Part one of an eight-part series that examines how Bodhi Surf School ranks as an ecotourism destination
Two weeks ago, I was shoveling my truck out of knee-deep snow. Now, I am knee-deep in the warm water of the Pacific Ocean, about to set down a surfboard. My name is Sam Rose, and I am the current intern at Bodhi Surf School. Lucky me.
As fate would have it…
I met past-intern, Sarah Coburn, this summer through a mutual friend. I was wearing a seed tied on a string around my neck, which was a souvenir brought back from India by my yoga teacher. I had known the seed as “Rudraksha”, but Sarah noticed it and identified it as a Bodhi seed. Later, as we chatted, Sarah mentioned that she had been in Costa Rica for an internship. Intrigued, I asked her for more details, and she began describing her experience at a surf and yoga school in Bahía Ballena. The more I listened, the more I was interested. But it wasn’t until I heard the company’s name—”Bodhi Surf School”— that I knew I had to reach out to them. After filling out an application and talking with Travis and Adrianne, I was invited to join the team for a few months. The potential for creativity through writing, yoga, surfing, and concern for the environment felt like a door opening, so I quickly accepted. My goals here are simply based on the desire to deepen my understanding of myself.
- Expanding my awareness of environmental issues that we face, so that I can be more of an active participant in combatting them and reduce my own impact
- Deepening my practice of yoga, so that I can be a better teacher for others
- Digging into my writing core in order to develop greater abilities for blogging, processing life as a traveler, and sharing my experiences to create change
- And as major bonuses of being here, I am fulfilling goals of learning how to surf and working on my Spanish speaking skills
The significance of Bodhi
The Buddha became enlightened while he was sitting underneath the Bodhi tree, so symbolically, Bodhi means “enlightenment”. When naming their school, the founders of Bodhi Surf wanted to emphasize the values for which they would stand and base their business ethics upon. Through the teachings of yoga (Pilar is the resident, disciplined, and seasoned teacher of a yoga style that is based on the Ashtanga method) and their corporate responsibility program, the “Ocean Guardian Journey“, they seem to be well on their way. However, there are always opportunities for growth.
Examining Bodhi Surf School through the lens of Martha Honey’s 7 Characteristics of Ecotourism
Because I am still a somewhat unbiased, third party observer, I will take an honest look at their successes and shortcomings in the arena of “real ecotourism”. Ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improves the well-being of local people” by the International Ecotourism Society (TIES). In her book, Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, Who Owns Paradise?, Martha Honey breaks down this definition by listing seven characteristics that describe how a business demonstrates real ecotourism — in other words, how to know when a business is authentically environmentally-conscious. The team here at Bodhi Surf are interested in these tenets of ecotourism; they look up to Martha Honey greatly, and want to see how they size up to her guidelines and how they can improve. Throughout my time here, I will be analyzing and reporting my observations through a series of seven blog posts — so stay tuned!
Read part two of the series here