Scout and her Radical Sabbatical

Posted by Playa Viva on April 20, 2024

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s truly like to spend an entire month with us, you’re in for a treat. Meet Scout, a familiar face here at Playa Viva who graced us with her presence for a month during Low Season last year. Join us as we explore her motivations, follow her journey, and discover how her month-long stay exceeded even her wildest expectations.

All photos included were taken by Scout during her radical sabbatical

What drew you to book in for a month long stay?

There are things in my life that are so obvious that they bypass thinking and go right to YES. The decision to return to Playa Viva for a month was clearly one of those. 

I first visited Playa Viva in May 2023 as part of a memoir-writing workshop, with a gifted facilitator and somatic healer named Janelle Hardy. While at Playa Viva, through all the support the entire experience provided, from Janelle, her mother and daughter, the Playa Viva staff, the other guests, the ocean’s overwhelming constancy in the overall environment and, I have to say most delightfully, the baby turtles, my whole system relaxed and opened to a new depth.

I was at a point of profound change in my life. My mother, the last of her generation, had passed the previous year. I had moved, bought a house, retired from my job and entered a new phase of grandmotherhood, where I am more able to help support my single-parenting daughter-in-law. All of these things called on me to deepen my understanding of who I am and what I want now. I had a new level of financial abundance which brought me to needing to grapple with what “help” means. 

It put me in a place from which I have a different perspective about what matters and how things work.

This same sort of shift has happened often enough for me in my life that I can now recognize and name the process that I was in: I was fully aware of being in the process of stepping up, making another shift of orientation.

Some of those shifts have been finding the museum I grew up inside, leaving the museum as a young adult, leaving home, getting married, having children, building a business, selling the business, getting divorced…as I write this, I see the pattern in a way I had not before – it is a pattern of finding, joining and leaving family or tribe. When family or tribe is all I have ever wanted, I keep finding it and leaving it.

So…the one thing I know about the big moments in my life is that in a way that is hard to put into words, life shows up and gives me nudges, picks me up and puts me places…life shows up and lets me know what’s next. It shows up as the sort of no-brainer that the decision to return to Playa Viva was. 

At the same time, at the deepest level I knew that what I was actually doing in this return was simply saying yes to life, and putting myself within easy reach of life’s next message, whatever it might be.

What were your expectations for your time at Playa Viva and how did that time live up to those expectations? 

I was about to say I didn’t hold real expectations, but as I think about my arrival, I see that’s not true. I expected to have it be the way it had been in May. I expected other guests with whom to sit and talk over coffee, people to meet and enjoy. And what happened was the minute I arrived, Ricardo smiled and said, “Wow, this is going to be amazing, during most of your stay you are going to be the only guest here!” (I had booked into the last month available and was there for the rainiest, buggiest, hottest, most humid season the resort is open for. The day I left, they closed for the full-on rain season). Happily, I watched myself pivot easily into the new conditions and become fine with it being whatever it was going to be. That was really nice – it felt triumphant to get to “OK” so quickly.

How did Playa Viva and the team support you in meeting your needs for your 1-month sabbatical? 

Well, given that I was there alone, the staff was even more crucial than they might have been. We became family. After a few days it occurred to me I had an opportunity for a bit of a Spanish immersion, which I had been wanting, so I asked them for help. Once they saw that I was serious, and really appreciated being instructed and corrected, they really worked with me. Soon they asked to use me as well, to help them with their English. That was funny – I got a chance to have yet another false belief taken down. I thought they knew far more English than they did, and it turned out that mostly we were all just smiling and nodding at one another, and it was working. I loved relaxing into that.

Given that the question I arrived with was about family and tribe, and who am I now around these ideas, feeling the family aspect of Playa Viva was monumental. I had been booked into Habitacion 1, which meant I was all the way out at the end. The staff encouraged me to move closer in, which I resisted at first. I was in my comfortable place, way out on the edge, free to sit naked on the porch and play my guitar and sing at the top of my lungs without anyone hearing me. So I said, “No, thanks – I’m fine out here.” They’d check in  now and then, always a gentle invitation, and I’d say, “No, I’m fine. Really.”

And then about ten days in, I realized what I was doing. The same old thing. The beautiful Playa Viva family was down there, inviting me closer, inviting me in, and I was holding back, keeping a safe distance. So, after a very interesting conversation with myself I made the choice to lean in and move closer. 

Giving myself permission, having the understanding and leaning into the feeling that Playa Viva was my family was monumental. A lot of very very wonderful things have emerged from that decision. The decision to try something radically differently, around the idea of family has had ripples everywhere in my life.

What makes Playa Viva a good place for a radical sabbatical?

So – for me, I would say that Playa Viva provided the level of extreme loving support I needed to challenge some very basic beliefs in my system. For me, Playa Viva offers a true, felt experience of what it means to be loved and supported. 

Any advice for others wanting to take a sabbatical at Playa Viva in the future?

Listen. When you feel the call, lean in. Step in. Give it a try. You never know. But odds are, it’s going to be amazing.

Hearing myself say that makes me think it’s the exact same instructions I would give someone thinking about a fire walk. So – yeah. A month at Playa Viva is going to be a firewalk as well as a walk on the beach. It will be a lot of things, not just peace love and joy. Some of it will be hard, lonely and hot with a lot of bugs.

The adventure is never the one thing I think it is. And I can resist the call with the best of them. So if it helps, here’s some personal self-talk I use. 

Scout. You can do this. You don’t have to. Simply feeling the call is amazing. 

And remember, Scout, if you do step in, odds are it will be worth every single bit of what it takes, and more.

We are so grateful to Scout for sharing these beautiful words and photos with us. If you are interested in discussing extended stays with a long-term discount contact our reservations team on



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