Star Date:  July 2012
Costa Rica



Hello Dear Family & Friends!


Pura vida!

("Pure Life', 'cool', 'all right', 'all good' - Costa Rican/Spanish greeting)




"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
(Mark Twain - American author and world traveler)


In our 10th year of continuous travel we are at times amazed that we not only lasted this long on the road as nomads, but also that our flame still shines brightly.  Our passion pushes us on and on to discover new people and places on this exceptional planet we all share.  We try to look for the best in those we meet and build bridges between cultures.  First hand knowledge and love can replace ignorance and fear, so we try to share what we learn. I started our webpage to send photos to a few family and friends.  Now with over 130,000 people stopping by for a look each month we are motivated to carry on.

Last month we received an email from a follower in Indonesia:

"Greetings from Indonesia,
Apa kabar?

Cuba almost the same like in eastern part of Indonesia. Viva Cuba-Indonesia.
Best regards and Terima kashi. )" 

Last month we also received emails from Europe, the U.S., China, India and Africa.  Fidelius, from the Samburu village of Wamba in Kenya (September 2009) It was great hearing from him after 8 months. He wrote that, "all is well in his high school; Joseph, the student who we sponsored graduated last year, and Fidelius is working on his Masters degree, utilizing academic resources we gave him.  His church choir is still singing and dancing and the family says "Hi!"

From China:
"I got an email from Bryan, he met you in Bali, It's so surprised! the world is really a village and a big family now."  With Qi -  Jian She

From Europe:

Bonjour "You probably don't remember me (we met in the best Indian restaurant in Mombasa) but I wanted to let you know that I'm very happy to be on your mailing list. Keep those inspiring postings coming !" Take care,

"Thanks Nancy, there are great people in the world right now making a paradigm shift and this is very strong.  People like you have a lot of power to open the eyes of others while you travel to real things which need change.  Not just the pretty scenes but what is happening that is not being told to us.  So that as a people we can help each other unite."

From the U.S.:

Nancy and Joseph,
"I continue to admire the dedication and beauty of the way you have chosen to live.

You are an inspiration.

Your health information is so basic, so necessary and so simple: it would behoove so many people to just stop the huge amount of time, effort, money and drugs they are taking and check out what our world has to offer naturally. All drugs are natural as they originated in nature, but they have been so altered that toxins have proliferated.

If only the world became everyone's home: then each person would treat others as they should in their home.

I counsel at a middle school in an urban area: one of the most difficult parts of the day is attempting to lift the veil of materialism from students' eyes. They have grown up thinking that Nike shoes, for example, are needs, not wants.

Your life style shows so well how simplicity and peace, understanding and love are true values and go hand in hand.

Many might think it difficult to go from Rodeo Drive to the back of a pick up truck heading for a small village: I see it as people connecting at whatever level they can with others and as one of the most fundamental things. That is where we are all alike: our deep seated values and emotions, so thank you once again for continuing to be role models for more and more people."

“We people of the world need to find ways to get to know one another—for then we will recognize that our likenesses are much greater than our differences, however great our differences may seem.”
(Peace Pilgrim - author and visionary)

And so we learn and learn; from people we meet, situations we end up in, books we read, inspiring emails we receive.  Wondering if all the work with the webpage is worth it, uploading the page slowly as rain drips through the roof onto the computer we are using; we are recharged by yet another positive email.

We are not the same people who left on the trip so many years ago. We have evolved, changed, digressed and advanced.  We know all too well that 'wherever we go - there we are'.  We are, as with everyone, always working on improving our shortcomings; trying not to judge but allowing people their path, trying to reduce our stress level, keeping our heads clear of unnecessary noise, worry or clutter.  Working on the much needed patience in so many situations but speaking up when called for, trying to increase awareness in a world crying out for help. Remembering to connect and live in the NOW, something traveling forces us to do.  We like the little space or 'home' we create each place we visit (home is carried in our hearts). Classical or Cuban or? music is playing depending on our mood, surrounded by our few possessions.  We make friends easily and enjoy our interactions with those we meet, those whose path intertwines in our tapestry of life.  One corner always overflows with colorful fresh vegetables and fruit from the local market.  Good health is freedom.  We try to research and share information on health and MMS.  Walking our talk down our vegan path.

We travel lightly on the earth, conserving water and electricity and taking public transport for the most part.  We have simplified our lives from 2 houses in Hawaii to carrying an eighteen inch suitcase and a day pack.  All business is done on line.  Calls to family, important in our life, are done through skype.  We often wonder what all the fuss with former details in our lives was all about?  We know that it is no longer us.

