Doing what you love in Costa Rica - Getting to know Nature Guide Milton Muñoz
by Christine Krishnan
Every day I try to learn something new about someone on our Team Desafio. Chats around the coffee maker or lunch time reveal fascinating tidbits about the lives of the people in our company who are more like family to us.
I love to hear news about Hector's new baby, Karina's engagement, Socorro's niece, Danny's biking adventures in Cartago, Tauherth's discovery of a new guide book with excellent details on Costa Rican history that he looks forward to sharing with clients. There's always something to catch up on.
Today I got to know Milton Muñoz a little better. Milton hails from the the small border town of Golfito in the Osa Peninsula -- considered the last frontier of Costa Rica. He now lives nearly 500 kilometers from home on the completely other side of Costa Rica in La Fortuna, San Carlos near the Arenal Volcano.
We are traveling to some rugged parts of Guanacaste to mark some running routes for a group of ultra-marathon runners who want us to show them the best places to run in Costa Rica. Milton is a professional nature guide who happens to be an avid runner with a bunch of adventure race medals and trophies under his belt.
I start with a pretty banal question as I turn on the radio and start driving: "So, Milton, want kind of music do you like?" Turns out we have something in common. Ska music. Mexican Ska music. El Gran Silencio is his choice, especially for when he goes running. Mine is Kung Fu Monkeys. I make a note to self to download more ska music -- like local Costa Rican ska band Percance because I had forgotten how much I like ska.
I then ask Milton to tell me about how he became a nature and adventure guide, how he found his way all the way to rural San Carlos and what it's like being a top athlete in our little farming and touristic community.
"Well, one day, a friend invited me to go rafting on the Pacuare River and I heard the bus guide tell us about Costa Rica, the volcanoes, the history, nature," Milton recalled in nearly-perfectly-spoken English. "It was then I realized I wanted to be a nature and adventure guide, so I moved closer to San Jose, studied hard, got some good training and now five years later, here I am doing what I love to do."
I glanced over and noticed the big smile on Milton's face. I could tell he is doing what he loves because the rest of the drive I had with him revolved around stories of the trips he has done with Desafio showing clients around Costa Rica -- taking our clients hiking, biking, kayaking and more.
By the time we arrived to the hilly, mountainous area of Tierras Morenas in Guanacaste to scout the running route, I certainly felt I learned something new about Milton. I already knew he was a great runner, but it was fulfilling for me to see him in his element, doing something he loves to do, and even humming his favorite ska music along the way.
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