Last time I told you about Costa Rica, a country that I find it hard to describe, but let me forever changed.
From Costa Rica, I went to Boston to visit for four days and stay at a friend’s home, Paulette. She is a great host, both sharing tasty food, being helpful, and having ideas for many fun activities.
First and foremost, she helped me buy a good camping/hiking backpack. I probably wouldn’t have had the patience to find the one with the right fit without her. Plus the store clerk was extremely helpful and patient too.
Actually, there was a really great second thing too. I now have business cards with my name and traveling fictioneer as my title/work. Plus my website address. Looks great and very simple to design and get.
Three activities from my four days stand out (beside the backpack shopping and business cards). We went out to dinner to meet up with a third friend, Cat. Both Cat and Paulette are people I got to know through a forum and it was great meeting Cat for the first time. (It was great meeting Paulette face to face for the first time my first day in Boston.)
After buying the backpack, it was suggested I go for a five mile hike (basically 8km) to test it out. So Paulette took me to a nearby wooded hill and we walked around there until we hit the five mile mark. Or technically we reached it will walking back from the hill.
Lastly on my last morning in Boston, Paulette and I went canoeing along part of a/the river running through Boston. We were not in the downtown area, instead much further out.
Basically I had a fun visit with a friend before going back to Sweden for about a week. Then my next adventure takes me to Italy. See you there!
Last time I told you about the longer than planned journey—or adventure if you will—to get to Costa Rica.
When anyone asks me how Costa Rica was, I never know how to answer. It isn’t because it was ambiguous or a lot of highs and lows. The country, or at least the part I visited, had a strong presence.
I spent the majority of my time in a place called Nosara on the Pacific coast. A place know for its many great yoga retreats, or so I have heard.
Costa Rica is magical. Nature feels extremely close. Heat, humidity, and thunderstorms since I was there during the rain season or possibly partly in the shoulder season going into the rainy season. The point is it rained, and it rained good on some days.
A lot of the houses and hotels looked very isolated because there were trees everywhere. It was like the houses tried to take some space from the jungle, but the jungle was winning.
Considering all the bugs and the howls of the howler monkeys, it was like entering a different world.
Everything felt elemental and close. Powerful in an awesome way.
The lightning was gorgeous.
And so where the sunsets.
Most of the time I spent there, I was in a retreat called Activate Courage, lead by Kate Marolt and Amy Clover. This meant I did daily yoga and bodyweight/bootcamp workouts, and a lot of soul searching, mindset exercises and emotional work.
It was transformational.
My last night in Costa Rica, which I spent in San Jose, I had dinner with one of the people that also went on the unplanned Panama visit I talked about last time. It was a great way to finish off my time there.
I wonder if there are more places where nature feels so close, like it is breathing down your neck, but in a good way.
Next time you’ll find me in Boston visiting a friend. See you then!
PS. The anthology Fiction River: No Humans Allowed edited by John Helfers got a review in Tangent Online. This is what they said about my story:
“The story is interesting and well written…” —Tangent Online
Last time I told you about my first day as a traveling fictioneer, and then a few days later I was finally to leave Sweden.
My first few flights were to take me from Stockholm, Sweden, to San Jose, Costa Rica, via Oslo, Norway, and Newark, USA.
My biggest worry was the tight connection in Oslo. With only 45 minutes between flights, any delay in my first leg could mess up my whole travel plans.
As it turns out I didn’t have to worry. My flight arrived in Oslo in plenty of time and I only had to move a short distance to my next gate.
Or so I thought.
The last 30 minutes of the Oslo-Newark leg was very bumpy and I started to feel nauseated.
I got to Newark. Go through immigration and customs because you always have to do that in the USA no matter if you will continue flying to another country. And then I saw the next flight will be at least 45 minutes delayed.
I shrugged. That was fine. This was my last leg. It could be however late it wanted to be as long as it wasn’t cancelled.
Tip for the unwary: don’t jinx yourself like that if you can avoid it.
It was raining buckets in Newark.
In Guatemala, there was a volcano eruption.
