How to Be Pura Vida

Since I started working at Backcountry in 2019, I’d wanted to write a story incorporating some of the Tico voices of the company. Backcountry has an office in Costa Rica that focuses on web engineering and photo editing, and I was always intrigued by this Central American outpost.

I’ve been to Costa Rica twice, once after graduating high school with my family, and another time with my best travel bud Kate. Aside from being naturally stunning awash in dense rainforests, waterfalls, and quiet stretches of Pacific and Caribbean coastline, what stuck out to me about Costa Rica was how happy everyone who lived there seemed. Ticos and Ticas exude a sense of contentment and joy for life that I’ve never seen matched elsewhere, from the Middle East and South America to Europe.

Me & Kate about to leave for CR a loooooong time ago. Did we get lost? Yes we got very lost.

That Costa Rican happiness has a name: Pura Vida, the country’s national motto that is anything but token.

So in my final weeks at Backcountry, I seized the opportunity to finally write the story I’d wanted from Day One when the production team planned a photoshoot in Costa Rica. The story is about what Pura Vida is in the words of the Backcountry Ticos and Ticas, and how we often discontent North Americans might emulate our friends to the south. Here’s the story!


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