An important part of any writer’s life is refilling the creative well. Whether it’s diving into research, exploring a new hobby or binge watching a favorite show, we all have ways to recharge and keep those creative juices flowing. My favorite way to ignite my imagination is to travel. There is just something about being in a new place, full of new experiences that inspires me long after I have returned home.
Last year we took a family trip to Costa Rica, and it energized me in many ways. My current series is set in the tropics–otherworldly tropics since I write fantasy—and every humid lungful helped keep it real!
I was also enchanted by the culture and spirit of Costa Rica. Everyone was so friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable. From the hotel staff pointing out their resident baby armadillos to a nature guide who kept up his enthusiasm in a torrential downpour, everywhere we went people embodied pura vida. Pura vida means “the pure life” and is kind of a motto for enjoying life with an open heart.
We stayed at the Tirimbina Biological Reserve for part of our trip which has an amazing blend of hospitality and natural beauty—ecotourism at it’s finest! My favorite part of Tirimbina was the cocao tour that walked us through the history and process of cocao production. I got to see–and taste–cocao from the bloom on the tree to the final traditional drink—sweetened for our modern palate so it wasn’t true xocoatl. I even took a turn grinding the roasted beans by hand.
Costa Rica is rich with life—it has one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity on the planet—and it shows. The nature guides were very generous with their time and expertise and made sure we noticed the little things—colorful grasshoppers smaller than a penny, a sleeping nighthawk blending in with a branch. Even wandering on my own, I spotted monkeys, macaws and so much more. You can bet some of those animals will find their way into my books!
It was a week of adventure and unexpected opportunities. This waterfall was a roadside attraction, and not our destination that day. But the driver was happy to impulsively stop, snap my picture and cheer, “Pura vida!”
I can’t wait to go back, but in the mean time I try to put a little pura vida into my busy life, and enjoy each day as a gift. What do you do to recharge or nourish your spirit?
Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.
When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.
Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, is set for a June 2018 release.