This week, today really is Sunday, in every sense of the word.
In San José, Costa Rica, the sun is shining brightly after a week of heavy rains. In many communities around the country, that sun is shining on destruction, landslides and flooded homes (read more from El Colectivo 506, including relief effort links, here). So the work continues. But thank you, sun.
In the United States, events took place over the past five days that allowed my daughter to watch the first female vice president in U.S. history to take to the stage last night in a fierce white suit. My daughter dressed up in her Wonder Woman costume for the occasion and waved a flag she had made with the names of Joe Biden and his two dogs, Major and Champ. The work continues. But thank you, U.S. voters, poll workers, campaign volunteers.
At El Colectivo 506, we’ve raised nearly $10,000 thus far to help us start a new media organization that’s journalist-owned, community-driven and woman-powered. We’ve got a lot more road to traverse (read more here). But thank you, every last person who has given us a donation, words of encouragement, ideas during these critical early weeks.
Are you taking a deep breath today? If not, you should. If so, take another one. Shake your booty. Raise a glass. We’ve earned it. We’ll need it. We deserve it.
I want to start this final post of the Costa Rica Daily Boost – in its current form – with a heartfelt thank you.
Thanks for putting on your imaginary boots, as I asked on Sept. 15th of last year, and roaming through these many words with me. Thanks to those who read once in a while, popping up with a friendly comment just when I needed it most. Thanks to those who read regularly, like a discipline, riding the waves of long rambles and short, just-before-midnight, gotta-get-something-up messages. Thanks for understanding the needs, dreams and frustrations that drive a mother-writer to throw down any gauntlet for herself to try to carve out creative space; this has meant so much to me during a time in my life in which not one, not two, but three passion projects came abruptly to an end. (So did the world as we know it.)
Finally, thank you for sharing your love for Costa Rica and its people so warmly and openly in your comments and emails. Your love of this country has renewed my own, and led me to a new venture that I didn’t expect one year ago today.
As you’ve seen if you’ve followed me here, writing about Costa Rica for 248 continuous weekdays has taught me some lessons and reminded me just how many stories there are to share in this small place at the heart of the Americas, this country whose success or failure is so critical as a pioneer or model. In August, I decided to gather up the notes I’d been doodling in the margins for these many months and attempt to turn them into reality. I asked two dear friends to come along: rural tourism advocate Pippa Kelly, who has been featured many times in my proverbial pages, and extraordinary photojournalist Mónica Quesada Cordero. I’m very lucky that they said yes.
Today marks the pre-launch of our dream: a new, bilingual media organization based on the support of readers and of tourism communities eager to connect with the world in new ways. El Colectivo 506 is named for Costa Rica’s area code and the collective, shared transport that, in many parts of Latin American, allows group taxis and buses to take the slow route, stopping wherever that day’s travelers need to go. If you’ve ever taken el colectivo by mistake instead of an express bus, as I once did during my early days in the country, and found yourself winding in non-air-conditioned splendor through unexpected detours, awash in the easy conversation of those who hop on or off, you’ll know the kind of journalism we’re aiming for. Slow. Unhurried. Deep explorations of people, places and issues at the heart of Costa Rica’s towns and neighborhoods.
Alongside this in-depth, independent journalism, El Colectivo will connect rural tourism entrepreneurs and nonprofits with local and international travelers through a national, bilingual directory. Eventually, their small-scale annual support will make us sustainable, but as Costa Rica continues to reel from the impact of COVID-19, we plan to donate this service to the sector as a way to support the reopening and reinvention of the tourism industry. Readers will be able to navigate fresh, authentic itineraries through Costa Rica’s communities and find a wealth of stories, opinion and information as El Colectivo builds storytelling capacity among local leaders and youth. That’s why our motto is “Costa Rica from the inside out.” It’s a site by Costa Rica, for Costa Rica: benefitting, but also sourced from, the heart of its communities.
And yes, there will be a Daily Boost. When we launch on Jan. 1, we’ll begin complementing our in-depth coverage with daily photos, inspiration and more.
As I did on this day last year, I invite you to come along for the ride. As a first step, we need to raise money to support the Costa Rican artists and designers who are creating our brand, logo and website (some of whom I met through the Boost!) and to get ready for the journalists and rural entrepreneurs who will bring the site to life. Please visit our campaign page, donate if you can, and share as widely as possible; I can’t thank you enough for any of the above. Of course, I hope you’ll also follow us wherever you like to read, whether that’s on our website, Facebook, Instagram,LinkedIn, and Twitter. And please share the news as far as you can.
As for me, I plan to continue posting weekly, here on my own site: my usual ponderings, writing news, and reflections on the various ways in which I’m working to make connections in the world and build new pathways for expression. Among the projects on my table right now are the development of a national volunteer corps, new ways for travelers to connect with ecotourism champions during the pandemic, a novel, and, well… it’s been a creative year. As Mr. Rogers used to say, “You’ll have things you’d like to talk about; I will, too.”
Until then, may the journey treat you well. Thank you and gracias, con todo mi cariño.