Costa Rica Surf School Dreams

Swells are formed by wind blowing over an area of water, consistently in one direction until ripples or formed. Those ripples of circular energy roll along, gathering momentum and absorbing other ripples and growing until they finally arrive on a distant shore to spill that energy in the form of breaking waves. Living dreams are formed much the same way; an intangible force pushes you in a direction until you get organized, grow, and ultimately create something inspiring and beautiful.

My first trip to Costa Rica was exactly the same scenario that thousands of others have experienced. I was part of the backpacker brigade, ready to explore the beautiful little country’s beaches, rainforests, and volcanoes. I had everything but the kitchen sink on my back, guidebook in hand, and the meager Spanish vocabulary of a grunting cave man. I had an amazing time, as almost everyone does; I took at least fifty photos of the first monkeys I’d ever seen, witnessed the awe inspiring beauty of an erupting volcano, hiked to waterfalls in the jungle, met amazing people, and caught my first wave. More than 14 years have passed since that trip, but I’ll never forget it. Partly because it was my first big international adventure, partly because I get to constantly relive it through the excitement of so many travelers that come through the School of the World, and partly because I get asked at least 5 times a week “So what brought you to Costa Rica?”

zach school of the world costa ricaA more accurate question would be “What brought you back to Costa Rica?” Like every young backpacker, that first trip I stayed until the last dollar was spent and went home to the reverse culture shock of what is referred to as “the real world”. I plotted my prison break from the rat race by working two jobs, saving every dime I could. Then one night I had a dream so vivid that I woke up and bought a plane ticket back to Costa Rica. It was a dream about…. waves… clean, beautiful, empty waves! It is amazing to me now that I can trace so much of my path and the paths of countless others to those images flashed on my subconscious mind that night. My initial plan, if you can call it that, was to spend two months learning to surf, learning Spanish, and making art. Two months flew by and I returned home, but just long enough to sell my car, give away my winter clothes, and get my dog Bimini! I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do for a living, but I was healthy, happy, and inspired in Costa Rica and that was enough of a start for me. Five months after that, with just $3,000 left in the bank, I came up with the idea that would become the School of the World.

The original concept for the School of the World was based in my curiosity about the world around me. My own desire to learn everything about life in Costa Rica grew into the idea to combine elements of a surf camp, language school, photography workshop, and yoga retreat. From its humble beginnings to the beautiful destination that it is today, the School of the World is and always has been a collective dream. In other words, it is what it is thanks to the people that have worked here and the travelers that have been here over the years.

As we continue to set the standard for creative learning vacations we want to thank you all for your support and we hope to see you in Costa Rica soon!

The photo is from the first day I took over the cabinas that we initially used for the location of School of the World, and I was painting over the old sign. I was in the common area where all of the students of the last 14 years have hung out and traded laughs and stories with fellow travelers.



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