I have been quickly reminded once again that one can starve in Costa Rica if one does not know the local routine and does not anticipate for endless days of rain. Not paying attention, I realize I am already adjusting down to one small meal a day. I am rediscovering the six-pack abs I once had in High School.
I now know the local fish truck comes on Tuesday and Thursday, but one must order ahead and also be on standby when the truck passes through. If I am not home, I will miss this truck. When I was here before I would often miss the weekly vegetable truck and painfully paid the price by having nothing to eat for days.
To get to an actual grocery store I have to go to the nearby beach town of Tamarindo. This requires a trek through the woods, a bike ride, and a boat ride with a backpack full of provisions. This is going to be necessary as I will have no access to a car.
Nonetheless, I intentionally came here to live as simply as possible. Foraging on foot is about as simple as it gets. Making the run to Tamarindo also requires crossing through crocodile waters with a week’s worth of food on my back. This is a bit unsettling.
So today, with an already empty fridge aside from half of a browning avocado, I headed for the very tiny market mercado down the road. Bear in mind it is the size of a one car garage and the shelves are normally half empty on a good day. The store was hit especially hard during the pandemic.
I headed out just as it began to pour torrential rain and the store was closed for some unknown reason, despite the “abierto” sign displayed out front. I would soon come to learn this is not at all unusual for Costa Rica and would become a frequent and challenging experience.
Instead, I made my way over to the cafe where I ordered a steak taco served by Grace, along with an Espanol lesson for the day. She explained to me about the vegetable truck as well as educating me on how to make homemade tortillas.
I have often said, a week in Costa Rica is like a month anywhere else in the world. Time comes to an abrupt slowdown like watching paint dry and you become aware of the sheer endlessness of perceived time and how malleable it actually is. It is only our perceived construct of linear time in modern culture that has made time seem so urgent and limited.
To live as the Costa Ricans apart from the major cities do is not a radical or primitive concept. It is simply how one might have lived 50 or even 100 years ago. It is quite freeing to realign with the natural rhythm and way of being in the world.
Follow Kirk’s Adventure from the start:
- The Start – Five years ago I was quietly living in a small 1100 square-foot home just outside my native hometown of Austin, Texas.
- Day 1 – My journey to Costa Rica, the Rich Coast, began at 4 AM on a crisp Sunday morning.
- Day 2 – Arrival into Costa Rica was quite smooth and seamless compared to my recent experiences in Japan where things are done to another level of precision and detail
- Day 3 – This morning I woke naturally at 5am as the light was already beginning to make its way through my window.
- Day 4 – There is a stretch of beach to the estuary across from Tamarindo where I picked up two native branches that washed onto shore that will make great writing or painting brushes.
- Day 5 – Last night I drifted off to sleep while reading The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
- Day 6 – I heard the morning songs of exotic birds I had never heard before
About the Author
Kirk Lee is a Writer, Meditation teacher and nomad currently living in Costa Rica. Kirk has been an explorer on the journey for over 25 years having traveled to 14 countries culminating in a year living in Kyoto, Japan. Kirk writes about travel through the lens of simplicity and kindness to be found in people and places of every culture. Explore Kirk’s travel journals at https://zenandink.substack.com/