relaxation takes effort (for me.)

by Janetha on July 31, 2012

in deep thoughts,travel

as you know, i recently returned home from costa rica. it’s in the southern part of central america.


i went with marshall (my husband), kristen (my best friend), rory (her boyfriend/my friend), dave (marshall’s friend.. well, mine too), and nick (same as dave) to puerto viejo, which is on the caribbean side of the country, near panama.



we stayed at an incredible little bed & breakfast called banana azul. kristen & rory stayed there two years ago and loved it so much, they had to go back. i don’t blame them.. i can’t wait to get back there myself. i reviewed the hotel in GREAT detail on their tripadvisor profile.. click here if you want to read the ramble. in a nutshell, it was an amazing hotel with delicious food, friendly service, beautiful views, comfortable rooms, lots of hammocks, and is a stone’s throw from the black beach of the carribean sea. playa negra.

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they also have lots of dogs at banana azul. and cats in baskets.

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i am not going to recap this trip the way i have recapped my vacations in the past—meaning day by day, bit by bit. this trip was different. i couldn’t—and wouldn’t recap each day even if you asked me to. let me elaborate on why…

typically when i go on vacation, i am that crazy tourist who takes a point and shoot camera, a DSLR camera, AND an iphone camera and comes home with nearly 1,000 photos. literally—a thousand images stamped on various media cards for me to load onto my computer, blog about image by image, retelling the whole trip (which–to be honest–is something i do enjoy doing.. i like to write), and then probably never look at again. i mean, sure, i’ll see the few photos that i end up printing.. but when i think back, i really don’t go look through my thousands of vacation photos. ever. maybe some people do… i just don’t. in fact, when i was in jamaica, i even bought a special album to print all the photos and place in the album so i could flip through the memories any time the mood struck. guess what? that album is on a shelf.. collecting dust.. not a single photo filling the pages.

when i went to cabo on my honeymoon, i came home only to realize i’d lost my point and shoot camera. it was missing… along with the majority of the photos from the trip. i was absolutely devastated. i called the airlines, called the hotel, and i cried… multiple times. but after the initial disappointment, i realized it was really no big deal. just because i didn’t have a zillion photos of my honeymoon didn’t make the trip less special, less enjoyable, or less memorable. and, let’s be honest, how many times would i have gone back and looked through the photos in the past two years? my guess… zero times.

what i am getting at is that i realized something in costa rica. photos are great. i love photography and taking photos of beautiful things.

people, food, animals, nature.

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i’m passionate about it. i enjoy it. but i also realized it’s not necessary to photograph every. single. little. thing. we did on vacation. in fact, i believe i enjoyed myself more because i didn’t haul around my DSLR camera the whole time (and i also had less chances to break it… like i did on my honeymoon in 2010… and again on my trip to mexico earlier this year. not kidding.)

i also realized that the travel journal blog posts detailing every little moment are probably great for me to write and look back on.. but for my readers? not so much. yes, several of you may enjoy the posts.. but the majority of you probably skim over them. i know this because i typically skim over long, rambling travel posts that are on the blogs i read. even my favoritest of blogs. yep, favoritest is a word. in fact, most people are probably skimming over this right now.

so, with my costa rica trip, i decided i was not going to be the crazy photographing tourist that i typically am. i wasn’t going to blog about the whole experience. i made this decision before even leaving my house for the airport. yes, i still took my DSLR camera (and the extra lens for close-up photos.. which i used a total of zero times) because i knew i’d want some photos of the trip.. but i went into it deciding that this trip didn’t need to be chronicled bit by bit.

one of my faults is that i’m too connected. i mean… i’m a blogger. who blogs almost every single day. and a social media addict–facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram. of course i’m too connected. it’s not something i think about too often, especially since most people i know (these days) are the same way—very connected. i chalk it up to technology being at our fingertips at all times—and around every corner we turn. it’s just part of life in this day and age, right? well, recently, i have made myself take a step back and analyze my habits. i do realize that there’s such thing as being too connected. when my brain is thinking about blog things too often, even when my computer is off, i know i need to unplug. no, not unplug my computer.. but unplug my brain.

