Chala H. for her essay, “Lessons for Ayla”! Here’s the essay she wrote…
Days are short in New England now. Another summer passed without taking my daughter, Ayla, on the long-promised trip together. She’s happy to go anywhere as long as it’s time together, her and mum. But if I could take her anywhere, I would bring her to you.
Ayla is an animal lover who possesses the wildness of nights and sea. She dreams of talking to animals, carries magic words uttered as poetry, and flows with nature as only an earth goddess can, albeit at 9 years old.
I’m certain in Costa Rica she would recognize a sense of home.
Living in the city she frets, unbalanced, like a caged animal. In the mountain setting of Hacienda Tayutic she could unravel her anxious soul, experience vast nature in one breath, and understand how history, social systems, ecological systems, and economies all interact in dynamic ways that can be for the greater good, rather than impoverishing for some in the benefit of others. She could ride horses, as she loves to do; fly through the forest; commune with the butterflies, hummingbirds; discover art in nature and of human hand; absorb shamanic history; and, I imagine, turn all this by night into pictures and words, curled with a cushion in the hacienda lounge.
Until the ocean calls.
She would learn to travel, not just consume. The bus from Turrialba to San Jose takes about two hours. From San Jose, another bus carries local travelers to Nicoya in about four. From Nicoya to Playa Guiones, the road is largely unpaved, dusty, or muddy with rains, so the short distance can take an arduously bumpy few hours.
But I wouldn’t travel any other way ““ not only is it the ecologically sound option, but through seeing the lives of local people going about their tasks, we are reminded of how privileged we are to take time off our own daily tasks, to travel to other countries, to be welcomed ““ if our behavior deserves it ““ into the lands and lives of other societies. Embracing the concept of geotourism, the light-footed traveller ensures her social imprint on a region’s sense of place is as minimal as her carbon footprint.
With Harmony as home, Ayla would have the waves as her lullaby. The deep darkness of the nights there holding sleep as a marvelous gift. Early morning and evening walks in sea air, daily yoga (fit-2-rip for mum), learning to ride the waves, papaya juice, showers outdoors, and always our art in words and images; we need not move far, our bodies, the surf and local food our only study. Here she will learn that relaxation is precious, and can also be a way of life. And she will learn that her mother too can relax ““ it just takes the magic of Costa Rica ““ the place, the people, and businesses like Cayuga who understand and are committed to protecting the interconnectedness of it all, the incredible fragility of balance.
Congratulations to Chala and Ayla, we look forward to having you visit our hotels and hear more about your experiences!