We try to remain empathetic and open to those around us but let's face it - we are resilient, rough tough individuals.  At times it has been trying on our relationship living together 24/7, through sun and rain.  But we work it out.  What we have been through is not for the faint of heart.  We went 'bush' long ago, especially after 2.5 years on public transport and driving around Africa.  We have given up social niceties for utilitarian habits. We wash ourselves and our clothes in buckets and change locations rather than wardrobes.  It is nothing to ride in the back of a garlic truck, hitch a ride on a motorcycle, or catch a lift on a cargo ship.  I am writing this because the electricity just went on.  We caught a boat over 100 miles down the river with locals, far from any services, just to see what's down the Rio San Juan in Nicaragua.  With wild riverbanks full of monkeys, sloths, vibrant birds and friendly locals we haven't been disappointed.  We rarely are.  Only our heart aches for destruction of Nature planet wide.  We didn't know a week ago where the Rio San Juan was, let alone that we would be in absolutely the 'middle of nowhere' down this remote river; reachable only by water.  We are just enjoying the journey and where it leads us.  We are forced into the moment, dealing with what opens up.  We are on the river of life.

Eternal River.  Moving, ever changing, flowing without thought or concern.  Change is the only constant, as with travel. Starting as rain over the lush jungle on the slopes of an ancient volcano, the drops become a tiny stream that in turn joins a larger river.  At that point the minerals of the converging streams combine in an explosion of magic, creating one of the most stunning colors on earth.  Unaffected by its beauty the river roars on over endless waterfalls and rapids, pausing slightly to rest in creamy turquoise lagoons or steamy hot pools; surrounded by colorful orange and red heleconia flowers.  Bright blue butterflies sun themselves on the tranquil banks.  Life is as it is.  The river enjoys its journey with no worry of the destination.  Rushing down to it's eventual home in the ocean it is connected to the 'tierra' or earth, the 'cielo' or sky and to each of us.  The cycle of life continues.  Nature is the guide we seek.  All is one.  All is well.    (Written along the banks of Rio Celeste 3 weeks prior.) 

In contrast with the political instability of neighboring countries, Costa Rica shines like a beacon of light and hope.  Costa Ricans or 'Ticos' have Central America's highest rate of education and literacy, health care and life expectancy.  With a long standing democratic history the national army was abolished in 1948 and peace has prevailed since then.  Part of the great global chess game, 'coups' or political overthrows in Central America are the norm but Costa Rica is the golden child, protected by behind the scenes agreements.

'Ticos' are lively, fun loving people with trendy professionals shopping at Wal-Mart in San Jose, remote villagers living without electricity in tiny tin roofed cement houses, cowboys roping cattle in northern Guanacaste and Creole speaking Afro Caribbeans along the steamy East coast of Limon.  There is a noticeable lack of indigenous people remaining in Costa Rica.  The Spanish tried unsuccessfully in the early 1500's to colonize the "Rich Coast".  The indigenous people fought back and many were wiped out.  Now part of New Spain the central area was eventually settled but the country was largely ignored by Spain for hundreds of years, once it was determined there was no gold in "them thar hills".

Costa Rica won its independence from Spain in 1821.  First a member of the Federal Republic of Central America, eventually coffee cultivation was created and the coveted beans were exported directly to England, setting the country on a positive financial path.  In 1856 an American adventurer, William Walker, decided to invade Costa Rica and was defeated miserably by the countries troops.  I guess he had to buy coffee like the rest of us.  Good thing there wasn't any oil in the country or the history books would have been changed forever!  In 1870 General Guardia seized power, taxing the coffee barons to provide federal funding and curbing the power of the military.  In 1948 Don Pepe Figueres, a visionary, abolished the armed forces, established citizen rights for blacks and voting for women.  Links with the U.S remain strong but, spurred on by the Nicaraguan War, Costa Rica fell in financial crisis in 1981.  In 1987 President Sanchez was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in ending the Nicaraguan civil war.  Still Costa Rica is without an army, and with little police presence; there are more teachers than policemen.  Costa Rica is a neutral bridge in the sometimes fiery Central American countries.

