 We followed the western coast down to Puerto Jimenez and then Matapalo. On the way we stopped at Bowie's Point where the restaurant owner let us camp on his property in exchange for us eating in his restaurant.  We also had access to the bathrooms and an outdoor hose as a shower.  Dominical was our second stop and we stayed two nights on a quiet part of the beach and payed a hostel that was 800 metres away, 500 colones ($1.00 U.S.) to use their bathroom and shower.  Our next stop was Matapalo.  This was by far our favourite spot, we camped on the beach with the ocean waves, howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, and whales.  Other than about 5 people on the beach at any given time, we were alone in the beauty of it all.  To get there we road through a rugged road, full of big pot holes, huge rocks and appreciated the high clearance that our trusty Prado gave us.  The road bumped and jostled us around, our camping gear jingled in the back and our laughter echoed in excitement. 

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Matapalo was wild camping at it's best  with no bathroom or shower.  In order to cool off we took a five minute hike to King Louis waterfall where we bathed in it's cool water pools (yes, we used biodegradable soap).  Often the sound of howler monkeys bounced off the trees, lizards skipped along rocks and butterflies flitted about.  Yes it was romantic, challenging, fun and I would do it all over again. 

 

Books and Travelling

If you know me, you know that I love books.  They are a big part of my life and when packing for a trip it's books that take up all the room!!! The question isn't which outfit am I going to bring, but which books.  To help decide which books to bring to Costa Rica,  I put out a Facebook post asking my peeps for book recommendations and got loads of them.  These are the winners. 

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I never read Miraim Toews, but trust my friend Meg's taste in books. I know that I will love this. 

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Historical fiction is awesome.  You learn about history while being entertained. I don't know why we never learned in school in this way.  This was a recommendation by Louise Cameron and I am sure that it will not disappoint. 

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I have always known that I should read this book. Its come up a few times, but the time was never right, until now!!! This was not a recommendation but I saw it in Chapters and knew I had to buy it and trek it to Central America.  
 

I can see myself now, swinging in my hammock lulled by the sound ocean waves and my book companions.  Happiness right there.  Here are some of the books that were recommended...

1. When Breathe Becomes Air

2. Only Love Can Break Your Heart

3. The Onion girl

4. The Goldfinch

5. All the Light we Cannot See

6. A Discovery of Witches

7. The Glass Castle

8. The Hate you Give

9. Life After Life

Let me know of any others you can recommend!

Tristan

Tristan welcome to this spinning planet!!! I loved taking photos of you and your family.  Your family is so happy to have you in their fold.  Everyday you will get bigger and learn about this crazy place called Earth.  May you always see the magic that surrounds you. 

My Church

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The woods are so quiet at this time of year. I love how the naked branches give me the freedom to roam where I want.  With snow shoes on my feet, I can easily go up hills, squeeze through trees and have fun making trails. The quiet and stillness of the sleeping forest reminds me of that quiet space within. It reminds me to breathe. I look up towards the sky and observe the tree trunks reaching up in strength and determination.  I close my eyes and feel that same strength inside of me. The running stream, that I can be  heared through the frozen ice reminds me that I am also fluid and always changing.  This time spent alone in nature is therapy. It's time for my brain to relax and my mind to arrive in the here and now. I am reminded how much I love nature's effect on my being and make a vow to spend more time in the woods.  Time in the woods is like my church and I haven't been going to church enough! 

Adventure

If you know me well, you know that I am solar powered.  This means that like a flower, I need the rays of the sun to shine down on me to keep me strong and vibrant.  I love snow shoeing, skiing and yes even shovelling, and I love getting away from it too. I am fortunate enough to have a life partner, who enjoys adventures in the sun as much, I do.  Every year we venture out to a tropical place and find an adventure.  This year our adventure is taking us to beautiful Costa Rica.  I have never been, but the guide books describe lush rain and cloud forests, sloths, beaches and beauty all around.  That sounds wonderful right? It does and to make a great destination even greater, we have rented a 4 X 4 that has a rooftop tent and all camping gear included.  We will head down the West Coast to Corcodova National Park, where camping sites can be found along the shores of deserted beaches and in the mountains.  Below is a screen shot of Nomad America's Instagram feed. This will give you an idea of what we will be doing. 

