nature + vacation, a word

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts,
as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees,
that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.

– Robert Louis Stevenson

Costa Rica | Rainforest | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

I have an intense adoration for nature. My husband tells me I am a hippy minus the tie-dye and head scarves. I don’t technically hug trees, but I could possibly be mistaken as a tree hugger. I thrive in fresh air and open spaces. But here is the funny thing- with all of that being said, very rarely will you find me out there, enjoying all that mother nature has to offer. I have been mistaken as a princess. I do insist on at least throwing some mascara and face color on before going to the beach. I have an incredible aversion to peeing in anything other than a toilet. I complain about the heat. A LOT.

Yet I always feel slightly off. For most of my life I have felt a disconnect from who I am, and who I AM. As if there is something there, just not quite found yet. It is not something I am fully aware of at all times, but it is always there. I don’t lay in bed wallowing and lamenting that I missing something. That my life is not complete. But, well, my life is not quite complete. Because in all honesty, I live my life denying myself the stuff that I most need. It is not that I send my wants into the corner, punishing them for some unseen misbehavior. I just don’t really take the time to really give them any attention. My wants have middle-child syndrome and just get overlooked.

And then, I will unexpectedly have an encounter with nature that punches me in the gut and reminds me of everything that I have tucked nice and neatly deep down in my soul.

This past year has been a hard one for me. I have been busy busy busy. For a year, I had only one day a week off, and that day didn’t really count because it consisted of running around like a maniac trying to get a week’s worth of errands done in a matter of hours. This past year I have whined (excessively) over how badly I Just. Want. To. Be. Outside. So when we were planning the graduation vacation, it was bound to revolve around the outdoors. And when we upgraded from a basic vacation in the mountains of Georgia to a vacation in Costa Rica, well, I KNEW I was going to be outside. A lot. I knew I was finally going to get that fresh air I so desperately needed. I just didn’t know it would saturate every inch of my being the way that it did.

Costa Rica | Rainforest | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photography

We spent almost every moment of our vacation outside. Sometimes doing. Sometimes just being. We would wake up (sometimes ridiculously) early, and immediately go outside. We would just sit. Or we would meet a tour guide and head out on an adventure. On some days we stayed at a friend’s house, where it would be so very easy to whine about the lack of air conditioning, but because there was none, we slept with all the windows open. Which means every night/morning I was woken by the sounds of howler monkeys in the distance. I listened to roosters aggressively trying to wake the entire country up. I smiled into the pillow as I listened to some of the most foreign bird songs I have ever heard.

This was not a vacation that consisted of lounging poolside and having drinks brought to you. Nope. And while sometimes my princess crown can blind you when the sun hits it just right, surprisingly the kind of vacation that I want is not the vacation that you would expect from me. The vacation that I desperately want is exactly the vacation that I had.

It consisted of muddy shoes. Dirt under my nails. A constant stream of sweat dripping from my neck. A heavy backpack on my back. Lots *ahem* of falls. The scent of choice was a mix of sweat and Deep Woods bug spray. It consisted of granola bars in the rainforest and pb&j’s in a truck in the middle of a tree farm. Of being shoved out of my comfort zone and coming out on the other side ok.

I would walk through these magical forests, trying not to be overwhelmed by all of the sights and sounds, and would just breathe. And I would realize that my mind was calm. It was quiet. It was content. Because I was where I needed to be. Where I should be. It was not distraught with a constant sense of worry. Drowning in anxiety. Because it was being fed and nourished.

And for the record, my mascara looked great through it all 😉


One Comment to “nature + vacation, a word”

  1. Well said, oh how I can relate . .. . nice photos! Will have to venture to Costa Rica one day! 🙂

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