Travelling the world brings with it a lot of challenges, and surprises!
Especially when so many people have got really good at filtering photos and knowing how to show only “their best side”.
When people see a photo like this, what they see is paradise.
What they don’t see is the sandflies which leave your legs looking like a margarita pizza because you are ‘fresh meat’ to feast upon.
What they also don’t see is the amount of hours spent on Booking.com, Airbnb, the hours checking transportation, and the extended hours travelling.
Take my journey yesterday.
Up at 5am to catch the first bus, which took me through the local areas of Costa Rica – the areas the Costa Rican government doesn’t want you to see.
Then onto another bus, navigating broken roads, landslides and a road which had split over night due to the heavy rainfall…
Which saw the local community out in full force repairing the road themselves and having a great time laughing and solving the problem together.
After a 3 hour wait for the next bus, it was a “7 hour” bus ride north – and this is “Tico Time” so read “10 hours”.
Yes, I could have flown from the south and been here in about an hour, but then I would have missed
- Beautiful scenery on the way north
- Connections made with locals
- Hair raising twists and turns in more heavy rainfall as we passed through the mountains
- Local music playing on the radio
- A view of the real Costa Rica the government doesn’t want tourists to see
And I can see why the government wouldn’t want visitors to see the ‘real Costa Rica’.
The local Ticos are being displaced by all the Gringos who are looking to get more beach side property for their money,
Homes and schools look more like dilapidated garden sheds than homes, all guarded with metal fences and barbed wired…
A mindset and fear based legacy left over from the Contra war back in the eighties, which many people think only impacted Nicaragua.
Costa Rica saw a lot of violence, and trafficking, and still to this day there is a lot of drug and human trafficking going on here. It is Central America afterall, the ‘pick n mix pantry’ for the American Government to do with as they please.
The talk of ‘Pura Vida’ and the way this phrase is thrown around like confetti by the Gringos – and the Ticos who have benefited greatly from the tourism and drug cartels – belies a reality that shows the very best of community – and the very worst of corrupt governments.
The Gringos who arrive with their US dollars, set up home and create communities with other Gringos are a fascinating bunch, and remind me of Chinese and South Asian communities the world over.
They leave their homelands to create a new life in a new country away from the problems of home – only to create a new copy paste version of it with others from their homeland. “Same meat, different gravy” as a friend of mine says.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the Gringos integrate, make friends with the Ticos, even marry and have children with them, becoming part of the community rather than implanting a new one on top of what is already there.
Over the years what I have seen with regards to migration and resettling reminds me a lot of the slave trading days of old – just without the violence. The whites arrives, set up shop and only hire the locals, because “they need the work” – and they would be right, the locals do need the work.
Should the new arrival hire only other immigrants like themselves, then they are excluding the locals and creating division within the community where locals and immigrants don’t mix – or at least that becomes the perceived narrative.
A narrative can be changed, but the narrative will remain deeply embedded in the psyche depending on the length of time it has been curated and held for.
Being brave enough to challenge a narrative and call out those who perpetrate it, especially when it can make your life very uncomfortable, takes a lot of courage and resilience.
Hence why many people stay quiet, don’t rock the boat or don’t get involved.
In the location I have just left, one woman did her subtle best to make me feel excluded and unwanted. I was a shiny new object in ‘her town’ and my conversations with one or two of the locals were uncomfortable for her.
Try all she might to exclude me, one thing she didn’t realise is that I am already ‘excluded’ simply by the lifestyle I lead, one of always being on the move to research the books in The Mermaid’s Guide Series.
I’m always on the outside looking in, always on the move and the ‘nice shiny object’, ‘breathe of fresh air’ or ‘confronting whirlwind’ which wakes people from the slumber of the day to day tranquil ‘pura vida life’ the Gringos have chosen to create for themselves.
What is really interesting for me is the depth and level of conversations I have always attracts the men and repels the women, and as you will see when The Mermaid’s Guide to Women eventually comes out, there is a lot for us women to heal within ourselves and each other.
The (unfiltered) photos I take may showcase a dream lifestyle of beautiful locations, and they are the thing that attracts a lot of people, but just like my red hair attracts attention here in Latin America, it is the ones who stay for the dance in conversation that interest me.
Just like the prospective clients and co-authors of the books I work on.
Truth shines through in the actions and commitment to the bigger picture – I’m all about building communities of impact, of impacting the world on a deep level.
Being an author for me isnt about just gaining the title of author, or adding another title to a collection of books already written, its about creating global change.
The wannabe authors, the ones who pay the money, write the chapter (or have someone write it for them) and then only show up for the promo interviews others are hosting without stepping up to promote the others on the team, or the cause at the heart of the project, soon fall away.
Because it shows me a level of ego and self-centredness that quite frankly repels me, and helps me see people for who they are. Lots of lovely words espoused and dressed as grand and pure intentions, but a lack of commitment, ability or capacity for community and teamwork, or a real desire to create real change.
Just like the Gringos who arrive for a picture perfect life in a tropical paradise but don’t integrate and get involved with making great change in and for the existing local community by investing in schools and hospitals, ocean and beach clean ups, improving roads and the various eco-systems.
Again, same meat different gravy.
Now The Potent Power of Menopause: A Culturally Diverse Perspective on Feminine Transformation is about to launch and the next four communities for my up and coming anthologies are starting to take shape, I am making sure those selected to join the team are the right people.
You could be one of the right people if you resonate with any of the above and you have a story your would like to share in the realms of:
- Women’s breast health
- Fertility and being childless
- The impacts of date rape drugs
- What it takes to be a man in today’s world
All of which have to be culturally diverse and powerful for them to fit in with the bigger vision.
So, if you are ready to invest money, time and effort – on top of everything you are currently doing – we are all busy afterall- then send me a message to see if you are a fit for the project and the community.
Together we can change the world, and as many of you will have already seen with the various books I publish, the book may be the initial focus, but it is the transformation which goes on within the writing process, the building of communities, the leadership skills developed even further, the educational tools we produce, and the global impact and awareness we get to make TOGETHER along the journey.
To be an author published by Dawn Publishing means being a partner in creating global change.
So if you want to join the global community of change makers I am building, them make sure you get in touch to join each one of the four projects above, or pitch me your own community project, and let’s see where this journey will take us.