Paloma Azul_Pool2

Salt Gypsy and Bliss Surf Adventures recently connected as – let`s face it – collaboration between women in business, and in life, can be powerful. We enjoyed hearing founder Jessica Arnold`s story and we can`t wait to meet up for a surf, have a few beers in the rocking chairs at sunset (see below) and maybe, just maybe, try our hand (or booty) at salsa on a Costa Rican d-floor. Till then ladies, you`ll have to enjoy it all for me as every salt gypsy who makes a booking with Bliss is entitled to a $100 USD discount off your trip and 15% discount at our newly opened surf boutique. We also have some Salt Gypsy x Bliss collab surf leggings in the pipeline too. `Cos you know ladies, we want to see you in the lineup with us and we want to see you looking rad. Here`s the lowdown….

We know your concept for Bliss developed on the plane home from a trip to Costa Rica but can you tell us more about how you`ve actually  been making your dream become reality…BLISS started out fairly smoothly & developed slow. It was really organic because I didn’t force anything. I had this vision for a Surf Adventure camp for women but at first my clients came by word of mouth. They didn’t know much about BLISS yet as it was fairly new and unknown, but they had heard about other people’s experiences with “Jess” so with that they wanted to book with me. Soon I had people calling or emailing me from out of the blue saying, “hey I want a trip, can you take me to Costa Rica & teach me to surf?” OBVIOUSLY my answer was YES! As I continued to do this for small groups I ran into several people telling me I really needed to take this to the next level. It took a couple of years for me to take the steps forward, but suddenly the timing seemed right, opportunities began presenting themselves & BLISS developed into what it is today. I’d say making this dream a reality has come by way of really supportive & stoked clients that kept returning to surf with me year after year. They really inspired me to take BLISS to the next level and now that we’re here I’m just focused on spreading the word!

Paloma Azul_Inside Rancho 1st Floor

So what can we expect from a retreat with Bliss? Our trips are designed for the adventurer at heart. There’s so much to see & do, and plenty of pampering too for those who want it!  People come to our camp in Costa Rica to learn to surf but they end up experiencing  more than just amazing surf. The adventure starts on the drive in, on a long dirt road where it’s not uncommon to find yourself yielding to a  herd of cattle being guided by local ranchers. There is so much wildlife to be seen in Costa Rica – Howler monkeys, iguanas, beautiful birds,  and many friendly beach dogs 🙂 Outside of surfing, yoga & spa treatments there is tons to do like zip lining through the jungle canopy, riding horses on the beach, paddle boarding through the mangroves, dancing the night away to reggae. It really is an experience unlike any other and our guests are usually planning their next trip with BLISS before we even drop them at the airport.
Who normally books in for a stay..are ladies alright to book on their own? Absolutely! We have a lot of people book solo which works out great. Between surfing together, goofing around waiting for the tide, having meals together etc. our guests end up making friends with each other & the surf staff. Although they may have shown up alone, most guests end up leaving with new-found friendships. We welcome the solo traveller and we can accommodate groups too.
This looks like a sweet spot to flop with a cold beer after a surf!

This looks like a sweet spot to flop with a cold beer after a surf!

All start-up businesses encounter challenges along the path to success. What have been some for you and how have you overcome them? I’d say the major challenge I originally had was doubt. Sometimes starting out when there is a lot of work to be done and lots of unknowns, self-doubt can be really challenging. I got through it by receiving lots of positive feedback from really supportive clients and because I have a really encouraging family & husband too. Sometimes you just have to tell that little voice that whispers “What are you doing? GET A REAL JOB” to shut up! Haha, of course there are more stable paths out there, like being an accountant for example (which is the degree I earned at University & the industry I originally began working in) but once I started down this path with BLISS I couldn’t turn back. I feel really lucky to be doing something that gives me so much joy at the end of the day whatever the challenges might be. I know deep down they’re worth overcoming 100%.

Words you live by…
“Time is tickin’ away”  My dad would  say this phrase and at the risk of sounding morbid, he’d say it as we’d  pass by this cemetery that had a big clock at the entrance. To understand the significance of the words you’d have to know he was a  total cowboy, pilot, adventurer – think Jimmy Buffett (author interjection: we don`t know who Jimmy  Buffett is Down Under but we think he`s this guy). All he mean`t was  LIFE IS SHORT and you never know which day will be your last so ENJOY  IT. LIVE IT. LOVE IT. & TAKE RISKS.
He passed away in a plane crash when I was nine years old but his life has been my inspiration for how I approach my own – taking risks, embracing adventure, loving people, and counting my blessings.
Top 10 essential surf travel items:
Besides a couple boards right?
1) Sunscreen. I really like Headhunter, especially the beige tinted face stick.
2) Bug Spray
3) Bikini – the kind stays on when you duck dive or get tossed around.
4) First Aid Kit. I always have band-aids and antibiotic cream. I cut up my feet at this really remote break in the south of Costa Rica called  Pavones, and my First-Aid Kit saved MY LIFE! (ok so maybe drama comes  naturally to me but what I mean is it made life easier.
5) At least 2 pairs of flops (author interjection: jandals if you`re a Kiwi, thongs if you`re an Aussie, and flip flops if you`re a Yank). I’ve blown out a sandal dancing, lost one in the mud in Nicaragua, and lost a pair on the beach (totally my fault – hid them too well). Anyway, flops are essential and you need to travel  with more than one pair. My favourite brand is Havaiana.
6) “It’s a 10” Leave in conditioner/detangler. My hair will start to dread after just one surf session if I’m not careful & brushing it out can be painful so I always pack a bottle.
7) Copy of my passport – just in case. I had my passport stolen in Italy once so I know how important this is.
8) Ipod & speaker dock – for spontaneous dance parties.
9) Ear Drops –  Won’t leave home without them!
10) Coin purse. I never carry one in the States because you can use a card anywhere & our coins aren’t worth much BUT but in Central America you’ll end up carrying around tons of coins.
Your favourite surf spot or destination…Costa Rica of course! At least for surf. There are so many good spots all over the country. I also really like the British Virgin Islands – there’s not much surf there but it’s really relaxing and beautiful.
If we came to visit you in Costa Rica, where would you take us for a good  `ol salsa booty-shake-down (it`s on my bucket list to learn to salsa!).  Delicious coffee? Sunset cocktails?? In our beach town a place called Chaman is a really popular spot. It’s really laid back and they play good music…you can chill with a beer or turn it into a dance party. If you really want to learn to salsa stopping off at a local spot off the beaten path is your best bet. In Costa Rica little boys learn to salsa when they start walking. All you need is a good partner to look like you know what you’re doing! (not hard to find if you steer clear of the tourists ;). As for good coffee, you can find it almost ANYWHERE! Costa Rica is known for it’s amazing coffee & even the tiniest Sodas (local restaurants) serve a good cup. Our Surf Spa has an amazing bar with great cocktails, or there’s this cute little place called La Vela Latina just south of our town with rocking chairs on the beach. It’s my favorite spot to have a drink & watch the sunset.
jesssurf2Jessica Arnold is the founder of Bliss Surf Adventures. Salt Gypsy has partnered up with Bliss so if you would like to make a booking, click here and make sure you quote ‘Salt Gypsy’ when making your booking. This will give you a $100 discount yeow! 
All Bliss guests are also entitled to a 15% discount at the Salt Gypsy surf boutique so we can have you looking smokin` hot and feeling foxy in the lineup.
Want to read what other wahine think of their Bliss experience? Click here.
Want to style your surf wardrobe? Click here.

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