The sun’s warmth enveloped me as I sank into the water. It was the kind of day that makes beads of salty sweat drip down your face and your whole body bake in the midday air. The water was just the right temperature, the kind where you can’t tell if it’s warm or cool. I melted at its touch.
The gentle drip of water falling nearby filled my ears. I heard laughter from every angle, every corner of the spa. The smell of sunscreen permeated the space, but in a good way. It was the smell of lazy summer afternoons, of watching fireflies light up the air and grilling out on the porch with your family as the sun sets.
Every time my fingers trail over the thin veil that separates water from air, I am home.
I grew up on an island in the Pacific Ocean called Kwajalein. Nestled between Hawaii and Australia, my little piece of paradise will always be home. Costa Rica reminded me of Kwajalein in more ways than one—the kindness of the people, the laid-back attitude and the heat, to name a few—but the moment that made me feel the most at home was that first dip into the water.
The journey thus far had been fast. After merely one full day in the bustling city of San Jose, we hopped in a shuttle for the relatively short and smooth drive to Arenal. Sitting at the base of the Arenal volcano, the area has many opportunities for those who love adventure and those who would rather relax. I usually find myself in the latter category.
Traveling is always fleeting. My entire life, I have flown from place to place. I’ve seen 10,000 sheep run in unison across the mountains of New Zealand and kangaroos hop through the outback of Australia. I’ve sat on the beaches of Hawaii as the sun set over the horizon in brilliant shades of tangerine and scarlet. I’ve seen the stars from countless angles. Each new place I go, I realize the importance of stopping and taking in the world around you, even if only for a few minutes. That is what our day at the hot springs did for me.