It’s been a rough first week in Tamarindo, starting with us taking turns being sick, going to the doctor (which costs $60 for tourists), and me getting eaten alive by mosquitos every night despite my best defenses (Jake never gets bitten when I’m around). Still, we realize complications are a fact of travel and things are looking up in spite of them.
Tamarindo was more expensive than either of us had expected but we’ve started to hit our stride figuring out how to maximize our grocery trips, where to eat to get the most value, and even locking in a great apartment for when we come back. When you cross a former M&A analyst with an MIT-grad, ex-options trader, many problems that come up while traveling can and will be solved through spreadsheets. (For friends who are reading this, the apartment does have an extra bedroom so we could potentially take guests between May and August!)
We’ve also had a week to get used to some of the quirks of living here. For example, we learned you can give a bag of your laundry to some tattooed guys in an alleyway with a car, and they’ll bring it back to you clean the same day for $3 a kilo! (Although a kilo is only ~2.2 lbs so it’s actually much cheaper to just do your own laundry if you have a lot.)
To everyone in our hostel (our second since we got here) we are the couple that mostly sticks to themselves, surfs early in the morning, writes and plays poker in the lobby (the only place with wi-fi) during midday when the sun is strongest, then gets an early meal, streams some videos together in the common area, and are back in our rooms by 8 or 9 to get ready for bed.
The irony is not lost on us that our current hostel calls itself a surf camp, but we are the only ones who wake up before 7am to hit the waves around mid-tide, and retire in the evening while other guests are still pregaming (loudly) in the lobby.
I get the feeling our single-minded discipline lends us the illusion of being interesting people because almost everybody recognizes us and several have tried unsuccessfully to get us to go out with them. No one can understand why we can never skip a day of waking up at 6 to surf, and we don’t bother to explain it to them.
The truth is, every day that starts with surfing is a good day for us. We get a tough workout in before eating breakfast, are then pumped to take on whatever is next, and still have the whole day left ahead of us to do it!
There is something tremendously empowering about catching a wave, because you are literally and figuratively standing on the shoulder of giants. Although you can’t decide where the waves will take you or when it will close out, at this moment, where you want to go, and where the wave is taking you, are exactly the same.
I very much take this as an analogy for life. Maybe sometimes instead of fighting the current, we can choose to go with it. When something unexpectedly bad happens (e.g. we showed up at our third hotel, and found out they have raised the price of our room despite our receipt saying otherwise) instead of lamenting why everything in life has to be difficult, we can decide to trust that it is taking us is where we’ll want to be, even if we might not know it yet.