In the beginning of February 2022, I had the chance to take a quick trip to Costa Rica. It exceeded my expectations in many ways, but I also experienced an unexpected challenge and unforeseen emotions.

The Costa Rica that I experienced is very much an expat country. It is filled with very nice villas, fancy resorts, and clean restaurants. This was a reunion gathering with some of the guys that were on Expedition 65 when we rode the vertical length of South America. During this get-together, we toured the best of the country. The beaches and jungles were spectacular.

The people that we encountered were wonderful. Their smiles and greetings made us feel so welcome and when we needed help or directions, I could tell that they loved helping us. Because of the way that our trip was set up, I did not get to really connect with the locals. This feeling was new to me and left me feeling like the trip was missing something. I was unsatisfied. As I was processing everything after, I realized that I didn’t experience the true Costa Rica.

The unexpected challenge happened as we were preparing to leave Coast Rica. The whole team and our wives, who joined us on this trip, had to get tested for Covid to get back in the United States. While at dinner together, which happened to be Valentine’s Day, everyone got their negative results including my wife . . . everyone except me. I tested positive.

This positive test put me in a sticky position. I was required to quarantine for up to ten days before returning home. My wife and I planned the logistics; she would return home on our original schedule, and I would stay behind. Thankfully, we had friends in the country that helped me find a place to stay. As I said goodbye (behind a mask) to Joan, I decided that I would make the most of my extended stay. The 7 extra days I ended up staying were filled with unexpected peace and reflection. I spent many sunsets on a deserted beach and rode many hills alone on a bicycle. New unforeseen challenges can often happen when you set out to experience the world and embrace adventure. When this happens to me, I try and make the most of where I am and the journey before me, no matter how long or short.

The short adventure that was Costa Rica ended up being both a challenge and a blessing.

I was challenged once again with the desire to really dive into every culture that I am privileged to encounter. My desire is to return to Costa Rica soon to satisfy my longing to really try and understand the local people and their culture. I want to take the time to find families that have grown up on this relatively small island for generations. As I talk to them about their history and culture, I want to find out their world view, and hear their hopes, dreams, and fears.