experiencing deeper


I mentioned this in a few previous posts, but after some beautiful time relaxing at the beach, Beth and I are back at the first farm. It took very little thinking to decide. We made a snap decision based on our gut feelings and our hearts.

Something I have been thinking about often while traveling is the idea of belonging. Existing outside of my comfort zone for almost two months now, I realize how much I had taken a sense of belonging for granted back home. For me, this farm was the closest I have come to feeling this comfort.

The family that owns the farm is truly wonderful. They took us in with open arms, sharing, teaching and learning with us. Leaving this place in the middle of September felt like tearing myself away from people I was just beginning to know.

This decision goes against many traditional travel trajectories. The little adventurous voice in my head told me to reject this gut feeling. It told me to go and experience more places. To meet more people. I am feeling, however, that it is better to experience deeper than to experience more. I want to spend more time at the dinner table sharing stories with this family, and with the other volunteers. I want to put my hands in the dirt. I want to pour my thoughts into my journal, thoughts of my present situation and my future, as the rain falls in sheets outside of my bedroom window. I want this slow, purposeful life.

Perhaps this will not be my travel style for all of my future trips. For now, however, it is working for me. When I spent a semester studying and living in Seville, Spain, I appreciated being in one place. I wanted to experience the culture for everything it was, and everything it could offer. I am feeling the same here. By immersing myself just a little bit more, I am filling myself with the true Costa Rica.

This thought crossed my mind just the other day when I stood in the back of a pickup truck as it trudged up a hill. I was on my way to a birthday party for the farm owners’ grandson. The afternoon rain had faded into misty clouds stuck to the hillsides. The sun had set an hour ago. Beth was on my left. Another volunteer on my right. We clung to a bar above the rear window for support, parting our feet for balance. I clutched my fist tighter around the bar with each rocky turn.

This is it, I thought. This is Costa Rica. 


CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THIS CHICKEN? I can’t believe it. So funny.



5 thoughts on “experiencing deeper

  1. I loved this, Emma! Not to mention the photo of the chicken – loved that!!

    Once again, I was struck by how much you are like my friend, Lisa. I would have sworn that she wrote this – only 30 some years ago! There is a lot to be said for going deeper! And it is always a trade-off, right? I think you made a great decision!

    Big hugs from Ithaca!

    Love, Barb


  2. I stumbled upon your lovely post and pictures while scanning the slow travel tag in my reader. It is obviously very educational to travel around the world seeing all the highlights, but we have to slow down to feel a real connection to a new place. In the spring of 1984, I too studied for a semester in Sevilla, and I have felt connected to it ever since.


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