Pura Vida/Pure Life

I had an eye opening, enriching experience last week as I traveled to Costa Rica. Preparing weeks in advance as part of a class, I went with a community development perspective in mind. Everywhere I went I saw or heard the phrase “pura vida”, or pure life. When asked how they were doing, people would respond with “pura vida!” I thought at first this was some motto crafted for visitors and that the locals working in tourism were annoyingly obligated to say. However as we toured a three-generation family farm, I started to catch the vision of the pure life as the current farm manager described how growing organically was best for his family. As I processed what he was saying about not having a huge coffee bean harvest this year and having no regrets about not using chemicals, I thought about the learning and growing experiences his family has probably had over the years. Later on during the week I found myself sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of another farm, taking in the ambiance of farm life. As fire flies came out in the evening air, I smiled and said to myself, this is la pura vida.

Even though I only experienced a small part of it, Costa Rica was beautiful in so many ways. From cloud forests to coffee farms, from women’s co-ops to humble villagers, from zip-lining through forest canopies to long drives on dirt roads, and so much more that I hope to experience in the future, Costa Rica is the perfect embodiment of the pure life! Check out the utarica15 hashtag on Instagram for pictures!

Day 1: Slight flight delay due to a volcano eruption!

Day 2: Monteverde Cloud Forest, CASEM Women’s Arts and Craft’s Co-op

Day 3: Ecobambu paper-making microenterprise, Vargas Family Farm and soap-making microenterprise

Day 4: Cafetal Coffee Farm, Canopy zipline tour

Day 5-7: Service in Los Tornos surveying different members of the community to determine the possibility of developing a community garden project.

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Our Grand Staircase-Escalante Adventure

TRAILHEAD Recreation

We had quite the adventure last weekend in Grand Staircase-Escalante. We drove down Friday night and searched for a spot on Hole in the Rock road. We found a random spot and set up camp in the dark. When we awoke Saturday morning we were treated to beautiful views of a plateau.


We hiked up Peek-a-boo Gulch and down Spooky Gulch, which made me anxious and claustrophobic, especially when Porter started to scream as we had to pass him through the really narrow parts. On the drive out of the Hole in the Rock area we must have kicked up a rock because our radiator was leaking pretty bad when we got to Calf Creek Campground. We attempted to go to Boulder to buy antifreeze but the leak seemed worse as we drove and the high temperature light was a gloomy indicator of the seriousness of our situation. No reception…

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