12 Jan Fearless: Costa Rica Destination Boudoir Retreat
Arriving in Costa Rica after two years of pandemic was a surreal experience. From the deep wintry grip of Canadian February to a lush green paradise full of flowers and exotic animals and people who voluntarily wore masks without fussing – I kept staring out the window trying to make sense of it. I remember packing carefully, taking my time, but when it came time to unpack I saw the evidence of a Covid-stressed mind in my single t-shirt and missing video gear. A drunk monkey could have done a better job. It’s funny how not-okay you can be while thinking you’re doing just fine, until one day your head gets above water and you realise you have no idea how far out you’ve swum.
So before the retreat began I spent three days in paradise remembering how to breathe, the knot of tension I hadn’t known I was carrying slowly unclenching. Thankfully I do always build in those days of transition so that I can hit the ground running when the retreat begins, a habit learned the hard way in Italy when having to go on a rescue mission to fetch someone who had been sent to the wrong airport and then being inspired to a late-night rooftop photoshoot in Florence meant I didn’t kick jetlag for the entire two weeks I was in that country. Italy is a bit of a blur.
I think it was when I got out of the car at our first villa and saw the ocean far below, framed by jungle and sunset, that I let out the last stale breath of the isolation and anxiety that were 2020 and 2021. That breathtaking view brought several of us to tears as we realised that we had finally escaped to be ourselves again, and we spent the week having every adventure we could cram in; from upside-down ziplining through the trees to a surprise visit from a humpbacked whale momma and her fresh little (boat-sized) baby with his fin still floppy, to late-night pool parties punctuated by the eerie roar of howler monkeys and photoshoots in the rawness of untamed jungle. We ended with a sunset shoot on the beach, playing in the water and getting knocked around by waves, which was the perfect icing on the delicious cake that was our introduction to Costa Rica.
After the extremely up-close-and-personal jungle experience of the villa in the Dominical jungle, I was afraid that our swank villa in posh (for Costa Rica) Manuel Antonio for the second week would have to make up in nice restaurants what it lacked in marauding local wildlife, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Our tour of the villa was interrupted by a band of monkeys swinging and chattering their way through the trees beside the pool, and a pair of scarlet macaws called to each other as they flew overhead each morning and evening as they went to and from their daily errands. We filled our days with more luxurious pursuits, a private sunset cruise on a catamaran and chocolate tasting and photoshoots that were glamourous without quite as much clambering and mud.
I think we were all unusually primed for connection, because while these retreats always create beautiful friendships these bonds seemed especially swift and close. It felt like I blinked and they were besties. with in-jokes and future travel plans and an easy indulgence of each others’ foibles. While you’ll hear me say “My favourite part of the retreats is…” and then finish that sentence in a hundred different ways, I think my FAVOURITE favourite thing is those friendships. My Fearless women are always exceptional humans, the sort of people brave enough to come on these crazy adventures and open themselves to new experiences and growth, and they inspire me all the time. <3
I hope you enjoy these glimpses into our adventures!