Costa Rica Musings

Bringing La Pura Vida Home: A New Year's Resolution

Dec 31

sunsetI’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, I’m not sure I ever have. At the end of the year I prefer to reflect and give thanks for everything I’ve experienced, and I might make a mental list of goals I’d like to accomplish the following year- which generally just consists of a list of countries I want to visit or other travel related things. But after my recent trip to Costa Rica, I was inspired make a resolution this year: to incorporate La Pura Vida into my everyday life.

In Costa Rica, Pura Vida is more than just a phrase- it’s a lifestyle. The literal translation is ‘Pure Life’, but it is used in a wide variety of ways and can mean many things. It’s a greeting, a salutation; it’s a response when someone asks “how are you?“; it’s a positive expression; it’s a way to say “this is life!” or “enjoy life!”- it’s all of those things and more.

samara10I haven’t spent an extended period of time in Costa Rica, and I know there is a much deeper and more profound meaning behind the phrase that I may not yet completely understand, but I know one thing for sure- the Pura Vida attitude is contagious.

It’s not hard to be completely happy and grateful when you’re in a country as beautiful as Costa Rica. The lush green rainforests, the laid back beaches, the vibrant wildlife, and the flavourful cuisine are only a few reasons this country is a special place. But the people, and their outlook on life, is what I found to be most prominent when I visited.

When I visited Samara, it was apparent that the locals completely embody the Pura Vida lifestyle, living simply but abundantly, with a happy and positive attitude towards life- regardless of their circumstances. They appreciate the natural beauty their country is blessed with and they work to sustain and protect it. They are relaxed, laid back, and they live in the moment.

costarica5All of these attributes made me fall in love with the Pura Vida way of life and everything it represents, so I’ve decided to incorporate it into my everyday life- when I’m traveling and especially when I’m not.

The daily practice of gratitude and mindfulness have both been huge positive influences on my outlook, my attitude, and and my life in general, and I feel like they are both beautifully intertwined into the Pura Vida lifestyle.

So along with practicing gratitude and mindfulness, I will also strive to remember that I am living the good life everyday- regardless of the stresses and trivial worries that seem to inundate my life at times. I will remember to take everything with a grain of salt, and to have a more relaxed attitude. I will try to recognize that, even though I’m not living at a beachfront paradise 365 days a year, I am truly lucky for the life I have been given and the freedom that comes with it. I will keep a positive perspective and remember to live in the moment- instead of longing for the past or wondering about the future. Most of all, I will take more time to appreciate and enjoy every moment of this life of mine, no matter how big or small.

costaOn this last day of 2014, I choose to take the Pura Vida motto with me into the new year- not only as a resolution for 2015- but as a permanent component of my life from now on.

Happy New Year!

Do you ever make New Year’s Resolutions? What are your resolutions for 2015?


  • Reply Jessica Dec 31 at 12:04 pm

    What a great resolution! It is so important to have gratitude in your life. I sometimes get caught up in planning and preparing for my next trip, but it’s always good to remind yourself to remain present and in the moment. Happy New Year!

    • Reply ashleywanders Dec 31 at 3:28 pm

      Thanks, Jessica! I definitely get caught up in the trip planning process as well! I have to remind myself to be in the moment quite often, but I’m hoping it will eventually just become second nature! Happy New Year 🙂

  • Reply Colleen Brynn Dec 31 at 1:35 pm

    I still haven’t made it to Central America, but I’m hoping 2015 will change that!
    I don’t make resolutions either – I find them too restrictive!!

    • Reply ashleywanders Dec 31 at 3:36 pm

      I hope you have the chance to visit next year! I’ve only been to Costa Rica, so I definitely want to explore more of Central America in 2015 as well!

  • Reply Turquoise Compass Jan 01 at 12:42 am

    I have so many ideas!

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