My posts aren’t normally like this. I don’t even really know why I feel the need to write this, except a little voice inside said share what you are going through. So here it is.
I left home last week, having one roommate move out, picking another roommate who I don’t even know to move in while I’m gone. Like the 25th roommate in 13 years. Change is always hard and uncomfortable but I am sure everything will work out fine. It has to. Then my dog is really old and is having a difficult time walking. My best friend Sara and I took him to the vet the same day as I had to get on the airplane. He was shaking a ton and his medications aren’t working. It makes me super sad to leave him at home, because I know he needs me. I mean, not someone, but me. We have shared 15 years together and I see it in his eyes when I leave, that I am not sure if I might see him again. And family life, well, it has been nothing short of very sad and challenging this summer, which hasn’t helped me focus on my business or personal life. And for those of you who know me best, know I have been struggling with this SEO nonsense and google Penguin and Panda algorithm changes to figure out why my website is not being found anywhere in the google search engines for any relevant keywords, and why I have spent so much money to fix this problem with no resolve. How do I continue to create insanely fun and amazing surf camps and keep them filled? And what about Hawaii, what about Panama, what about new places, what about just being able to pay my bills and not lose my shirt in the meantime living the dream? And whose dream is it? What does that mean? Seriously.
So I leave my life at home, unfinished, unfocused, unsettled and unresolved and I get on the plane to come to Costa Rica. By myself, I am left to pick up my emotional pieces and get ready for the adventure to come. I arrive in the all too familiar San Jose airport, trek over to Sansa and wait for my little puddle jumper flight to bring me into Tambor.
A familiar face pops into view as we land, the bag guys, the ticket guy, all greet me with a big smile and Pura Vida – welcome back. Negro, my favorite taxi driver is there to pick me up. I met a guy on the plane who has a little house he purchased and is renting up in the hills above Santa Teresa, so he waits and joins me for the ride into town. And we wait for another friend who lives across the street from me in town, he is arriving on the Nature Air flight a few minutes later. Best way to save a couple of bucks. Actually $50.
In the randomness of it all, this is how it usually goes. There are about 100 familiar faces as I get back into town. I’m not ready to say hi to anyone really, because they always ask how is everything, and everything is like yuck, eeew, sad, tear, cry. I don’t know what to say or have any answers for my life, except I am standing here. I have once again arrived in this little town, wondering how I am going to get through it.
The dog at my apartment comes to greet me, this overgrown Ridgeback Doberman puppy. And Pirata, my favorite kitten, now full grown cat, is at my doorstep before I can even get to it. None of these funny creatures are mine, but it feels good that they remember me.
And as I open the door to what my friends refer to as Ramanda’s castle, it seems empty, lifeless, and lonely. Alex and Ali, Lorien and Brianna, Alexa and all of my favorite besties and closest friends are not in town. And Alex isn’t here to help me through all of the camps. For those of you who don’t know, Alex is the very best shoulder to lean on, person to rely on, and oldest 24 year old you could ever know. For me, having her apart of my team, makes the whole experience worthwhile. And she is gone. Like seriously not coming. So what do I do?
I first go see Ester who is busy sweeping in front of the surf shop and my godson Kai is bouncing in his chair. He has grown so much in the 4 months I have been gone. I don’t ever want to have kids of my own but he’s pretty rad. He makes me say all of this silly baby googoo gaagaa type noises and it makes me laugh. Am I losing it?! Esther has been the glue to our surf school, and has been a ray of sunshine in this often times a stressful career that we have all chosen.
We walk down the beach path to watch the sunset, chat about life and such and I say hello to all SORTS of random familiar faces. I am happy to see them. Inside I am short of crying on the spot.
But then it sets in. It is what we always talk about when our guests get here. And it is happening to me now. It takes a moment, and for many the whole week, to step out of the busy lifestyle, the must do, must achieve, must pay my bills mind set and settle in to the here and now.