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A second fun feature of traveling with Jay is that we like to raise money for people to help along the way.  This year we are building a chicken coop and buying chickens for a family down in Corcodova National Park.  Currently they make their money by collecting coconuts and turning them into coconut oil.  Sounds great until you hear that the husband Mr. silian bikes 6 miles to get the coconuts that gather at the mouth of a river. He then balances his bag of coconuts on his bike back to his wife, where she then makes the oil.  He travels back and forth, twice daily.  It's a lot of work for little return.  Our chicken coops and chickens will give them a chance to turn a profit by selling eggs.  I have created a GoFundMe page at this link: Chicken Coop If you feel compelled, please donate.  We will make a video of our adventure and share with you what the funded money created.  I will document our story on this blog as well.   We fly out February 12th and I cannot wait!

This is Mr. Silian and Mrs. Lucy waiting for their chicken coop...

This is Mr. Silian and Mrs. Lucy waiting for their chicken coop...

Friends and Relationships

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One thing that I have learnt in my 47 years is that our life partners/husbands/wives are not meant to be our everything.  They are our lovers, our supporters, someone we dream and learn with and organize our lives with, but they are not our everything.  We need friends to talk and play with, and share things of common interest.  Each friend is a gem that has unique qualities that brings different strengths to our lives.  Maybe you have a friend who is a good listener, one who inspires you to be healthy, and one who will go on adventures with you.  To put all of your eggs in one basket and expect our partners to be all that we need is a  big torch to bear.  To have friends outside of the relationship keeps the relationship fresh, as you come back with new tales to tell, new adventures to share, and it keeps you interesting as a partner.

I have learnt that to be in a healthy relationship means to stay individuals while working together towards common and personal goals.  It's about loving each other and honouring  our similarities and differences.  It's about building a strong community around us, which creates pillars for our love to grow.  

What are some aspects of a healthy relationship for you? 

This post was inspired by Aislinn and Narciso. I photographed their wedding on December 30th and they have such a beautiful community of people around them.  They are also a sweet, loving couple.  I am so grateful to have shared your day with you!

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Stirrings from the Past

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Looking at this photo you might see dirty old chairs, dusty old bottles and a hutch that is beyond it's years.  For me this picture tells a story of my past, my roots, and my heritage.  These dusty items live whithin the beams of  a log cabin that was built with my father's hands and imagination.  The logs were taken from our land on 89 Big Moose Road where I grew up as a young girl full of spirit, with the freedom to play.  The stacked chairs with the peeling, stripped wood are from the Astorville arena where my father was the rink manager and I played endlessly, running through the halls, skating and playing ringette. One distinct memory is a PD day where I had the whole hockey rink to myself. The day was spent skating, spinning and twirling, and pretending that the stands were full of a mesmorized audience.  In my mind's eye, I was the star.  The old bottles on the hutch were found on a family mobile home trip to New Brunswick, where my father grew up. Yes he is acadian.  I have a vivid memory of being with him in the backyard of his old childhood home in Bathurst digging up the earth to find old bottles. Our collection came home with us and lives in this old log cabin.  Photographs are like this log cabin preserving memories. They are more than just people, places and things standing in time, they give us stirrings of the past.

Slime Recipe

As you might know, I am a photographer and a daycare provider.  Halloween was yesterday and at daycare we made slime. The recipe found below made beautiful, fun stretchy slime.  The children were fascinated by the creation of it and loved patting it, stretching it, rolling it and so on.  It kept them busy for a long time.  What a great way to connect with the children around us. The fun part is that I also loved the experience and the children felt my enthusiasm for the cool, stretchy goo. 

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Recipe

1/2 cup of Elmer's Glue

4 Cups of Shaving Cream

A couple tbsp of Saline Solution (Contact Lens Solution)

Baking Soda

a few drops of food colouring

Directions
1. Add Elmer's glue, shaving cream and mix thoroughly

2. Add a few drops of your preferred food colouring colour.

3. Add 1/4 tsp baking soda and mix

4. Add 1 tbsp saline, mix and check consistency.  Continue adding saline solution until the substance begins to no longer stick to your bowl.  You know you are finished when you can stretch and play with your slime and it does not stick to your hands. 

Enjoy!!!!