There are places on this planet that are so beautiful that they take your breath away. When you find them, they change you, for you can’t help but be fully present. Not just in body, but in mind, spirit and heart. You’re enraptured. All-in.
That’s how I felt when I stepped on the deck at the Lookout Inn, in one of the most remote parts of Costa Rica. All-in. The setting around me was too magnificent to make room for worrying about emails, or deadlines, or filling programs. For the brief two days I spent there, I was in a heightened state of wonder and appreciation. Imagine what it would be like to live life that way?
I’m always fascinated by the people who have the courage to do just that – live their life “all-in”. To do what few dare to do, and invest themselves fully in making their dream a reality. That’s exactly what Terry and Katya, the inn-keepers of the Lookout have done. Go all-in for life.
Let me paint the picture: The Lookout Inn is perched high on a hillside overlooking the Pacific in Carate, Costa Rica, on the Osa Peninsula – nestled on the edge of the Corcovado National Park, which National Geographic calls “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity”. To say the place was in the middle of nowhere would be an understatement. To get there, we rented a 4 x4, traversed steep gravel roads, forged 4 different rivers and after more than five hours of driving, upon arrival my kiddo declared, “Mom, this was totally worth it. It’s way better than Legoland.” (the ultimate compliment from a 9-year-old-boy).
But while the remoteness was a unique adventure for us, for Terry (originally from upstate NY) and Katya (from Costa Rica) that’s life. They have to figure out how to get food and supplies out there, how to make meals so delicious that guests will be glad they’ve no other options, how to attract and motivate a talented staff that will exceed expectations, how to upkeep a place that’s located in the middle of a rain forest filled with termites and extremes – a typical day reaching into the 90’s. The place is completely solar powered. No air conditioning. Electricity only available until 7pm. In other words, while it may sound like a fantasy-life looking from the outside, it takes a heck of a lot of work and sacrifice to make it a reality.
I remember when I was little my mom used to tell me that nothing great comes easily, and I think that’s true. We like to dream about a life of leisure, of days-on-end with no responsibilities and nothing to do, but the truth is, we feel most alive when we’re all-in. When we’re giving everything we’ve got toward something we believe in – something that makes an impact. When we fall into bed exhausted and spent doing what we were put on the planet to do. And the rapture I experienced was but a bi-product of their hard work. A bi-product of years of toil and commitment. Of holding so fiercely to a vision that it cannot dissipate in the face of all the odds.
What are you committed to? What’s the impact you want to have? Maybe figuring that out is our greatest responsibility.
Thank you, Terry and Katya, for giving me such a visceral reminder of what is possible when we risk going all-in. You made an impact. I’ve no doubt you will continue to do so for years to come!