As I write this, I am sitting in Costa Rica on a mandatory “visa run” as they call it. I have to leave Guatemala every three months until I can apply for and get my work visa.
Anyway, learned a very important lesson yesterday that I only realized today as I wrote in my journal. The owner of the hotel told me about a hike that I should take where you walk up to an abandoned restaurant that was started and never completed and overlooks the entire coast and Jaco Beach. The hike would require me to walk about 5 miles from the hotel before I even reached the base of the trail. I had nothing but time…and decided to give it a try.
I left the hotel yesterday about 8:30am and headed down the hill to the main road that would lead me into the north side of Jaco Beach. I then turned south and continued through the center of town, walking by shops selling all types of souvenirs and restaurants selling every type of food imaginable. Continuing south I passed all types of tourists, locals and surfer types.
By 10:30am I was at the base of the trail where I inquired of two young women that appeared to be in their 20’s, with two (very loud) three-year old children, if I was on the right trail. One of the girls said, “Sí, arriba!” So, I began to “arriba” up the trail.
The climb was a winding dirt road through a relatively dense amount of trees and foliage. I had been told I might see white-faced monkeys on the trail, so I was on the lookout for movement and sound of any type. The road kept going up and I came to a vista that offered me my first view of the Costa Rican coastline and Jaco Beach. Beautiful. Several more people soon arrived and not long afterwards the two girls with the noisy kids passed and shouted to me, “keep going…there is more to see!” (Hold that thought…)
I responded I would and I let them get ahead of me on the trail before I continued up. I continued the ever-winding uphill climb, eyes peeled for monkeys, lizards, lions, tigers, bears or dinosaurs of any type…nothing.
Finally the “up” gave way to a small path that led off the main path and deeper into the jungle. The remains of a concrete sidewalk with a beautiful Roman style balustrade railing made of concrete led me deeper into the jungle. About 100 yards into the jungle, the path open up to an expansive multi-level structure of tile floor and concrete columns and archways that all worked together to frame the view of the Costa Rican coastline and Jaco Beach. It was stunning…the view at least.
I didn’t think much about it then, but today as I reflected on it…I was greatly saddened by remembering my walk down that path and ultimately viewing the beginning of someone’s unrealized vision. I hope I never have to walk down such a path again…but I know I will. It’s heartbreaking.
Years ago someone had a vision to create a beautiful mountainside restaurant and for whatever reason…the obstacles they encountered proved overpowering and they abandoned their project and vision. What remained was overgrown, in disrepair and had been taken over by “self proclaimed graffiti artists”, in essence…it was ugly.
Today I thought about it and I think the same thing happens to all unrealized dreams…once abandoned…they no longer retain the brilliance of hope and the luster of possibility. Without constant monitoring and upkeep, they become ugly with regret and and the roots of personal failure begin to take over.
It was a powerful lesson and one that empowers me to continue to try to bring the light of hope to the people I meet. There is power and life in hope, vision and dreams and unfortunately there is also the opposite once that light goes out…and I don’t want that to happen to anyone.
The path to our dreams is ALWAYS an uphill hike. It is ALWAYS going to be tough…“but keep going…there is (ALWAY) more to see”and the ultimate view is spectacular.
I’ve since learned that the reason the project was abandoned was because the owner passed away. This reinforces another very important aspect of not only creating a vision, but sustaining that vision. Part of good leadership is planting your vision in the mind and hearts of others, so that they too can participate in helping to make your vision a reality. Politicians do it, military leaders do it and so do all great leaders. You must GROW your vision in others!
Clearly, this important step was omitted in this particular case…and the results speak for themselves…tragic.
Don’t let it happen to you!