I found my paradise at Finca Amrta. From the moment we were welcomed with hugs and kisses by every person on the premise and I saw entire rows of kale growing, I knew I would like it there.
We didn’t plan on going to Finca Amrta, which isn’t saying much because I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow or the next day or for Thanksgiving or Christmas. But perhaps it feels especially monumental to have found Amrta because it feels like home to me. The first day I wrote: “Finca Amrta gives me Decorah and Bird House vibes. There is delicious food, great people, singing, laughing, playing in the dirt, and swimming in the river. I think we will stay here as long as we can.” And we did.
Finca Amrta is owned by Suzanna and Miguel, who are wise and fun and showered us with love. They make everyone who steps foot on the farm feel welcomed and loved. One of my favorite parts of living at Finca Amrta was intergenerational hanging out. Suzanna and Miguel in their 60’s with volunteers in their 40’s, 30’s, and 20’s. We laughed and chatted together, all learning from each others’ experiences and enjoying each others’ company. Another favorite part was, obviously, singing. Every Friday afternoon is a jam sesh at Finca Amrta with Suzanna’s buddies. Given that the median age of the group is 60, there were a lot of songs I didn’t know, but I still had fun singing along and learning to play the ukelele. One final favorite part at the farm was cooking food together. All the volunteers ate dinners together every night, and sometimes Suzanna and Miguel would join us for what we called “feasts”. There were lots of great cooks and creative use of ingredients (none of us native to tropical regions, and no Google for a quick search). We ate amazing chili, soups, smoothies, baked goods, fresh greens, and more. One memorable Saturday we baked pizza and breads in the outdoor cobb oven. All in all, we ate like kings and queens, and I feel healthier and happier for it.
Our days at the farm settled into a comfortable routine very quickly. Rise at 6 AM, breakfast and coffee. Work from 7 AM to noon, with breaks for juice or a jump in the river. Pick greens for lunch. Expect rain every afternoon, go for a good book, a bit of yoga, or a long nap. Around 4 PM, start a fire and prepare dinner. Spend the evening eating and enjoying each other’s company and struggling to keep our eyes open until at least 9 PM. Read, journal, and fall asleep in our beds on the porch, surrounded by bug netting and looking out at the stars. (Did I say I found my paradise???)
We are just over a month in to our trip. It paradoxically feels like I have been away from home forever and that time has flown by. Our trip has been so full of new experiences, both joys and struggles. Riding buses throughout the country Willie had to ban me from pointing out beautiful views because every 3 minutes I’m gaping out the window at sights that make me want to cry at the beauty. At Finca Amrta, I would become overwhelmed with gratitude at this opportunity for travel and learning and meeting incredible people.
And then every once in a while I am really home sick, I just want to hug my dad and chat with my mom and have clean feet and wear a nice dress. I wonder if other people miss me as much as I miss them. I am comfortable with routine and being grounded in a place, and so I feel flighty and absent some days.
But despite the ups and downs of being a full-time traveller right now, there is so much good and so much to learn from it, which I must remind myself constantly. I love living out of a backpack; the simplicity of having everything I need in one place. I love learning to live in the present; as I’ve found plans have a way of working out, and people are kind and helpful.
I wear a bracelet on my wrist from Story People that says “deciding everything is falling in to place perfectly as long as you don’t get too picky about what you mean by place. or perfectly.” This is exactly the reminder I need: appreciate where I am and don’t worry too much about the future.
Today we fly from San Jose to Panama City to Quito. So begins our month in Quito, Ecuador. Based on suggestions from friends from home and fellow travelers, I am beyond excited to travel in Ecuador. Looking forward to hiking, exploring new cities, finding new farms, and whatever else comes our way!