When I received an invite to attend the ROAR conference taking place in Costa Rica, I accepted instantly without even thinking about it. The first ever conference being held by my good friends Andrea and Nadia was something I just didn’t want to pass up and I knew they would be incredible! The five days turned out to be pretty magical for me; really, they were, and I will get into how so later in this post. Actually, the one thing that I didn’t realize I would struggle with was leaving my kids for so long, because five days would have been the longest I have been away from them ever. The days leading up to the ROAR conference was jammed with school activities, curriculum night, and of course trying to pack my entire summer wardrobe into a carry-on so I didn’t think much about it until I was leaving my house that morning so early they weren’t even wake yet.
Everything was planned and setup for the kids. My mom and my sister picked them up late Wednesday, and took them back to their house, since school was out on Thursday and Friday. Jason was in town, but working, so he picked up them over the weekend. It was definitely easier that they didn’t need to go to school while I was away, but I struggled with the idea that I could not enjoy the time off with them. Whenever the opportunity arose, I face timed them, usually twice a day, and in the beginning, I wanted to cry at thought of having left them for so long.
My second day in Costa Rica, Jason had some words of wisdom that resonated for the remainder of the trip- the kids are having a blast, so enjoy yourself because before you know it, it will Monday morning, and you will be back home, hurled into the same morning madness. So it took me those two days to finally stop feeling guilty. I think this mommy guilt is something we all encounter, but I feel like I learned so much about myself as a result of this trip, and that it may have made me a better mother. Like I said, magical, right?
Now, lets talk about the actual trip. We stayed at the Westin Golf Resort & Spa Playa Conchal. The grounds were spectacular but I appreciated the true charm of this place even more when we left property, and experienced all of the untouched beauty Costa Rica exudes. The moment when I finally let go and enjoyed myself was when our intimate group of 30 hopped on board a chartered Catamaran for a 4 hour excursion. Many conversations had on board are some that I will hold close to my heart and for time to come.
While we are all somewhat connected in what we do, the discussions about our businesses and our goals were fascinating and interesting to hear from fresh perspectives . But then there were the family talks- how many kids do you have, in which activities do your kids participate, and what types of challenges they are dealing with, some similar to what I am going through with Ryder.
One conversation in particular that comes to mind was with Aimee Giese about photography, which actually resulted in me shooting in manual mode for the first time ever. Another conversation with Emily Meyer from Tea Collection who spoke to us about finding our North Star – your dream, your path. Another with Lavinia Spalding, who’s new book “Writing Away” (which I read in a day) chatting with me all about travel writing and so many useful tips. Conversations that happened in conference sessions, during meals or just during some down time, all kept my creative juices flowing. And to top it all off, my roomie Nina Helleny was beyond fabulous, and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. We were so on the same page from the moment we arrived, and our friendship has flourished even more, and I am truly grateful to have got to know her better.
Indeed, this trip made me learn a lot about myself. It made me focus on the person and blogger I am and want to be. I have certainly re-evaluated and maybe shifted some of my goals, all for the better!
Wanderlust continues: paddling boarding, jumping off a catamaran, and snorkeling.
Photos by Melissa Angert during our snorkeling excursion:
Shopping in Tamarindo
The Club at Mar Vista
Our last night, we ventured out about 25 minutes from the hotel to Las Catalinas, to experience some black sand beaches, and dine at a casual local hang out. Las Catalinas is a place for connecting with nature, it is a place to escape to for connecting with love ones, and it is a place to re-connect with yourself and your own aspirations. This little beach town is growing into a lively destination where you can rent or buy beautiful condos and houses along the beach. They also have plans for adding a Montessori school in the next few years as well.
Just walking around this pure place brought me such a warm feeling, I don’t know why I was so emotional about it. Maybe the idea of people coming to live a laid back lifestyle, the polar opposite of mine at home, must have struck a cord in me. Maybe this is something I would want with my kids someday.
Co-founder of ROAR Andrea is living in Costa Rica with her family, and it amazes me that you can live full time in such paradise. I don’t know if we would ever have the guts to make the move, but one thing I did take home with me is that you just need to take the risks, something that we all tend to forget after having kids, because the fears and reservations tend to set in.
I came home feeling recharged and ready for what’s next. ROAR was a retreat that fed my soul, mind and body. I think I came home a better mom and wife because of it. The wisdom gained at this special place called Costa Rica is something that I will never forget. Thank you to the ladies of roar for helping me find myself again. And the many friendships that were made!
Pura Vida ~ xx