Exploring the jungle ... exotic! Soaking in hot springs ... relaxing! Fresh fruits and fish ... delicious! But when I reflect on the two weeks we recently spent vacationing in Costa Rica, what most stands out is how it gave me the opportunity to step back from life, see the bigger picture and gain some perspective. It’s so easy to get caught in the daily grind. It can feel like running on a treadmill. You’re exerting a ton of effort but it doesn’t really feel like you’re going anywhere. To do lists, household chores and an incessant flow of e-mails seem to steamroll over clarity of thought and quietness of being. It’s deflating. And habitual, played out day after day. Spending time in Costa Rica helped to shake this all up. Daily demands melted into a memory as I stared with awe at a howler monkey and two toed sloth dangling in the jungle canopy. My priorities straightened out as I spent day in and day out with my husband, daughter, mom and dad. My pace slowed as I spent the morning riding waves on a boogie board and the afternoon playing cards on the veranda of our cabin. Costa Rica has been a long time in the making. My husband and I have been talking about a trip there for four years and we’ve had the specific dates on our calendar for more than a year. But it doesn’t always take such an exotic adventure to hit the reset button. Sometimes just a simple walk in the woods with chocolate can do the trick. Or, returning home to our childhood roots. Or, establishing a technology-free zone. Or, pausing long enough to notice the little details around us. Or, clearing the schedule and heading out of town for a last-minute weekend getaway. As John Burroughs, 19th century essayist and conservationist, so succinctly put it: “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” Now, I return to Garage Grown Gear and Jackson Hole Packraft & Packraft Rentals Anywhere refreshed and with renewed faith. I have set clear benchmarks for myself and created a scoreboard to track progress, so that I can easily see that I’m making headway even when the whirlwind gets fierce. I feel less pressure to make it all happen, and at the same time doors seem to be opening with great ease. A toast ... to working hard AND taking time to play. Just for fun ... here are a few more of our favorite images from Costa Rica.