I arrived in Costa Rica with a smile creased in anticipation, ready for a myriad of encounters, and eager for all the sensory experiences of backpacking through Central America. That said, Costa Rica’s Envision Festival was one of the most formative experiences of my life. Where can I even start?

Nestled in the Pacific coast of Costa Rica’s lush tropics, Envision is like a Russian doll, a destination within a destination. People from all over the world flock to the site, using just as many methods of transport as there are countries represented. I met folks who had bicycled from Guatemala, come by boat from Colombia, flown in from Australia, backpacked their way up from Argentina, and hitch-hiked from Mexico. Each one with their own reasons for attending, ranging from the simple “I want to party,” to the more cryptic “I want to find myself.”

To describe the Envision experience objectively would be a gross failure to share the festival’s values; everyone’s experience is different, and you’ll get out what you put in.

Personally, I had been caught in the throes of a relentless depression, felt stuck, stagnant, alone, and really wanted nothing more than to crawl up and die. Most of us know what that’s like, and it’s a carnivorous mind-state that’s not easily shed. But in a moment of clarity I realized that I’d lost sight of who I was, wanted to do something about it, and made a “f*ck it” decision to book a flight down to Costa Rica and check out this transformative festival. Looking back, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Envision is not so much an an event with unique values as it is a distillation of everything that is Costa Rica. The pervading sense of eco-responsibility informs the efforts of the event’s food vendors and waste management, the ‘pura vida’ lifestyle promotes unhindered gatherings amongst strangers, and the willingness to learn, grow, and positively affect the world is present everywhere you turn.

Envision [2016] from Ari Fararooy on Vimeo.

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