I know we haven’t even met yet, but I’d like to guide you on a little journey before I introduce myself. Find a comfortable quiet spot, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and let every muscle in your body slowly relax. Now think about that one place where you feel truly happy- that place your mind returns to every time life gets a little crazy. I want you to clear your mind and travel to that special happy place. Spend a few minutes there, making note of what makes this place so peaceful for you. What do you see? What do you feel? What do you hear and smell? How does being here make you feel? Why is this place so special to you? Every single one of us has our own unique happy place, a place either physical or imaginary, that we go to be fully present with ourselves away from the stress and pressures of everyday life. A place where we can escape the craziness and just feel relaxed, comfortable and content.
When I travel to my happy place, I feel an unfamiliar lightness- the absence of stress and physical pain. I feel a welcome relief from the daily pressures of a busy 20-something woman trying to figure out what she really wants to do with her life. As I inhale, I smell sweet salt air; I feel the sun beating down on my skin as a gentle breeze carries the sound of birds singing their sweet songs and waves crashing into the sand. I’m surrounded by miles of deserted beaches on the edge of one of the most biodiverse rainforests on planet Earth with the people I love most. Sometimes I’m enjoying the sun while doing some sort of fitness routine with the sand under my toes. Other times, I spend my time tracking down sloths and monkeys in the trees above, happily snapping away on my camera. While I’m here, I can taste fresh caught fish dinners and the sweetness of the most incredible tropical fruits. I hear the sounds of the never-sleeping rainforest at night. I can see just a tiny glimpse into the wide universe while sitting under the stars with my best friend enjoying the incredible view of the Milky Way. My imaginary happy place brings me back to my favorite real-life secret paradise- Bahía Drake, a small remote village on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica’s Osa Penninsula. It is here that I first truly experienced a taste of what Costa Ricans call PURA VIDA.
What is "pura vida," you ask? If you’ve ever been to Costa Rica, you have no doubt heard the phrase; you may have even returned the greeting without fully understanding the significance of these two words. Pura vida (POO-rah VEE-dah) is literally translated in English as "pure life." It’s living a simple, peaceful, laid back lifestyle with deep appreciation and the utmost respect for the beauty of the world around you. Pura vida is taking a step back from the never-ending workday pressures to appreciate and enjoy the simple things in life. It is an understanding that we are truly lucky to be alive. Pura vida is living a life filled with optimism and unwavering happiness. It is what all of us should be striving to achieve. Pura vida is what this blog is about.
With each post, I plan to share my physical and emotional life adventures with you. The numerous adventures that are taken to achieve that idealistic way of life in such a crazy world. This is my place to share my experiences in chasing and capturing pura vida in all aspects of my life as a: photographer, fitness enthusiast, stepmom, wife, nanny and dreamer. Hi, I’m Mandy, just your average woman living and dreaming in Buffalo, NY and I can’t wait to share my journeys with you.