Many travelers agree that, although the experience can be intensely pleasurable at the time, it is often the recollection of a particular moment or incident that later provides coherence and meaning to the trip. In the past year, we have assembled a stockpile of such significant memories.
Gazing at Lake Nicaragua
My hot tub was set into the deck of my cottage, next to a metal woodburning stove with a large conical hood. A pile of logs was neatly stacked nearby. The stove provided a focal point, as well as a source of warmth on evenings when the air in the mountains of Costa Rica turned surprisingly cool. It also provided a constant supply of hot water. If the temperature of the water fell, throwing another log onto the fire soon did the trick. Thanks to an underwater light, the tub glowed an unearthly green in the darkness of the surrounding rainforest. I liked to listen to the rustles and squawks of the nocturnal animals. Tapirs, ocelots and jaguars inhabited the nearby slopes, but of course I never saw any of them; it was enough to know they were there. It was lazy sunlit afternoons, however, that afforded me the greatest pleasure. I would sit up to my neck in warm water, savoring the fragrant wood smoke, as dozens of raucous green parrots crashed about in the nearby trees. Over a line of crimson calla lilies, I could see down a steep slope that descended to a wide expanse of forested plain. And far in the distance, 25 miles away at least, a line of shining silver revealed the southern shore of Lake Nicaragua.