Six years ago, I started a small tour company in Central America and I’m currently based in—and operate out of—the South Pacific region of Costa Rica. My work takes me into some of the most biodiverse and ecologically healthy places on the planet. I might be out hiking Monteverde’s cloud forests one day and sitting in a natural volcanic hot spring the next. During the turtle nesting season, I am out at night with my group, walking the beach in hopes of spotting a nesting sea turtle. I am still shocked that I have created this reality and even get paid to live it.
As I wake up, I hear the rushing of the Pacuare River outside my door, birdsong mingled in. I lie in bed still not quite believing that this is where I’ll call my office for the day. I’m a tour guide...
I remember sitting on my sister’s couch back in 2009 having reached a point of disillusionment with the life I saw playing out into the next decade and beyond. I felt like I wasn’t really doing anything to make a difference in the world, and that bothered me.
In the U.S., I had my daily routine. After work, I would head over to the fitness club to take a class or drop by the local yoga studio to balance out my cardio workouts.
“What a morning,” exclaims my friend Beth as we sit on outdoor swings, sipping smoothies at our favorite little café in Dominical. We’ve just finished a beach cleanup in collaboration with a reggae event that will be taking place here over the weekend.
"We could be at the office," my friend shouts from across the water. It's 8.30 a.m. on a Tuesday and here we are out surfing on a glorious Costa Rican morning. The sun is shining and the turquoise blue water sparkles as it catches the rays of the morning sun. This is my paradise and also my home. In fact, I only have a 220-yard walk back to the house after my morning session.
I’m making my way down the cobblestones of Arch Street, on my way to meet friends for a glass of wine. As I arrive, the bells of the 17th-century cathedral ring in the hour. Antigua, in the Department of Sacatepéquez, Guatemala, is one of Latin America’s best preserved colonial towns. With a population of 40,000 people, it’s full of white-washed and pastel-colored churches.