Visiting Costa Rica and getting in touch with its people, culture and lifestyle changed the way I perceive and approach life. This class reminded me that human beings belong in nature, not in man-made cities. We get so involved with everyday life that we lose our identity and forget what life is really all about. This trip allowed me to humanize myself and realize all the unhealthy and unsustainable behaviors that we have incorporated into our lifestyles. The most important thing I learned during this trip is that it is possible to live a happy and fulfilling life without having to stick to the American conventions about what life is. This experience helped me reevaluate my values, especially those related to how we can attain happiness.
One of the most influential experiences I had during my time in Costa Rica was speaking with Mr. Olman, the proprietor of Las Manzanas Cabinas- Bed & Breakfast. His honesty, passion for his family, farm and chosen career definitely helped me realize how shallow our lives can be. It is incredible how taking different perspectives in life can modify what you value. For example, for Mr. Olman it was more important to produce top notch, pesticide free fruits and vegetables, than making a profit from his farm. In other words, he was more interested in being responsible with his produce and customers than becoming wealthier.
I believe living a simple life in which we become close to nature can benefit us in many ways. For example, by eliminating contact with artificial products like medicines, cleaning chemicals and processed foods we can considerably reduce the risks of life threatening diseases. In addition, by eating only organic foods, free from pesticides and hormones, we can decontaminate our system which will almost guarantee a healthier lifestyle. Also, by removing ourselves from the mass-society, we reduce the levels of stress we are exposed to. It is a model basically designed to mimic the lifestyle of our ancestors who lived fulfilling lives without the influence of artificial products and ideas.
For this reason, I have begun to modify my lifestyle to incorporate more natural elements to the extent possible. I have completely eliminated frozen, processed or artificial foods from my diet. It is incredible how small changes in our diet can improve our performance and overall well being. I am also trying to live more sustainably by utilizing less water, turning light switches off as much as possible and recycling everything from water bottles to scrap paper.