By Todd Pequeen
My sister (who is 3 years older than me) and my nephew (who is 15) will be visiting Manuel Antonio in a few weeks. I sit contemplating what side of Manuel Antonio to show my nephew, and what life lessons I’ve learned, that may help him become a happy man down the road of life. It’s not easy for me as I have been living outside the United States for almost 20 years. I want him to know and to understand that planet Earth is his home and it is a world more united than ever despite what the evening news may tell us. My most memorable accomplishments came from soul searching and meditation, often times living alone in foreign countries, traveling, and not having a computer to turn to. I read, and wrote, and felt that every day I must cultivate my body, mind, and spirit. Somehow I had complete confidence that if I did those 3 things every day, all would work out in the end. Later I learned, there is no end or if there is, it is solely death. How does anyone see the possibilities that are in front of them, with so much static and stress involved in the high pace life of today? To act against the norm is courageous, but more admirable is to nurture the unique joy within ourselves because we are doing what we want to do, and may we live well because of it. I often see cash motivated lives justified by it’s “a means to an end” but I find that the easy way out. Easy ways out are usually unsatisfying.
Manuel Antonio is as unique to Costa Rica as Costa Rica is to Central America. For we are a little Beverly Hills on a dead end road for the most visited national park in the country. We get a steady stream of visitors all looking for something new, a bit of excitement, relaxation, and a break from the routine. That is exactly what I hope my nephew can accomplish with his life. To live a permanent existence of contentment by doing what fills his soul. I know that when I was 15, I was obsessed with the sport of surfing yet had never surfed as Buffalo, NY isn’t blessed in that way. An adult would have told me I was crazy and should focus on something important. I am still obsessed almost 30 years later. I know most of the community around Manuel Antonio is very unique. For it is filled with go-getters and drop outs, hippies and investors, transients and individuals that may not have it easy, yet the nature around us and the changing style of the seasons are weathered with great joy. Often times a location can set the tone for emotions to flow, perhaps that is all I should do. Make sure my nephew hangs out in the jungle, gets out on the ocean, and maybe even rides down a river. After the sun sets a lively evening at Barba Roja might be all that he needs. My hope is that he will “feel” something different here as I do.
Friendly, stunning, international, and quite laid back most visitors return here. It is definitely not all roses as somebody always has something to complain about and will gladly tell you what they think. I even enjoy that! The lively debates and variance of lifestyles add to MA’s unique blend. Obviously, I will have a few mystery trips to liven up the days but when it all comes down to it a massage on the beach (he’s been massaged his entire life from Uncle Todd) is awesome. The warm Pacific and it’s glory should be wondrous to him because all he does is swim in pools….a surf and a swim out to the gemelo’s may be awe inspiring. I hope he is able to envision and create a lifestyle for himself through courage and motivation and is able to draw from his experiences such as this trip. Carpe diem is more than just a saying, it can truly become a way of life if one will let it. The more I think about this upcoming visit the more I sit back in my chair and smile. Pura Vida is another saying around these parts for a good reason. He comes from amazing parents, all I need to do is share myself and who I am to make the greatest impact. That is the easiest thing in the world! Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success.