(Somewhere in the Atlantic, or maybe the Pacific…) One of the craziest things about Costa Rica is that there are no addresses for anything, more like approximate locations. When you get directions they’re always something like this (exaggerated SLIGHTLY for comedic impact):
“Walk to your left for about 200 meters. Then turn left and look for a store with a red sign next to where the yellow wall used to be. Next to that is an old dog who is either outside or he might be inside. You’ll go past them about 150 meters and then turn right and you’ll see a patch of dry grass, then go another 300 meters and it’s on your left.”
The first problem is I don’t know how long a meter is so I’m never clear if I’m walking for a few minutes, or an hour. The second problem is that it seems like 200 meters varies depending on who you’re getting directions from because it’s implied that it’s “more or less” 200 meters. But then you have to really understand all the little landmarks they’re giving you along with “left, right” and implied distances.
Somehow this all works though and eventually you find what you’re looking for. It’s funny to notice the difference in specificity though. In America addresses are precise “1300 Third Avenue” but if you find the avenue the average tourist had no idea what street 1300 is on. So everyone uses a GPS based app, plugs in an address and voila!
Here you can’t use GPS because there’s nothing to plug in apart from maybe a hotel name if you know one nearby. So you have to talk to people and ask for help. And no one dies from asking for help! In fact I’ve ended up in some great conversations just asking how to find a place.
There is something lovely about life reflected here, in my opinion. In America it feels like things are straight and linear with a clear line to your projected destinations or goals. You don’t deviate from the path and if you do you feel like you’ve failed and you have to get back on the track you were on. In Costa Rica life feels more fluid.
It’s more like a river flowing that has direction but may curve or turn out a little differently than you expected.
There are fewer details and specifics required to get where you’re headed. In some cases you will end up someplace unexpected and learn something new instead of trying to get back on the path you were pursuing. Rather than feeling like failure it feels like opportunity. I feel so blessed for getting to experience this.
I feel like this really represents the life I’ve been living vs the one I’m trying to live now. Straight and linear vs flow.
I know now that I’ve been trying to live my life with an itinerary. it’s had defined points and goals and I’ve done my best to stay with that itinerary even when I didn’t want to. Now, I’m living without a firm plan. There are definite desires and goals but I know that the path to accomplish them doesn’t have to be linear. I just need to be open to opportunity and unexpected encounters and experiences, each of which takes me towards a destination, and, if that destination ends up changing because of any of those experiences, then that’s ok, too.