Leaping to life in Costa Rica

rope swing in the jungleOprah Winfrey once said “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” But maybe the bigger adventure is living a life that’s beyond your wildest aspirations? Jessica Chasnoff was ready to do just that, to realise her dreams and take that leap of faith, literally…

“If someone had told me a couple of years back that I would have willingly Tarzan-jumped into a 150 foot free fall so that I could swing back and forth across the verdant and glorious canopy of the Costa Rican rainforest, I would have told them that they were certifiably crazy. But, in March of 2012, I took myself on my first solo international trip. Freshly divorced and even though it had been my choice to end the marriage, feeling a bit like a newborn fawn just learning to stand when it came to traveling on my own.

There were so many places I wanted to see, but I eventually decided on Intrepid’s Costa Rica Express. It was there that I spent nine days with a bold and bawdy bunch of fellow ‘Intrepidos’, while we ate, talked, laughed, hiked, encountered monkeys, tarantulas, sloths, and Jesus Christ lizards, swam, ziplined, sailed and sang ‘Manah Manah’ (which rhymes with ‘guanabana’ juice and was how we learned to order the delicious beverage properly).

We bonded with the beauty of Costa Rica and we bonded with each other. These precious people didn’t make fun of me when I got a tad teary after viewing my first Resplendent Quetzal, and when one of our members got carsick and threw up in the van one day, there was not a crabby soul in sight – only concerned people who knew that the best times to be had were with those who cared about each other.

When everyone except me chose jet skiing for our last day’s activity in Manuel Antonio National Park, as I had elected to parasail instead (which, by the way, is a piece of cake after a Tarzan jump) they made sure to get back to the shore in time to watch me lift off. And it was these people who somehow managed to talk me in to walking a metal plank 300 feet above the Earth, allowing myself to be harnessed into the swing by two Costa Rican cuties (whom I was sure I would soil myself in front of, but they both just kept repeating “Don’t look down”) and finally leaping, not to my death, but to life – scary and beautiful and ultimately, always unfolding in perfection.

I leapt into the gorgeousness of a natural world, containing wonders that I intend to see as many as possible of while I inhabit this planet. I leapt into the gift of friendship with those who I am not likely to see again, but who will always be some of the dearest people I have ever met. I leapt. I have the jump on a DVD, which we were all given by Allan, our amazing guide, and every time I watch it, I remember how wonderful it felt to trust life that way, and to be met with the cheers of those who loved me, as the ropes cradled me back down to the ground.”

Have you ever flung yourself into an adventure that would challenge your mind, body and spirit?

* photo by Karin Schooneveldt – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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