¡Pura Vida!

I know this is a detour from my normal content, but I just have to share this blog from a group of Columbia College students who are traveling in Costa Rica right now. I backpacked across Costa Rica when I was a student at CC, so I’m thrilled to read about these young ladies!

I’m always amazed how bits and pieces of our past and present can intersect. Thanks especially to the sense of sisterhood at my alma mater, I feel connected to these girls and proud of them. Leaving your comfort zone and experiencing the great, big world takes courage, and it is a journey that will change you forever … which brings to mind one of my favorite quotes on travel:

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Mary Ritter Beard

My trip to Costa Rica made a big impact on me … mentally and physically! I carry a reminder of what I learned there in the form of a tattoo: Pura Vida. It means “pure life” and is a popular saying in that country. I could write an entire blog post about the natural beauty I saw or the kindness and warmth of the people I met, but for now I just want to wish these young women a beautiful and transformational adventure. Pura Vida, Koalas!

Learn more about Columbia College at http://www.columbiasc.edu.


The boat ride was amazing, and it led to the most incredible little hotel tucked away in the depths of the rain forest. The shade provides a nice break from the heat and the trees are home to howler monkeys and more sloths!

A three-toed sloth! A three-toed sloth!

After checking into the rooms and a bit of pool time, we took a boat again to the town of Tortuguero, which is full of fascinating history. We learned about the work being done to conserve the sea turtle, and Columbia College adopted a sea turtle!

Our adopted sea turtle! Our adopted sea turtle!

The town of Tortuguero is gorgeous and friendly. The people were nice, the stores were interesting, and there were so many precious dogs running around. There are no cars allowed in the town, so it was lovely to meander from store to store without traffic to bother us.

We were also able to visit…

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Eye of the Beholder

I am officially in mourning for my vacation! We didn’t go far, but that week away from the hustle and bustle was amazing.

Our little house on the marsh was quaint and secluded — and I loved it! We spent our days fishing off the dock, taking long walks around the property to catch a glimpse of the deer, reading on the porch in the big swing, watching the sunsets while the frogs chirped, combing the beach for shells, and eating lots of good food.

Everything seemed beautiful, and interesting, and special.

Edisto, South Carolina

Edisto, South Carolina

I got to wondering, do the people who live here feel like this everyday? I would guess that most of the residents of Edisto are no longer made giddy by the sight of a conch shell or the smell of the ocean. Having grown up in Savannah, Georgia, I can understand. When you live in a tourist town, it is so easy to become desensitized to the magic and wonder that draws visitors from far and wide.

Why does the simple declaration of “vacation” seem to change our point of view? Tourist attraction or not, every place has something special to offer: natural beauty, history, architecture, quirky restaurants or shops. We just overlook them when they are part of our everyday lives. But when we’re on a trip, suddenly we appreciate the sights and sounds around us, and take joy in little things like seashells.

As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I am lucky enough to live in the capital city of Columbia, which is brimming with things to do. I think it is time to play the tourist and find those small adventures and beauties hiding in plain sight. All it takes is a fresh pair of eyes!

Things I am going to do and see (or rediscover) in Columbia this spring/summer:

  1. Columbia Marionette Theater
  2. Congaree National Park
  3. South Carolina State Farmers Market
  4. Edventure Children’s Museum
  5. South Carolina State Museum
  6. Sesquicentennial State Park
  7. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
  8. Columbia Museum of Art
  9. Adluh Flour Mill
  10. One Eared Cow Glass