wow. i am getting in thick here. i really didn’t intend for all this to spill out of my fingertips, but now it has and i think i’ll leave it. i initially just wanted to start out a post telling you i decided to take random photos of my trip and not recap the vacation like i typically would. but as you can see, it’s all a bit deeper than that.  these thoughts explain my recent funk when returning home from my technology break. sometimes i wish it was still the eighties…and my most elaborate piece of technological equipment was an original nintendo and maybe a computer that had the oregon trail—in color!

costa rica was good for me. my phone didn’t work. i didn’t have my laptop. i did have an internet connection at the hotel, which i used sparingly (ahem.. instagram) from my iphone… at least for someone like me. mrs. connected. but after a few days in the jungle, away from all the superficial cares of the world, the constant reminder of my day job, and the thoughts of what my blog-post-of-the-day would be… i was able to genuinely let go and relax. like.. really relax. i won’t lie, it wasn’t easy for me to let go of all the typical things that float around in my brain on a daily basis. and truly, those thoughts didn’t go away.. they were just drastically reduced. i feel like it took some effort, but halfway into my trip i felt myself just let go.

and really disconnect. not just from technology, but also from things. just things… in general. i didn’t need anything in costa rica. i didn’t need a purse stuffed with a hairbrush, a mirror, 6 kinds of lip stuff, floss, gum, and the kitchen sink. for once, i didn’t worry about if i had everything i “needed” before leaving to go somewhere. maybe a little money if we were going to town and sometimes my phone to snap a photo or two.. but that’s it. half the time i could have even gone without shoes.

it was cool. i wish it had happened on day one of the trip, because i don’t feel like i unwound (is that a word?) for long enough. and now that i’m back, i want to keep a little piece of disconnected me. i want to remember how good it felt to relax and let go. i want to care less about things that don’t really matter. i don’t want to worry about leaving home without something “just in case.” and i don’t want to feel like i need to check what’s happening on the internet. don’t get me wrong.. i LOVE blogging. i do. i love it. if i didn’t love it, i wouldn’t do it.. bottom line. but it has to be said that blogging—and blog reading and social media–can get in the way of other things in life. you know the saying—“too much of a good thing.”

i am working on that whole balance thing. bear with me.

WOW. this is long… i’ll try to wrap up my thoughts.

to sum things up.. i am going to post random photos from my trip. because, yes, even after all was said and done, i did still take photos. not every meal and every move, not even every day. but there are plenty of photos. and i do want to share them. and tell you delicious places to eat in puerto viejo. and talk about a few fun things to do. in no particular order.

i truly know none of you care how i recap my trip–or if i even recap it at all. shit, several of you are probably shaking your head at my ridiculousness right now because i just went OFF on some crazy tangent about unplugging from technology on my BLOG. i see the irony–i do. i also realize i don’t ever need to justify why i blog the way i blog, but what i just wrote was something i needed to get out—for me. not for you. i know, so selfish. so thanks, blog, for being my platform to do so. and thanks, blog readers, for dealing with my moment.

but after that mind vomit above? i think i’ll save all that costa rica stuff for the next post. because the thoughts in this post were more than enough for my fingertips to type today. very unexpected–but very necessary. i think.

as always, thanks for reading. i hope at least one of you could relate to my ridiculous rambles. i’m just the crazy lady with the keyboard.


1. how about you.. can you relax at the drop of a hat or is your mind a mile-a-minute?

2. is there one single thing you absolutely, positively never leave your house without?

xo. janetha g.

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marie August 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I’m Mile-a-Minute-Marie.

DH is the photog of the fam, and he also takes at least 1000 pics per vacay that never get printed. However, a couple of years ago he got me a digital photo frame for work and loaded it with lots of pics, including a lot of our travel pics. Best. Present. Ever. We also use these pix for screensavers. I get innumerable smiles per day from glancing at it and thinking of a fun time/adventure/special moment with a loved one. Maybe you could get a digital frame and enjoy your pics with it?

Janetha August 2, 2012 at 11:25 am

Ah! We have one. I need to load some photos on it.

