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  • Writer's pictureJames Spiro

The Importance of Time Away From Work

We all know the significance of taking a break from our usual busy lives. This year, I decided to take full advantage of this and travel to Costa Rica — a perfect opportunity to escape the weather and log off my devices.

Below is the review I left on TripAdvisor — a website I have never used but felt obliged to contribute to after my experience. Please enjoy it below:

I signed up for TripAdvisor simply so I could leave this review.

Alma de Ojochal helped my friend and I create some of the most amazing memories of our recent trip to Costa Rica. The owners, John and Janet, were always so helpful and attentive — not to mention their sincere love and respect for the country we were in. They have a strange presence: after only a few fleeting conversations, their authenticity makes you feel like they are your old friends catching up after a short time apart. Whether it was over coffee at breakfast or a cocktail at the sunset, they were always a delight.

Speaking of sunsets, the Alma de Ojochal is ideally positioned between mountains and sea views. We arrived at night and didn’t appreciate how special the location was until the next morning. The Bamboo Room — the restaurant owned by the hotel and open to the public — was host to some of the most interesting people in the world. Over the sounds of John’s nightly performances on piano, characters met each night and shared stories of lives that seemed almost unbelievable. Expats told of how they came to be in Ojochal. Locals listened with interest as we explained the contrast in our city lives (London and New York) — personalities were bonded through cosy meals and exotic concoctions of caffeine and liquor.

We rented a 4x4 (strongly recommended), which allowed us the chance to easily travel to some of the nearby cities like Uvita and Dominical — perfect for romantic dinners and the base of many daytime activities like ATVs, Zipwiring, or horseback riding.

Special shoutout to the external circle of staff, including Chris, Roger, Carlos, and Allen. Always around to help and guide guests towards the best possible adventures. My only apology is bothering them too much by demanding too much coffee each morning — city life found it hard to leave these veins of mine.

On the last day, my friend turned to me with eager eyes and asked, ‘So when are we coming back to Ojochal?’ It was a question that not only made me think of my future, but I stopped and realised that I was in fact actually leaving. A thought that makes this review that much harder to write now that I have returned to a world of mobile phones, trending topics, and social media updates.

It is true, I signed up for TripAdvisor so I could leave this review. I couldn’t bear the idea of not contributing to a place online that contributed so much to ours off it. We witnessed first hand that by closing the doors of time, we opened the window of life — and more.

My writing is scarcely this poetic and optimistic — usually focussing on the horrors of modern-day journalism or tricks of PR and marketing. The chance to escape this world allowed me to write more and follow my heart.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break — here’s to a prosperous and successful 2017.


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