The reason for my plane’s delay was because the plane we would use hadn’t arrived yet. The volcano eruption might have had something to do with that.
The 45 minutes delay turned to over an hour before we were finally boarding.
Up into the rainy air we went.
After this everything seemed to go alright. I seem to remember a bit of bumpy air, but not much and not continuous.
Then the pilot said that we were about an hour from San Jose and the airport was closed due to broken runway lights. (Impossible to land in darkness without them.) We were to go into the holding pattern because the airport thought it could fix the lights in about 45 minutes.
Ten minutes go by and the pilot reported that now the airport was reporting a later opening time and we didn’t have enough fuel so we’d fly to Panama City, Panama, as the nearest big airport to refuel and hopefully fly back when San Jose airport opened.
By now it was getting to be quite late. It was around 21:00 (local Costa Rica time) and our scheduled landing time was 19:15, already two hours behind schedule. It would take another hour to fly to Panama.
So fly we did and landed in Panama around 23:00 local Panama time (new time zone). And the pilot reported again and basically said: the San Jose airport wasn’t sure when it would open and the current flight crew had to stop working in 30 minutes.
And here I thought Oslo would be the problem. Nope nope nope.
I am sure most of you can guess what happens next if you’ve been through or heard about something similar.
Long, long, long queues through customs because more than our plane couldn’t go to San Jose. Then a long, long, long wait for coupons for hotel and meals, and then transport to hotel.
And I happened to be at the back of the bus, so I was almost last in the check in line.
Around 2:40 in the morning was when I finally stepped into my hotel room for a couple of hours of sleep.
We left our checked baggage on the plane, so I only had my handbag which did not contain a change of clothes or anything useful like that. At least I had a toothbrush and toothpaste from my Oslo-Newark flight. (I flew SAS plus, kinda like economy plus.)
The good thing? The hotel was upscale. The bed soft, the shower awesome and the breakfast was delicious.
And I’ve technically checked off Panama as a place to visit. I have after all stepped foot on its soil and I have a stamp in my passport to prove it.
Now, you are thinking that this tale must be at its end. We all got back to the airport the next day, onto the plane and flew merrily to San Jose where I didn’t miss the domestic flight I was taking that day.
You’d be mostly right. In that way that all of the above happened, but another wrench was thrown in the works first which was the thing that finally made me lose my temper.
Because so far I had been pretty zen and I’d consoled calmness because being angry and such wouldn’t make the process faster.
It still wouldn’t, but I think it is fair to say that it isn’t the best idea to test the temper of a large group of people that only had about 2-3 hours of sleep (and many even less than that).
We went to the airport. We went through security. We went to our gate. Supposedly we’d fly at 10:45.
Everyone felt pretty merry. Those I spoke to had managed to make arrangements for anything that changed with getting to San Jose a day late.
Airport regulations or some sadistic person decided that we couldn’t board until each carry on had been hand searched by one of five people setting up at our gate.
Now, I don’t have a problem with this process. Not really.
Well, they could have done it when we went through security.
Or they could have set it up in such a time frame that we could still leave on time or they could have brought enough people that they could search everything before planned take off.
They did none of those things.
Instead they set up around 10:00 and planned to get through a full plane load of people—so what 150-200 people? I really don’t know—in less than 45 minutes?
This was a US airline, which means that most everyone tried to avoid paying for checking in baggage and therefore had big carry-ons full of stuff. (I guess those people had a change of cloths… how nice…)
It took about an hour and a half.
We finally were in the air at 11:50.
Someone I’d been talking to think this happened to us because of a tip although when asked airport personnel said this was normal procedure. If it was normal and happened to every flight, all things would have been set up in advance and they’d have the routines to prove it. Or more likely they’d do it at security, you know the place where they check your carry-ons.
Plus we already knew it didn’t happen to another flight that left from a nearby gate.
This thing irritated me a lot, especially since the more prudent thing to do would have been to search some random people, not everyone. But then if it was a tip, it really wasn’t specific enough and it wasn’t like any of us had planned to be in Panama so someone would have had to be pretty crafty to set up spontaneous smuggling (or whatever the tip was).
