I’ve been traveling to run winter kayak trips for 12 years now and it’s still one of my favorite things to do – combining whitewater kayaking with yoga and travel. Every year is different and offers up a different energy and experience. This year felt particularly joyful and I’m grateful that after so many years Girls at Play trips still bring so much awesomeness into my life. After a 4 month kayaking break between our Main Salmon trip in Idaho and the trips in Costa Rica, getting back in my kayak on the Pejibaye the first day felt like coming home.
The first week that I was in Costa Rica I was teaching yoga and safety kayaking for a Costa Rica Rios Week of Adventures – a multi-sport adventure travel trip that includes duckying (IK-ing for those of you out west), rafting, canyoning, zip lining and surfing/beach time. Awesome, right!? My job was to teach a yoga class every day, safety kayak and help out where needed. It felt fantastic to not be in charge of anything, except the yoga. Don’t get me wrong, I love running GAP programs and being in charge, but it was also fun to just be a guide and work/play with the Tico guides. Mixing it up and working a co-ed trip with a wide range of ages was fun too. I have a lot of gratitude in particular for the young men in their twenties that were on this trip. They helped me remember to let go and not take things (especially myself) too seriously.
Our women’s intermediate trip also had a wide range of ages and that was really inspiring and fun. From women in their early 20s to women in their 50s. There was a running joke about Millennials and also lots of 80s music being played. The group’s personalities all came together in a fun and supportive way. We paddled the Pejibaye, Sarapiqui, Upper Upper Pacuare and Lower Pacuare with a stay at Jungle Camp. We ate, we danced, we did yoga and we drank a little too much once or twice. It was an awesome trip and I’m grateful for the amazing women who joined us!
The last week was our Novice week. It was dry season, but it decided to rain almost everyday. The ladies had a great attitude about it, even when we couldn’t paddle on the river one day. We did pool session instead which was really fun and it’s always good to work on rolling. We stayed on the Sarapiqui all week and enjoyed the wildlife of the jungle seeing sloths, monkeys, tree frogs, toucans and macaws. We also ate amazing food – our last night the servers brought out 10 different delicious Costa Rican dishes to our table! And we danced and drank piña coladas too.
This year I came away feeling a lightness that I haven’t felt in awhile and I’m grateful to all of the people who shared this experience with me – new friends, old friends, and my co-guide, Anna Wagner, who’s positive energy is infectious. She took many of the photos below – they aren’t necessarily in order of the weeks, but I added photos from all three weeks. Enjoy and I hope you’ll join us for Costa Rica 2016! Andrew and I are running a co-ed trip December 26 – Jan. 2, 2016 in addition to our GAP Intermediate trip Jan. 2 – 10, 2016!