Braving the Big Leap to Latin AmericaThursday, July 09, 2015
“We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing wings along the way.”
~ Kurt Vonegurt
We gathered around an old bamboo table drinking Bintang and rice wine on a little surf island in Indonesia. Some had been pleasantly stuck there for months, some returning for more waves and a few first-timers. And I, had just arrived from my 6 month Southeast Asia trip, beyond stoked to be back on my island home where I had been living for the past 2 years.
A Colombian chick asked me what my plans were. I said I wanted to go on traveling Latin America but at the same time I just felt like staying in my comfort zone for a while, maybe finally build that yoga shala I’ve always dreamt about or that healthy juice bar on the beach that my bestfriend and I planned on Pinterest.
She shook her head and said “Don’t. Don’t stay here if you can see the world now.” in her sexy Latina accent. All heads turned to her, almost shocked by her blunt advice. We were all in love with the island, we all dreamt about settling there one day. How could she..?! “The world is too big to stay in one place. I know Lombok is amazing, but you have to see Latin America while you can. You’re gonna have so much fun!” her eyes grew wider and I believed her.
|Lombok > Bali > Kota Kinabalu > Kuala Lumpur > |
Shanghai > Los Angeles > Costa Rica
She was damn right. This was the push that I needed. Within days I had booked my tickets from Asia all the way to Central America on my credit card. The problem was, I had already used up my savings for my recent SEA trip.
I’d lie awake at night thinking: "How am I ever going to survive backpacking Latin America if I had already used up my travel budget? Will I be able to teach yoga there? I know nothing about WWOOFing."
|My yoga assistant, Ginger|
They say that travel is never a matter of money, but of courage. I remembered those people I’ve met, confidently traveling the world with barely any money in their bank accounts. Avid Couchsurfers, vagabonds who live in their tents, make their own meals and somehow manage to make ends meet.
I met a group of Germans exploring Asia who have bicycled all the way from their hometown. A deaf 60 year old Japanese man who has explored over 100 countries on his trusty old motorbike. A Spanish masseuse and healer who funds his trips from donations. Gypsies and digital nomads who have vowed to a life of travel, regardless of their financial situation. The list goes on. I thought to myself “Can I really travel the world just teaching yoga?”
|Blue-eyed Michael giving guests a tour of Rancho Margot|
|Hiking around Volcán Arenal and Laguna de Arenal|
Mold started growing on my stuff, my laptop charger stopped working, drying my clothes was just an impossible feat. In spite of showering with bug spray every few hours, four varieties of mosquitoes sucked my Type O blood, even through my leggings. I’d find pockets of sunshine and just stand there, absorbing the rays on my face. I realized how I’ve taken sunshine for granted growing up in the Philippines and living in Indonesia, both warm tropical countries.
|Gardening with the pro, Yonathan|
We explored secret spots I will never forget. Emmanuel showed me the fireflies by the lake on my first night. Luis and I melted our stress away at his favorite hot springs. Yonathan hiked with me in and around the ranch taking all the different trails while we talked about everything under the sun. The resident Golden Retrievers Ginger and Acha kept me company every chance they got.
|At the river nearby with Emmanuel and Acha|
|Photo Credit: LBS Photography|
|Scenic hike up to the Mirador|
|Aside from teaching a yoga class, we do 2-3 hours of gardening a day|
|Growing seeds from our greenhouse with gardening boots previously owned by a child|
-As a Filipino passport holder, I have visa on arrival for the following Central and South American countries:
Brazil – 90 days
Bolivia – 90 days
Colombia – 90 days
Costa Rica – 90 days
Dominica – 21 days
Ecuador – 90 days
Haiti – 90 days
Nicaragua – 90 days
Peru – 183 days
Suriname – 90 days
This has the most accurate list to date, but please do confirm with each country’s embassy before you book your tickets. Most visas are granted for 90 days, which is a huge difference from the 30 day visas I’ve been accustomed to in Southeast Asia. Yay, no more visa runs!
-Logistically speaking, it was also the cheapest entry point at the time that I booked my flights. If you’re flying from Asia, you can get a direct flight from Manila or Hong Kong all the way to Los Angeles then into San Jose airport.
-I am currently on my way to the Pacific coastline of Costa Rica, to a place called Peace Retreats in Playa Negra. I plan to explore the Caribbean coastline before I make my way up to Nicaragua towards the end of July. Who knows where the road may lead next.
Sole Sister Adi
Adi escaped from the corporate world so her life now happily revolves around yoga and travel. She lives a simple, eco-friendly lifestyle and inspires those around her to do the same. She shares her AntiGravity and yoga practice everywhere she goes and dreams of building rustic Secret Spot hostels in beautiful tropical destinations. She just ended her Southeast Asian adventure and is currently exploring Central America. Follow Adi's adventures on Love the Search and on Facebook and Instagram.