Britta August 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Hey girl! I totally relate with this post. I recently took an impromptu trip camping in Yellowstone with my bf – neither of us are spontaneous people so it was a crazy decision for us and we basically threw ourselves into a weekend surrounded by mindblowing wilderness and absolutely NO TECHNOLOGY. It was one of the best weekends of my life… And I haven’t blogged about it. Or even blogged at all, really. One, because I don’t think words can give justice to how beautiful and serene the experience was (I’ve been to Costa Rica and I’m sure your trip was the same!) and two, I just have no desire to sit on my computer…

I would like to think the experience has changed my perspective and helped me live in the moment… But I’ll probably be back to my social media ways in no time ;)

Janetha August 2, 2012 at 11:25 am

Glad you had such a good time unplugging. Yellowstone is incredible!

Maren August 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I honestly noticed you’ve been missing from Instagram lately…and obviously you were outta the country, but ya know what? It actually made me think, “maybe she’s just taking a break” and made me sit down and think about how much time I spend on my computer, too! I literally get home from the gym, eat dinner, and then sit at the computer the remainder of the evening. How in the hell am I ever going to get my house in order and wedding plans taken care of when I spend all my extra time “plugged in”?

I’ve got to get better about spending time with Nate and Lilly and maybe even get some shit done around my new house!

Love ya girl!

Janetha August 2, 2012 at 11:24 am

Glad you took some time to reflect. Let me just say–spending time with human interaction is way more important than with strangers online. Yes, the strangers are our friends.. but don’t neglect your real-life relationships in order to see the latest photos on IG.. it took me too long to learn this and I wish I’d been better about it a couple years ago. Love you.

Kait @ yogabeautylife August 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I think you already know my views on this (since, you know, I write about it fairly often). I love disconnecting…but it definitely isn’t easy. I still struggle with it but try to disconnect as often as possible, and especially when stressed. Sometimes that means watching movies but no social media or phone. Sometimes it means going to yoga. But I truly think our best moments are when we disconnect…and its hard to reintegrate back into “regular” life after that, especially if everyone around you falls into the “regular” patterns. :)

Kim@hungryhealthygirl August 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm

It is really difficult for me to unwind too. I’m glad that you were able to disconnect and really enjoy your vaca. I would LOVE to visit Costa Rica. Look forward to seeing more of you photos.

Missy August 2, 2012 at 7:51 am

Hi! Sorry, I disagree with you saying your readers don’t like your vacay wrap-ups. Um…that’s what I COME here for!! I’ll be honest and say that I’m not that interested in workouts and meals and stuff. I like your blog for the travel stuff. In fact, I want MORE of it. I actually read your HLB (and other HLBs) for the travel posts because I find that most travel blogs aren’t relate-able (they’re written by backpackers and people who travel for work…neither of which is me). I want to read about an EVERYDAY person’s thoughts on places they went.

So I read tripreports on TripAdvisor (but those never come w/ pics!) or HLB travel posts. So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. MORE PICS AND MORE POSTS about your vacations!!!!

Janetha August 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

Well thank you for the feedback, Missy :) I definitely will be sure to talk about the places I travel, just not in such great detail as in “this is what I did every day.” So glad you do enjoy the recaps!

Alex @ Brain, Body, Because August 2, 2012 at 8:02 am

We LOVED Costa Rica. We stayed in Cahuita and Cocles. I hope you made it to Punta Uva – folks told us it’s the most beautiful beach on the coast :)

Katie August 2, 2012 at 10:21 am

Well the pictures you DID take are amazing and I’m so happy you had a chance to realllllly unwind. Love to you, friend.

natalie@thesweetslife August 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm

and this is why i love you. great post janetha!

Deb August 3, 2012 at 8:59 am

I’m so glad that you took a step back. I think we all need to do it. I love being away without wifi etc so I’m forced to take a break (she types in the free wifi lounge on vacation lol). It’s a double-edged sword this connectivity. We get closer to ppl we can’t see, yet it sucks the time and magic away from living in the moment. Balance is key- you are right. Love u. Now I’ve got a trashy magazine that’s calling my name haha

Janetha August 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm

hahaha… you are good at balancing, i think. you do a good job of unplugging. i do a bad job of writing you back. i will, it’s been a hard week!

Angie August 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hi Janetha! I’m starting to get ideas for a January vacation, and this place sounds amaaazing. Question, you mentioned cats in baskets.. my boyfriend has a cat allergy. Would you not recommend this hotel? Are the cats everywhere?


Janetha August 6, 2012 at 12:41 pm

There were two cats living at the hotel… I am not sure how severe his allergy is, but I would say if it is bad, this wouldn’t be ideal!

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