So yes, after being calm and collected the previous day (there really wasn’t anything to do but wait), I got angry about the extra search because it was so clumsily done.
Unnecessary inefficiency bugs me. Airports are generally pretty uneven about efficiency, but there is a dance to it that looks the same more or less everywhere. When they step out of that pattern, it really is on them to make sure it doesn’t delay a flight a whole hour so they could indulge sadism or a tip or whatever.
After this, things went as smoothly as expected. We landed in San Jose at about 11:50 (a one hour flight and time zone shift meant we landed at the same time we took off). Immigration in San Jose took about an hour, maybe slightly less. Then customs for five minutes. On I went to check into my domestic flight, quick through security and I had time for a meal.
So there is the whole story of my first few flights since becoming a traveling fictioneer. The most trouble I’ve ever had.
Next time, I’ll tell you more about my visit in Costa Rica. See you then!
PS. Glad nationaldag, Sverige! Happy independence day, Sweden! (This blog post was posted on June 6, 2017.)
Last time I told you why I am now calling myself a traveling fictioneer.
The house was sold, the adventure could begin but first there was more tasks to do. It is a little hard to sell a house and fly out of the country on the same or the next day.
I didn’t even try.
Instead my first day was spent in my childhood home and I knew the best way to start all this on the right foot (paraphrased Swedish saying):
A nice walk around the lake Judarn in a nature preserve close to my childhood home.
I’ve always thought of that lake and its surroundings as magical. Beautiful nature with a very nice trail around it.
I don’t know that there is much to say about it, instead I suggest you enjoy the photos I took with my phone.
Next you’ll find me… well, not quite where I expected. Until next time!
On May 2, 2017, I sold my home and became voluntarily homeless. The idea came to me In fall 2016 when I realized I could become a nomad and see the world. It took me about seven months to make it happen.
This might seem like a strange thing to want. Aren’t you a writer? Yes, so I can work from anywhere. Wouldn’t it be easier to stay in one place? Depends, plus an easy life doesn’t necessarily mean a fulfilled life if you ask me.
The main reason is that there are too many places I want to visit and spend a lot of time in. I want to truly explore them and see everything. But that would be expensive and convoluted if I still had a home back in Sweden. I want to spend months in places and why not spend half a year (or more!) in a region before moving on? That would mean less air travel, which I’m beginning to recognize isn’t a way I enjoy to travel anyway. (Trains on the other hand, those I like.)
This blogging series will be me posting about my travels, mainly for friends and family so they can follow along. Perhaps also as a record of travel for myself and who knows, maybe it’ll turn into a book? ^_~
But this post especially is for anyone who comes here and who is wondering what the heck is going on. Welcome!
During the months I was prepping to sell my home, I realized I wanted a moniker for my travels, because who doesn’t?
The traveling part is pretty obvious although I will be doing slow travel (aka not going from place to place to place, staying one night here and three nights there; I’ll be staying weeks here and months there).
Fictioneer is a term I saw a writing mentor use; I’ve since looked up the definition and I’m not in love. So I decided to somewhat change the definition. Mine is:
Fictioneer: A lover of fiction who engages with it in at least one way (writing, editing, reading, reviewing, etc.).
As for me? I am a writer, editor (since December last year, I need to update all of you wonderful people about this! If you want to check it out already, search for Fiction River: Last Stand at any online retailer who sells books (it is an anthology I co-edited)), and reader of fiction. I love all three activities.
There are plans in the making to both get more writing and editing done! (I’ll update when I have more concrete news!)
Below are some of my favorite pictures from recent travels (aka the last few years). Those travels are a big reason for why I want to do more of it.
Next up I’ll talk about what I did the day after selling my home. See you there!
PS. An anthology with a story from me was recently released, Fiction River: No Humans Allowed edited by John Helfers. My story “The Game of Time” is from the perspective of a book and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Also look for my story “The Blood is on the Wall” coming out at the end of June in Fiction River: Editor’s Choice edited by Mark Leslie.