We arrived in Costa Rica totally on a last minute whim, taking advantage of a cheap air ticket - postponing our arrival in South America so we could explore Central America for 5 months.  We were shocked at how expensive the country was, the first night spending $24 for bunk beds in a room so tiny we couldn't pass each other, with an outside bath.  Adapting to the situation, as we did in Jamaica, we began looking at options. Our daughter Mariah and son-in-law Shane had just listed their house in Kona, Hawaii on www.airbnb (: so we gave it a try.  Instead of a tiny room in a noisy backpackers hostel we stayed for $16/night at a lovely new condo in the suburbs.  This service is worldwide in 80 countries and helps you hook up with private home accommodations for a reasonable price.  Couch surfing is another option to consider but for both services you must be signed up, verified and near the internet to confirm arrangements.

We met other travelers and ex-pats living in Costa Rica and spent time going together to farmers markets, the Nacional Theater, and walking around the culturally interesting sights of the center of San Jose.  A big city, it was time to remember our street smarts.  Recharged and rested we headed out to explore the far corners of this impressive country.


And so it goes.........................................Next exploring the Caribbean coast and lush mountains of Costa Rica.  Until then let's get rid of our prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness which are rooted in ignorance and fear; and instead get to know one another—for then in love we will recognize that worldwide, our likenesses are much greater than our differences.  We are glad you stopped by.     Thanks for keeping in touch!  Take care!


Love, Light & Laughter, 

xoxoox  Nancy & Joseph





Travel notes:

$1.00US = 500 colones

Bus travel in Costa Rica is extensive and fairly reasonable.  It is possible to travel anywhere, but always buy your tickets early or in advance as when seats are full, you are expected to stand after paying full price.  Most major routes go through the many busy stations in San Jose, (home of pickpockets) but if you have time there are several buses daily for locals heading on secondary roads to any where you need to go.  Just ask.  Avoid backtracking to San Jose.  You can also just stand by the side of the highway and flag down any bus from the capitol.  By then some people will have gotten off. 

Costa Rica is the most expensive country in central America but it is possible to find cheaper hostals or hospedes.  Eat at 'sodas' or little cafes for a cheap meat filled option.  In tourist areas the many options are built to satisfy the tourist infrastructure.    

Look up places to stay when arriving on airbnb or VRBO - (vacation rentals by owners)  google either for a place to stay at a discount to listed rooms.

We arrived in Costa Rica totally on a last minute whim, taking advantage of a cheap air ticket - postponing our arrival in South America so we could explore Central America for 5 months.  Without plans or a guidebook we just talked to fellow travelers for some ideas.  Guatemala is the farthest a free air mileage ticket will reach from Hawaii so we plan to fly home for Christmas in Hawaii, returning to Guatemala, then on to South America.

We were shocked at how expensive the country was, the first night spending $24 for bunk beds in a room so tiny we couldn't pass each other, with an outside bath (hotel starting at $40 for a dingy option).  Adapting to the situation, as we did in Jamaica, we began looking at options. Our daughter Mariah and son-in-law Shane had just listed their house in Kona, Hawaii on www.airbnb  (: so we gave it a try.  Instead of a tiny room in a noisy backpackers hostel we stayed for $16/night at a lovely new condo in the suburbs.  This service is worldwide in 80 countries and helps you hook up with private home accommodations for a reasonable price.  Couch surfing is another option to consider but for both you must be signed up, verified and near the internet to confirm arrangements.

We arrived late at night and shared a taxi with a friendly couple we met. (taxi over $20 from airport).  Arriving at Gaudy's Backpackers we took one of the last rooms available.  $12pp.  Dorms and other rooms available for $32 or 36 - for private.  The best part is that you feel safe and welcome here.  Everyone is helpful and friendly.  Full of info. A great place to plan your escape to the outlying areas of Costa Rica.

Phone # 2258 2937  2248-0086

Ask the front desk where the Clinic Dental is.  Dr Silva is a good dentist.  Not cheap but they did a great job on my broken tooth.
Phone # 2223 - 7675

Teatro Nacional al Mediodia.  We saw Los Colores del Tango.  The colors of Tango.  Every Tuesday at noon - only $2 each for a live performance in the beautiful Nacional Theatre.  Free tours on the hour (9-3) of the splendid post-Baroque building.  Many museums (gold, jade, national, arte) and cathedrals  are all in the pleasant downtown area.  Walking street malls are loaded with vendors and stores vying for your business.



