cuddle puddles with strangers in san jose, costa rica!

callie and i spent one night in Costa Rica's capital city, before moving south for the festival. and ironically, it was one of my favorite nights of the whole damn trip. we were tingling with excitement about the adventures to come, and just so very ready to make friends and start feeling the travel love!

the hostel i booked (at the very last minute, while at the airport waiting for callie's flight to arrive) just happened to be the most perfect little microcosm preview of everything good and positive and genuine that we would soon come to embrace at Envision.

this hostel, called Pangea (to represent the coming together of people from all parts of the world), was a little backpacker's oasis in the middle of the grimy chaos of San Jose. every wall was covered in tribal and psychedelic paintings. there was a pool, a bar, good food, and a huge deck with hammocks overlooking the valley and the mountains surrounding us.

it was easily the nicest hostel i've ever been to, and it was only $12 a night! not baaad for a super last minute booking ;)

and to our ear-to-ear delight, the majority of the people staying at the hostel were also young americans (and canadians) headed for Envision! so from the moment we relieved our poor shoulders of our heavy bags, until long after the bar upstairs closed, we spent the day/night connecting with all of the beautiful, open-hearted strangers who traveled from far and wide for this unique chance at transformation.

callie and i made friends with a group of boys as soon as we got there. we had dinner with them and picked up some beer to bring back to the hostel. then, what started as a small talk by the pool with one other girl turned into a proper party tornado in no time at all. a huge group of us migrated up to the bar, and hung out on the hammock swings drinking our $2 cervezas and divulging all of our greatest passions. 

within a couple hours of talking and connecting with these perfect strangers, i was in love with half of them. not "in looove", but i LOVED them, yanno? the quality of the people we encountered that night completely took me by surprise. they were happy people with open hearts and open minds and so much to share. they were the kind of people you typically meet on fun adventures, but turned up a notch, because we were all about to be a part of a huge, peaceful love/art/music fest in the jungle and we were STOKED. 

later in the night, after the bar closed and many beers were had, what was left of our party tornado went downstairs to the small parking lot by the pool for a cig circle. we sat and talked and laughed and shared drags of tobacco like old friends. it's incredible how some strangers can make you feel more comfortable and at home than people you've known your whole life. these sorts of connections are my very favorite thing about traveling.

and after expressing our gratitude for meeting each other with hug after hug, our drunken parking lot circle turned into a downright cuddle puddle. about ten of us envisionaries huddled together and giggled incessantly and laid on each other like it was the most natural thing in the world. 

because it WAS the most natural thing in the world! i know cuddling with a group of people you just met sounds like absolute insanity, but i highly recommend it ;)

maybe you'll scoff and call us hippies, but i think impromptu cuddle puddles are the kind of thing that people in the real world should really learn to be more open to! our society is so deprived of genuine connection and affection. it's a tall order to ask for direct eye contact when speaking with someone in public, let alone a hug or touch. but we need ittt, and if we don't get it, there's a chance we'll resort to destructive habits instead. so go cuddle with a friend or hug a stranger! and stay happy :)

after one night in san jose, we hitched a ride with our new friend alex all the way down to Uvita for Envision Festival. and then the real fun began :)