By: Elizabeth McDonald
The sticky humid air enveloped me as I stepped out of our air-conditioned white van. The salty smell of the ocean instantly hit my nose, causing a smile to spread across my face. I looked up and saw the sun peeking through a thick layer of green vegetation. In an organized chaos sort of way, we all made it to our respective rooms which consisted of bunk beds, a bathroom (with two showers) and a large space to hang our clothes. To think we had gone from sleeping on church floors to this. It was announced that we had about an hour and half until dinner so a bunch of us decided to go check out the beach. We put on our swim suits and began the five minute walk to the beach. When we made the final turn, you could see for miles in either direction. We had the beach to ourselves. There was a mad rush to get to the ocean for a nice refreshing dip. The sand between my toes was so soft and the warm salty water washed over my feet. I allowed myself to float on my back, drifting as the waves came and went. I was completely at peace. The silence of the moment overwhelmed me as I took in each breath. It was the first time, since NOLS, that I was utterly content. That is not to say that I did not enjoy service or other parts of Costa Rica. I did. I do. But there is something absolutely captivating about the ability to forget where you are and be transformed to another place entirely. In that moment, I was floating off the coast of Limón in Costa Rica but I could have just as easily been sitting around a LNT fire somewhere in the Wind River Range with Andy, Brandon and Christina by my side. I have loved every bit if Costa Rica so far. But nothing compares to the serenity of the beach. The beach that took me back to a place 5968 kilometers away.