What I Remembered, Revisited and Reinstated While in Costa Rica



I have joyfully entered the last year of my 40’s!

I spent my birthday week in Costa Rica.

Treehouse in Jaco. Beach in Puntarenas. Mountain house in La Fortuna.

Here’s What I Remembered, Revisited and Reinstated While in Costa Rica

I Remembered: How much I love traveling.

Nine years ago, I decided that I would always take a birthday trip. I decided that I would not spend my birthday at home even if I only took a day trip. Then came the coronavirus pandemic. I haven’t traveled for my birthday in two years.

I loved visiting a new place. I loved traversing the country. I loved hearing Spanish spoken what seems like more often than I have in a decade. I loved seeing people from all over the world enjoying life. Travel stretches us personally and professionally.

I Revisited: My connection to nature.

I love nature. The weather was perfect. The air in Costa Rica is so fresh. The country is amazingly beautiful – ocean, farms, mountains, volcanoes. I loved seeing all the farm animals. The fruit was delicious. The pace was slower. The people were friendlier and happier. The coffee, chocolate, and sloth tour were an awesome way to spend my birthday.

Prior to my trip, I decided to spend more time on farms and with farmers. I began exploring ecology in a new way and was introduced to eco-social work. I also connected with a community farm and like-minded farmer very close to my home 2 days before my trip. The Costa Rican people are committed to sustainability and protecting nature and the natural beauty of the land. I fell in love with the country.

I Reinstated: My commitment to being authentically me.

A few years ago, I lost myself. I can’t pinpoint exactly when or why it happened, but I’ve been on a years long journey to come back to myself. Every day I feel more and more like me. The most important pieces of me were consistently coming back together before I embarked on this adventure, but there was magic in that treehouse that propelled me forward in a way that I hadn’t experienced since 2020. I am doing more of what brings me joy.


Nicki Sanders, MSW, ushers high-performing women of color in mid-level social work and human services leadership through promotion to senior leadership. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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