When François and I travel we are always interested in ‘getting into the culture’ of a country

and taking the road less travelled,

whether it be searching out local dining experiences

or exploring unique geographic locations.

In our aim to live a more simple life we no longer shop for memorable souvenirs.

Occasionally we will return with a special piece of local art.

We have in the past brought home a book of especailly beautful photos of an area visited.

This recent opportunity to visit Costa Rica was in itself unique in its origin,

unique in what we experienced in our brief visit,

and unique in that we have been given an extraordinary gift

to return home with exquisite photographic memories.

The following are just a few of the remarkable things that we observed.

Some we photographed…

…some we learned about by talking with people we met along the way…

1. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

“an exception in an exceptional country”,
is one of the World’s five Blue Zones,
small pockets aross the globe
where people live uncharacteristic long happy lives.
While were weren’t able to visit this area,
we did experience a sense of why this exquisitely beautiful country
and its people are exceptional.
2. Costa Rica has been ranked #1 on the Happy Planet Index , 2014
Those people whose paths we were fortunate to have crossed during our too brief visit,
regardless of economic condition,
were indeed wonderful happy people.
3. Did you know that pineapples grow on the ground and not in trees?
I didn’t.
4. The Costa Rican way of ‘building’ fenses is ingenious
They’re called ‘living fenses‘.
Branchs are cut from existing trees
and placed in the ground as fense posts…
…because of the extremely fertile volcanic soil the branches take root
and sprout into new trees…
…the branches are then pruned to create more fense posts…
5. My ‘just because’ picture
because I thought this tree was curiously unique and beautiful…

6. We saw the summit (1670 m)
François captured this shot of the great Arenal Volcano
(one of seven active Costa Rican volcanoes)
the day we left the Arenal National Park.
It was the only view we had of its summit
as the clouds briefly parted.
…and finally
7. La Pura Vida

…an uniquely Costa Rican saying

that symbolizes enjoying life and being happy.

The expression particularily rings true with us in our new life aboard R.E.D.

where we are learning to live a more uncluttered, peaceful, simple life

with a greater appreciation of nature, friends and family.