Have you ever experienced something that you believe isn’t just a coincidence? Whether it is major or something subtle, I experience these once in a while…
Living in the small beach town of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, as a single young woman with nothing but time, I got myself a cute beach cruiser to get around the place and beyond. I would go toward the sea and usually take a right and travel south on the one and only main road. There are several beaches to choose from until you get to Manzanillo which is the end of the line. If you could go any further, you’d be on your way to Panama and having quite a trek through legit jungle. I would plug in some headphones blasting some type of R&B or reggae music and ride.
Sometimes I would have company but I really did cherish those solo trips. Forever etched into my memory of these bike rides would be flashes of the unrealistic blues and greens through the trees, teasing me with the ocean. My sunglasses always made the colors pop more. The ultimate goal would be to stop and jump into the ocean to cool off after such exercise.
In town and surrounding it, you definitely had to be aware of other riders on bikes, motorcycles, scooters, cars etc. But as I left the vicinity of the town, things got more peaceful. What is amazing is that I always had the chance to reflect on how grateful and amazed I was actually having this experience! It felt like a dream, unreal and so personal. In retrospect, the endorphins most likely played a huge role in my euphoric feelings and happiness during these ‘sessions’.
So, on one occasion I was outdoing myself and power riding to Manzanillo. I made it there in good time and turned back. I was saving my refreshing ocean jump for a place closer to home. Suddenly my bike chain broke off. Living with a bicycle as your main mode of transportation you get used to having to reattach a chain that falls off but this was different because my chain was broken, laying on the side of the road. Several thoughts invaded my mind: I’m out here alone, there are barely any cars driving out here so I probably can’t get a ride, if I take the bus I’ll lose my bike as I can’t take it with me, and if I walk it’ll be a long time (about 13 km’s). I started walking with my bike because I was at a complete loss about what I should do. It was later in the afternoon, so I would have to decide soon as I wouldn’t be caught dead in the middle of nowhere at night with the jungle so close.
What happened next is completely true but seems fantastical. I think I must have an energy within the universe looking out for me. I came upon a father and son walking toward me. The father stopped, frowning, assessing my situation. He seemed to understand that something happened to my bike and talked to me in Spanish. At the time, I didn’t speak or understand much of the language. He motioned for me to come with them and we walked back in the direction of Manzanillo. There appeared a little shack with another man working in it. I would have passed this moments before my chain broke but I honestly don’t remember. The man was working on another bike but stopped when we walked up. The father and man had a conversation and then both started to work on the chain and then reattaching it to my bike. It only took minutes to fix. I tried to tell them I didn’t have any money with me but they waved me away. I rode away in awe. Was this real? Did I really just conjure up this much needed help on a desolate jungle road? What’s even more interesting is that I made that ride many more times in my years living there and I never saw this shack again.
These experiences make me believe that good things can and will happen. The cliché about looking for silver linings in every situation always serves me well. It doesn’t mean I’m always in control. Especially while travelling, there are A LOT of things out of your control and trusting the process and your intuitions can make all the difference.