So where am I? I am in a beautiful little town called Santa Teresa, surrounded by jungle, amazing plant and animal life, a garden full of friends from all walks of life, here to enjoy the beach and this life we have devoted to surfing, being spiritual and being in the moment. But I am miles away. I don’t even know where.
So what does getting ready for surf camp look like? 1st find out what the tides are doing each day, make the schedule for the week around when the waves are good for the girls to learn on, while at the same time balancing out all of the other activities for the week and make sure the girls have enough time to eat each day. Find the best yoga class and make sure its available, seeing the season is just starting and everyone is just getting back into town, contact the zip line guys, the snorkel tour, make sure the restaurant has all of our food requests and requirements, make sure the places we want to go are open, track down all of my surf instructors, introduce myself to the new spa receptionist, create a schedule for the taxi drivers, find all of the rash guards and Chica Surf Hats, go to the bank, get the quad checked, get my head checked, find the Chiropractor and hope he hasn’t started drinking yet today. And then at the same time post to facebook, pinterest, instagram, tumblr, monitor advertisements, email all Chicas coming, track those down that I have never heard back from but are coming, and answer questions for all Chicas booking or figuring out flights for next year. Edit all homework due to the accountant for the month, work with the SEO guys and adjust the website design so the site loads faster, AND figure out how to save the world and become a multimillionaire at the same time.
Oh yeah, and thanks to the asshole who stole my personal debit card number and sold it around the world so in less than 2 hours – several thousands of dollars of charges were made in like 20 countries to my account that I had to resolve from my SKYPE phone on my computer in the jungle. So that was day one.
But I did get to surf. And that felt good.
Today I towed Nacho behind my quad to the mechanics because his quad isn’t running properly even though it was just fixed. Over the bumpy road filled with holes, we bounced down through town to get his ATV checked out. It made me laugh a little because that is what real life is like here. Makeshift, lots of dust, friends helping friends, taking one day at a time, and it’s normal. And it feels right.
We all went surfing at sunset, all of the guys I’ve worked with past and present, and as the sun set, a rainbow of color changed in the sky, illuminating the clouds, casting it’s daily magic on this little town. Shades of sherbert filled the sky. A moment Ali – if she were here – could turn into a photo that would make you speechless.
And so I stopped. And I remembered. This is why I do this. This is why I am here. This is why I make the sacrifices I make in order to share this magical experience with others. I am not a pro surfer, nor will I ever be, but I am good at being myself, being authentic and I love to create and share amazing experiences for women. And this place chose me. This incredible place is the birthplace of Chica Surf Adventures. Our Costa Rica surf camp is a magical gift in time, a piece of deliciousness that I can share with my guests and new friends. And I know, from my experience with my Chicas past, that the new ones will fall in love with the adventure, making new friends, traveling, feeling alive again and creating new life long lasting friendships. And that is my purpose.
My current challenges are highlighted by this incredible gift I have been given, and light is shining through that which I had thought was only dark. So I will find a way to make it work, to let it grow, to allow success into my life and to honor those people and opportunities that have made all of this possible.
I have new Chicas arriving on Sunday. And my only goal is to make sure everyone has the most amazing time that they can have. And to enjoy the process along with them, which I often forget to actively do. I know how lucky I am to have had this experience be apart of my life journey. I never want to look back and realize I didn’t fully love what I have been given. And I am so grateful to all of those women who have entrusted me with their once a year vacation if not once in a lifetime adventure. It means the world to me. And I look forward to meeting all of those ladies who have yet to come, who have yet to even know our name, because what we have here will undoubtedly touch the hearts of all of them.
Who knew a surf camp could be so life changing? It has helped me grow as a person and as a woman. It has helped me to grow in spirit and in my enthusiasm for finding and sharing happiness. So I sit here, in my room, alone. I have stopped. For a moment. To think, to be still and to listen. Knowing, good times are coming. And I hear it loud and clear. And I am so thankful.
See you ladies soon!