Travel Stories: Transportation Mishaps on My Way to Monteverde, Costa Rica

It is the first day of 2014. The last days of 2013 were frightening, amazing, adventurous, scary again, and downright tiring. I made the bus from the airport to Liberia’s bus station, but quickly learned there was no simple way to get to Monteverde.

With roads of mountains and steep turns, there was a long journey ahead to Monteverde.

At the bus station, we negotiated with a driver, figuring out that he would drop us off at a road where another bus will arrive, heading in the direction of Monteverde. Sweet deal, right? No.

The catch? It was 2:30 pm and that next bus arrived at 4:00 pm. We had to make it there in time or else be stranded. Would traffic be on our side?

Sure enough... We missed our bus. 

I quickly learned how fast the sun sets in Costa Rica. I quickly learned there were no street lights other than a blanket of stars. I quickly learned strangers can be kind people wanting to help.

Long story short, the bus driver found a taxi-driver friend who was willing to drive my friend and me to what seemed like the other end of the Earth towards Monteverde. During the taxi ride, I used my best Spanish to tell him about home, my family, and my travels. He was happy that I could communicate with him and asked me why I didn't feel comfortable speaking Spanish if I was Latina. I told him about my mother's day care and how she'd only speak English to us, preparing us for school. Somewhere along the way, I stopped trying to learn. It wasn’t “cool”.

In truth, I guess I felt embarrassed. Afraid of never getting it right and being made fun of.

He told me my Spanish was better than I let on and recorded a message on my iPhone to my mother, saying that I did a good job... we laughed and I thanked him, somewhat grateful that I missed that bus.

Through these Costa Rica mishaps, I learned two valuable lessons...

1. I needed to take a break from over-planning. If it wasn't that I already had a hostel booked in Monteverde and adhered to such a tight schedule, I could've arrived at a number of feasible solutions. But instead, we had to overcome hell and high water just to stick to the plan.

2. No one cares that my Spanish isn't perfect. My perfectionism can be limiting.

Treehouse dinner in Monteverde.

My first Monteverde breakfast.

The day I started living, was the day I stopped trying to define what it means to live, be Successful, & find joy.

We have this obsession with reposting inspirational quotes, and forwarding "how to be happy" chain letters; telling friends how "drama free" we are going to be; and making long lists of new year resolutions towards "being a better me".

But we never stop planning & we hardly start doing.

Living has no viral quotes. Living has no concrete map. Living has no regrets or second guessing. Living just is. Failing on my way to Monteverde might’ve been the first time I really felt like I was living, in a while.

Have you ever felt that way?