More inspiring letters to share:

From the U.S. and Europe:

"So aside from everything, how the hell are you & Joseph?  I've been giving out your website ( to everyone I come across and hopefully you'll hear from some of them!  Hope you don't mind me bragging about both of you, the true ambassadors of our country!  So for now take care, continue on your journeys and know you both are thought of often, luv to you" 

" I just salute what you and Joseph are doing on behalf of all that -- inspiring people to get out of the house, the suburbs and media fast food sound-bites, explore the truly "wonder-ful" world we live in, and trust the larger world to lead each of us to where we truly belong:  living and loving -- and sharing our best -- with our whole human family.  I give you and Joseph my thanks for YOU being YOU, and my biggest, warmest hugs "

"Just wanted to say once again what an amazing pleasure it was to meet both of you... Nancy for your equilibrium and good humor and Joe whose mind is a marvelous gift to the world. Wow.
Hope to see you in Katmandu, but otherwise, we always have a guest room in North Carolina.
I'll be following your travels, count on it."

"I'm glad that you enjoy the emails as it is such a marvel that you can be deep in the bush or out in remote jungle and still get word from around the world.
Isn't it fantastic how a small seed of a nucleus of family and friends grows: the longer you are committed to something bigger than yourselves, the more that "something" takes on a life of its own. It's a beautiful concept."

From Asia:

"Hello Joseph and Nancy, I am very glad to see that you have made a new web page for june that you are happy and healthy, I have enjoyed your website tremendously, since I was sent a link back in may when a crazy rumor was circulating that you & Joseph had met with some unfortunate fate while in Africa, no doubt you heard of it? Who knows how it started, anyway I am relieved that you are Happy healthy and well and continuing on your world odyssey.  You guys have really done an incredible feat and such a good web site, I have benefited from your health tips as well."


Thanks for your inspiring emails.  Please keep in touch.  We love to hear from you, even if it just a line or two.


















We were thrilled to finally see 3 beautiful, unique
 toucans close up.

One of our colorful frog visitors.

Loud and curious, howler monkeys live up to their name and
reputation, especially at about 4:30 a.m. or announcing the rain.

The lush tropical rain forests are full of hidden treasures.

Bright colors punctuate the luxuriant green foliage.

Like a character from 'Star Wars' these comical looking sloths
spend all day eating leaves from their favorite trees for hours
on end.  They only move to find more leaves or for mating.


Belly full, this big 'pura vida' guy laid back for a nap in the sun. 
He was hanging around our cabin for almost a week.


Exquisitely carved and painted masks from tribes of Central
America, displayed in a shop in San Jose.

One of the many colonial buildings gracing the center
of San Jose.

A gazebo in a park downtown where concerts are often held.

An impromptu jam session.

Inside the ornate National Theater.

The Saturday Farmer's ferria.

Proof of just how close the ties are between the U.S.
and Costa Rica!

We even saw wild animals in San Jose parks.

Either an indigenous man passing through or ????

Our kind of van!

The indoor downtown market, near Central Market.  A few organic
vegetables but mostly sprayed, like their northern neighbors.  It is a
trust game in Costa Rica with lack of proper labeling.  Only the
Puerto Viejo market was filled with farmers truly committed to health.

Ever wonder where all your cheap bananas come from?  The coastal
region of Costa Rica has miles of plantations, which are cut dark green,
shipped in containers on barges, stored in cold warehouses, then sprayed
with chemicals when they want them to turn yellow.  All this for less
than what they cost here in the country of origin.

Magnificent beaches line the coast - this one is Punta Uva.

Lush forests cover the mountainsides in the many reserves set aside.
Thank God for parks and reserves on our planet or there would
be nothing left.

The hub of activity in any rural area is the local 'pulperia' selling
everything from fresh eggs to rubber boots to cooking supplies.

Intricately painted ox carts used to be seen everywhere but now
they are instead displayed for passerbys.

Deadly Flouride is in every container of salt for sale!!!  We stood drop
jawed when we realized what was happening in Central America. 
Everyone uses salt so everyone is forced to consume this insidious
chemical.  Opposition to fluoride in drinking water or dental
products has just been circumvented.  Of course first a public
education program about the benefits of fluoride sweeps the
country.  What's next?  Google fluoride to research what this
 is about.  Don't be one of the millions worldwide who just
 believe what they are told.  The future of our planet lies in
the hands of 'Free Thinkers'!  

A flower 'exhibit' from Mother Nature for you to enjoy. 
Every color, shape and smell entices the millions of
butterflies, hummingbirds and bees for miles.






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