Saturday, November 04, 2006


It took 11 months to get to Costa Rica. But I slept most of the way.

It was snowing in Youngstown, OH at five yesterday morning. Then the sun came up in the Pittsburgh airport, I bought eggs in Atlanta´s international terminal, and withdrew Colones from the ATM near the San Jose baggage claim. I was in Costa Rica and for the first time since I left Argentina 11 months ago it really felt like I was traveling.

The twinges of excitement and fear on a cab ride from the airport to the bus station. The confusion over what ticket to buy and where to board the bus. The purchase of a lunch you can´t name even after you eat it. This is what travel feels like and you feel it much more when you haven´t done it in a long while and it used to be all you did.

When I went to a Berlin hostel this summer it felt like visiting the empty halls of your old high school. It all looked familiar but somehow I knew I didn´t quite fit in anymore. But now the halls are full and I took the bus from San Jose to Puerto Viejo, arriving 17 hours after I drove my rental car through the Ohio snow.

Rockin J´s might be one of the best backpacker pads in all the world. Or maybe I just forgot how great they can be. There were no dorm beds available when I arrived so I settled for hammock #44 just off the beach. There was a bon fire and a ping pong table, one dollar drinks and Mexican food. There were lots of high backpackers.

When I was in Berlin this summer I met up with Jens, my first real travel friend back in Sydney almost two years ago. He´s been home for a while now too. ¨I feel myself changing back,¨ he said. ¨I can´t explain how but I know it´s happening.¨

I knew what he meant. You can´t fight the changes when you come back any more than you can fight them when you go. Because they feel right and natural and you fit in better when you change. So it´s felt easy and fine to plot my next career move these last months. Easy to count the dollars I might make by selling the movie and imagine the things that might be available to me once it airs.

But how foolish all that seems from here now. In Puerto Viejo the hammocks are $5 a night and the bikes are $5 a day.

I flew to New York after a year of traveling and home swallowed me back up within a year. Then I came traveling again and it only took a day to be reclaimed.