Turning Tables: Our Adult Children Expanding Our Travel Horizons

I am firm believer that one of the best gifts we can give our children are "adventurous experiences". These moments give our chidren the opportunity to expand beyond the boundary of ordinary day to day living and to receive insight and perspective about others, appreciation of nature and the larger world.

Ten years ago the tables turned when my wife Claire and I experienced the fruits of our parenting style. Our son Alec accepted a job managing a non-profit sea turtle organization on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.....an out of the box job which led to his parents having an out of the box experience.

Flying into San Jose Airport, we looked down upon the red tin rooved homes and small coffee farms, a true Hodge podge of development that sprawled out of the land basin and crept up the sides of the surrounding mountains. We landed on the sole runway and entered an unassuming aiport occupied by tourists and locals, the real clue that we were in a different land that moved at a different pace.

We were greated by our son, his dog and a coworker in a rented sedan and took to the road. Our destination: Punta Banco, a very small tropical village of around 100 Ticos and Ticas tucked on a flat space between lush tropical rain forest and the Pacific Ocean. This would be the last village on the Pacific side of the county, literally the end of the road.

The journey through the country awakened my senses. I was awestruck by the grand vistas that stretched up into canyons and across a series of volcanic mountains. The natural beauty of native palms and flowers surrounding rustic wooden homes, with chickens and children playing in the yard, and the occassional road sign advertising the family's various goods for sale. It was simple, pure beatufy, pure life, where the divide between nature and people was non-existent.

We felt appreciate of our son, his adventurouus spirit and enthusiasm in welcoming us to the land he now called home, Costa Rica.

The clean, fresh air was invgiorating and a true invitation to breathe more deepy. We traveled up the mountainous road to an elevation of about 11,000 feet, and then descended down into the Central Valley, an agricultural zone, heavily populated with sprawling pineapple farms. Alec knew it was the perfect place to stop and we did, at a local restaurant, for our first experience with "Naturales", a fruit drink made with an arry of fruit blended with ice, water or milk. My favorite, Mora, was made out of blackberries.

We abandoned our American mindset, "get to the destination", and found lodging in the port town of Golfito. It was an ideal setting to rest and absorb our day's adventure. The next morningClaire and I awoke to the warm sun on our face and the sounds of a squirrel monkey tribe outside our window. In that moment of serenity, we experienced the soulfulness of Costa Rica. This time is was our son that guided us and brought us back home.

Written by Tim Hutchinson, who visits Costa Rica so often, it has become his second home.

Dr. Suzanne Nixon