If I had the choice, which fortunately I do, I’d choose to sponge my energy and inspiration off of Ali Kaukas. You see—this woman epitomizes the art of joyful living through her daily work and interactions. Twice a year we are blessed with Ali’s presence as she totes her huge smile, her camera, and her infectious love of life to Santa Teresa.
A true Yankee, Ali grew up in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Her winters and summers are spent capturing life’s moments as a wedding photographer and the official Wanderlust Festival yoga photographer. During the spring and fall, she travels, taking the opportunity to shoot landscapes, wildlife, and, of course, indulge in play. Luckily for us, Ali has chosen Santa Teresa as her off-season stomping grounds—shedding even more light on our already luminous surroundings. And with only two years of surfing under her belt, she is already charging.
This fall, we caught up with Ali to pick her brain about her dream job and her love for Santa Teresa. Here’s what she had to say…
What do you love about your job as a photographer?
What I love about my “job” is that it is not really a job at all. I don’t think of it as my job because it just feels like a life experience. Working, playing, moving around, and observing places—it all really feels the same to me.
Taking photos, for me, is like doing any activity that I enjoy. I like simply being in the moment—doing, moving, dancing, flowing, and going.
What keeps bringing you back to Costa Rica and to Santa Teresa, in particular?
So many answers could go here. There are the obvious ones like: the surfing, the beach, the ocean, and the sun. Then there’s the fact that I need minimal clothing, I live closer to nature, and I am OUTSIDE most of the day. But the one thing I find myself loving most of all is the change that happens here everyday. Each day, when I am pulled down to the beach [by the ocean], a different situation unfolds in front of me. It’s never the same. I’m always excited to find out what the day will bring and what it will FEEL like.
The true source of my joy is having different encounters with new experiences and learning from my interactions with both humans and nature—listening, with all my senses, to everything.
But the most important answer is: it just feels good to be here! And if that’s the case, there’s really no need to ask myself why.
Check out more of Ali’s photos of the US and Latin America on her Facebook Page.