Sometimes I don’t know how I got so lucky to be where I am in life. If you had told me even 4 years ago this is where I would be, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I wanted to share a blog about my most recent life decision because it was a huge leap for me. I have been pretty conservative my whole life, following my goals, working towards my career, and being responsible, and there is nothing wrong with that. But 2 and a half years ago, I met my now husband, and everything changed. All of a sudden, my whole world had a different light, with different options. Here is my story.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a nurse. I was in honours classes in high school, on the honour roll, a good, driven student. I did all my background work to ensure a spot in the nursing program. I was in Girls Guides of Canada till I was in grade 12, I volunteered, I worked two jobs, was in the school band in choir. I guess that could probably qualify me as a nerd. Anyways, long story short as soon as highschool was over, off to university I went to get my Nursing Degree. 6 years later, with one slight hiccup, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and started to work full time. I had done it! I achieved my goal of becoming an ER nurse.
In February of 2014, the Run Like a Girl team headed down to Costa Rica and ran the Coastal Challenge 6 day race. We figured something so huge would change our lives, but when we boarded our flight down, we really couldn’t have possibly known the impact this race would eventually have on all of our lives. Immediately I felt a connection to Costa Rica. The language, the people, the culture, the food, mother nature. Everything felt so good. I felt really comfortable and almost at home there. We completed the race and over the course of the 6 days, I connected with my now husband, who worked for the race.
After meeting him, I returned to Costa Rica 3 more times over a few months and completely fell in love with the country. He took me to Chakra Lodge, his eco-lodge in the mountains, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. After spending a weekend trail running, tree climbing, rock rappelling and immersing myself completely in nature, the idea of the Run Like a Girl Adventure and Wellness Retreats were born. I remember driving down the mountain back towards home and long distance calling Courtney. She was literally minutes from starting her yoga class, but I told her, she had to wait, I had something huge to tell her. I told her everything and to call Dayna as soon as we were off the phone. Obviously, we were all on board. Within a few days, our retreats were on our website, and within 2 weeks, our first was actually sold out. We couldn’t believe it.
Just a side note, a huge thank you to these amazing people who took a leap and joined us on our first ever retreat!
I actually stopped my ER specialty training course half way through so I could go to the first retreat, I wasn’t going to miss this for the world. And it was incredible. It was everything we had dreamed of and more. It was a powerful, life changing, up lifting, intense and beautiful experience. It left us speechless and hungry for more. We felt that we had to offer everyone the chance to come to our slice of paradise, to disconnect from the crazy world for just a week. Shortly after our first retreat was complete, our second one sold out. The three of us went to this one and we made an amazing video with the help of our friend. Again, the retreat was incredible. Everyone had an awesome time, and we were left completely speechless yet again. So we opened more dates. Up until this point, to go the retreats, I have had to use my vacation time as well as trade shifts, which meant working up to 6 12 hour shifts in a row sometimes.
In the two years since we started these retreats we have done 6 total. 2 in our first year of operation, and 4 in our second. After selling out 2 fall, and 2 spring dates nearly a year in advance, we opened two additional winter dates. I knew that if these two dates sold, I would be quitting my permanent position as an ER nurse. I was so nervous, but we put the dates up. And they sold. I have always had a full time job. I have never known anything different. But life works in incredible and mysterious ways.
Although I am a nurse by trade, I am far more passionate about these retreats than anything else on the entire planet. Although helping patients is rewarding and fulfilling, I feel that my true calling is inspiring, motivating and connecting with other people. I feel a constant draw to mother nature and I thrive when I am outside. These retreats have given me an incredible opportunity in so many ways. I have been able to show people intense, immense beauty that lies in Costa Rica. I have been able to remove people from their everyday lives, disconnect them for a week and watch them immerse completely into nature.
I have seen connections made, relationships started, personal growth like you wouldn’t believe. I have watched people over come challenges, showed themselves how strong they really are. I have completely let go with friends who were mere strangers only days before. I have gotten raw, in deep, healing conversations. I have sang my heart out by candle light holding hands. I have hugged, cried, laugh, smiled, relaxed more whole heartedly during my time at Chakra Lodge than I ever have in my entire life. I have fallen more in love with my husband. I have connected and bonded deeper with Courtney and Dayna. I have shared incredible experiences with my brother. I reconnected with my best friend from high school and watched her come out of her shell and grow so much.
So yes, I am a little terrified about not having a permanent position at work anymore. I am scared to leave my home and country for the longest amount of time I’ve ever been gone for. I am nervous to live in a totally different country and world. But you know what, I am more excited about sharing 6 more retreats with 72 new friends, learning Spanish fluently, truly living the pura vida life style and giving Run Like a Girl all my energy and attention. I am also excited to see how much I grow as a person. Sometimes you need to just be radical and shake things up completely. Not everyone has opportunities like this, and I am so grateful that I have been given this chance. I open my heart completely to the possibilities that lie ahead.
I could go on and on about this, but I won’t. I only hope that if you feel any desire in your heart, you take that leap, and fly.