Insights on Travel from Costa Rica Expeditions’ Founder Michael Kaye and his Expert Friends.

Update: Do You Believe in Magic?

It has been 76 days since I last posted.  This is by far the longest time that I have gone without posting since my first post on this blog 2 years go to the day.

I have not been idle.  I have been deeply absorbed by 2 projects that I now want to share with you.

The first project is a program of monthly departures called “The Quest for Pura Vida Adventure-both out there and in you. New sights, new eyes, new relationships.” “Pura Vida” means “Pure Life”. It’s the expression that Costa Ricans use to express the essence of their land and way of relating.

This program is so important to me that I have spent countless hours to give it a very long name and create its very own website.

The reason I am so excited about this program is that it is the biggest step since The Wish List and Time of Your Life in my decades long quest to change the travel paradigm from emphasizing places and activities to emphasizing companions and memories.

Time of Your Life is as close as I can come to illustrating what I mean.  A year ago this October Yolanda two Costa Rica Expeditions naturalist guides, and a Costa Rican videographer and I spent a magical week  with 5 past guests only one of which I had met before.

What made the week magical?

The first day we  rafted the Pejibaye River. Then we spent the rest of the week in Tortuguero National Park, one  of the most beautiful biologically rich places on earth.  We kayaked rainforest creeks.  We watched baby turtles hatch on a tropical beach at dawn.  Our meals were lovingly prepared by  a passionate chef who baked a thirst for our pleasure into every dish.  None of this hurt.

But with that group we would have had a magical week stuck in the Detroit Airport eating fast food.

The short version of how this happened is that I took a shot that I could bring together a magical group of  strangers based merely on their comments on my blog, and I lucked out.

You can read the long version here.  Better yet, read a beautifully written account of one of the participant’s experiences here.

All my travel has been highly enjoyable, most has been inspirational and left me with life time memories.  What distinguished this trip are the especially magical memories that will forever enrich my emotional landscape.  At 69 years old I made new life-long friends.

“The Quest for Pura Vida Adventure-both out there and in you. New sights, new eyes, new relationships,” is designed to encourage travelers who are drawn towards a quest for group magic to self select and join us. It is also designed to suggest that travelers who do not find the idea appealing choose another option.  Read Your Travel Companions-Why this is important to find out more.

And one other thing, “The Quest for Pura Vida Adventure-both out there and in you. New sights, new eyes, new relationships,” was inspired by spending two weeks shooting a one hour PBS special with the best travel magician I know,  my friend of over 40 years, Richard Bangs. “Costa Rica, Quest for Pura Vida,” is the eighth episode in the Emmy Award winning series “Adventures with Purpose,” Watch this excerpt from the show and you’ll believe in magic.

Please let me have your thoughts. “I’ve missed interacting with you on our this blog.

Next week I’ll tell you about the other project.

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        • At December 16, 2011
          8:49:25 am
          William said:

          When I did ask you, few days ago about what was happening with your blog, you mentioned about the fact that soon will come a new post, which was great!!
          Great news, I know a couple of people that may get a great time with your tour, so I will pass the names soon so they can have a great experience.
          Working for you and with you, has changed my life, Costa Rica Expeditions is “Pura Vida” and the journey will be great if people are Pura Vida, as your group October last year was.
          “Pura Vida!!!”

        • At December 16, 2011
          6:50:39 am
          Cheryl Shnider said:

          Michael – I was wondering when you would post on the blog again. Welcome back – I’ve missed it!
          As a member of the Time of Your Life group you referred to, I can attest to what a magical week that was. I feel so privileged to have been part of that experience. If the participants in the Quest for Pura Vida groups have half the quality experience we had, they will have an amazing time.
          Musing about our experience a year ago October led me to wonder – would it have been the same if the group members had traveled with our spouses or friends? Since we were all single for the week (except you and your lovely wife), might we have been more open than usual to bonding with the others? For me, the experience would have been very different if my husband had come. A singles only Quest group might be an interesting idea/target group.
          Just one other observation that is not clear on the home page – the limited edition trips are longer and include Corcovado as well as the delightful company of Michael and Richard. (Don’t know Richard but any friend of Michael is a friend of mine!) Corcovado is such an amazing place and Felipe is such an asset. Those facts become clear as soon as you click on “read more” but you might want to highlight them so people have more reasons to want to “read more”.
          Best wishes with this venture. I see that the trip this month sold out – great start! Having seen the “Quest for Pura Vida” video and been to most of the locations on the trip, it will be an exceptional experience for anyone who decides to go on the tour. The new relationship piece will surely make it above “exceptional” and push it into the “magical” category of adventures

          • At December 16, 2011
            9:07:14 am
            Michael Kaye replied
            to :

            Interesting, Cheryl. Not only without spouses, but happily married and traveling without spouses. Speaking of spouses, I’m looking forward to meeting yours here on Christmas eve.

          • At December 15, 2011
            7:37:12 am
            Shannon Borrego said:

            Michael, how wonderful that you are putting a fresh and exciting slant on an idea that’s been around for awhile, group travel. As I read the link about the new trip being offered, I asked myself what information would be important to me if I were considering joining the trip. One piece of information which I didn’t see is the size of the group. I think that in order to develop a closeness with fellow participants the group must be limited. How many participants do you envision? Will children of all ages be welcome?

            • At December 15, 2011
              5:31:46 pm
              Michael Kaye replied
              to :

              Characteristically good observations, Shannon. The maximum number of participants is 14. Towards the bottom of the home page I did say, “…you will be traveling with no more than 14 kindred souls…” I’ll try to figure out how to make it more prominent. The minimum age for most departures is 12 years old. There are a few “Family Departure” that have no minimum age. They should be noted on the “Dates and Prices” tab on the site, but I now see that only one was noticed. Good catch, thanks.

            • At December 14, 2011
              11:31:10 pm
              Beth Montes said:

              Yes! Exploring with kindred spirits can be wondrous and life-changing. Now that I think about it, nearly all of my closest friends were met while biking or traveling. There’s something about a new place and culture, or natural beauty, or strenuous activity (or all three!) that open me up seeing things differently, relating more authentically, and feeling happier and more easy with myself.

              I love this new direction. And I admire you for staying involved in your business, engaged in shaping its culture, and for creating new ventures that express your own changing views as you walk the path.

              • At December 14, 2011
                4:23:05 pm
                Max said:

                Sounds like an exciting venture, Michael. I’ll be very interested to see how the pre-scheduled, pre-planned adventures work for you, in contrast with the custom itineraries CRE does such a great job with.

                Best of luck!