So if you’ve been following the bouncing ball you know that we managed to catch covid again. Despite being vaccinated. It even took several shots of Regeneron (monoclonal antibodies) to finally clear the virus. And yes that sounds dramatic, and yes again the treatment is four shots … one in each arm and two in the belly. So if you’re needle-adverse, wear a mask. 😇

But the point of today’s missive isn’t what was, it’s what’s to be. And as we get closer to launch day for the Big Adventure (December 14th!), I wanted to share what’s planned. Actually, it’s more than planned. When you have flights booked and places reserved, it’s pretty much in the bag. Ready for the details?

I don’t want to minimize the first two sections of the trip, but I also don’t want to dwell. We’re basically visiting family … and adding a new member to the clan. December will be in the San Francisco Bay Area and January in Richmond Virginia. The former to celebrate Christmas and see folks we haven’t seen since the pandemic began. And the latter to help out with the birth of my first grandson. So January/February are going to be quite exciting … for us. LOL! For you? We’ll come up with something to entertain. 🙂

And then the real adventure begins. To give you some perspective, Nikki and I are not cold-weather people, generally speaking. So we wanted to begin with something warmer … and so we picked Costa Rica! Now here’s the fun part, we originally started looking at seeing all four corners of that country … and we wound up not really being there for very long.

Here’s the scoop. After a couple of days in San Jose, we take a long bus ride out to the Caribbean coast and will be spending a week at Casitas La Playa, a guest lodge in Puerto Viejo, Limon. Why there? Because Nikki liked it, that’s why. LOL! It’s an incredibly laid back town, right on the water, and it will be a great place to switch brains and move into exploration mode. But it’s at that point where our original plans started going awry.

Nikki read somewhere that Costa Rica requires both an entry and an exit “ticket” to be allowed into the country. And since Puerto Viejo is right on the Panamanian border she booked the next week in Bocas Del Toro in Panama. Specifically on an island where they do a lot of renewables and sustainability. Giving us our entry and exit, and allowing us back into Costa Rica as much as we wanted. Which apparently we didn’t really want.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Costa Rica. And I would gladly explore that country more deeply. But we know nothing about Panama so somehow we’re staying there instead. Thus we now also have further reservations in a town called Boquete to explore some natural wonders and a thriving expat community. And then …. well, we discovered something pretty cool which may change a lot about this entire adventure.

We found this website called WorkAway which connects hosts who need assistance with people willing to work in exchange for lodging. Sounds like less than a vacation, but for us something really clicked. While I love everything we have planned thus far, it’s also a little too close to the touristy line. Living in a jungle for a few weeks to a month, helping out local folks and being immersed in local everything? That’s learning and experiencing! (It’s also a little more budget friendly). So we’re now exploring opportunities helping build ecolodges and permaculture farms in Panama. And if the stars align, we’re going to have quite the time doing it.

What’s after that, you ask? Well at this point it’s still talk. We want to go down and explore Colombia for a few weeks, perhaps doing a WorkAway there as well. But right now we’re still fleshing out Panama. Which brings me to an interesting final point. If I compare the way this trip is starting with the way I envisioned it back when I first envisioned it, those two images couldn’t be more different. Yes, we’re planning. Perhaps even over-planning. But we’re also allowing ourselves so much flexibility. Nothing is off the table. I had never considered Panama before, and now the more I research it the more I can’t wait to experience it. Same with Colombia. I originally wanted to start in Europe, but here I am all excited about Central and South America. Who knew?

The point being, my biggest goal for this upcoming year-plus was to wander and learn. To break free. And that’s exactly how it’s building itself out to be. Our bout with covid the past two weeks has re-taught us some lessons that we probably really needed to re-learn, and that’s also part of the adventure. I honestly cannot wait to begin this trip. And I’m beyond giddy about sharing it with you. The world feels open to me now, despite what we’ve been through the past two years. I hadn’t realized just how much exploration means to me, and I’m so happy and excited to be living life again with you.

Watch this space! The trip begins shortly!

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