Dreaming of the Pura Vida
Following our trip to Costa Rica about a year ago, my husband and I tried and tried to figure out how we could purchase and maintain a vacation property there. We had rented a car and drove around the Nicoya Peninsula, spent a few days in each place, and discovered some of the most beautiful places I had ever been. As soon as we arrived, we knew it was where we were meant to be. There is such an amazing vibe and culture, the people are friendly, and the weather is perfect
After a year of numerous discussions, endless dreaming, and mass amounts of research seemed impossible to have both a home in Vancouver (given the outrageously high real estate market) and a vacation property in Costa Rica. It wasn’t until one day my husband asked me what we were waiting for. He said, “are we really going to wait for retirement to enjoy our lives? We should just move there.” We are both in our early 30’s, so retirement is an entire lifetime away for us.
At first, I had every excuse under the sun why moving to Costa Rica wasn’t feasible: our family is here, I love my job, what about our friends? If we leave the booming Vancouver real estate market, will we ever be able to come back? Also, since English isn’t the native language, the idea seems more impossible. And there were so many questions: what would we do for work, what is the cost of living like, when could we make this happen. The questions are endless…
WHY WE CHOSE COSTA RICA
All of my life I’ve wanted to live in the tropics, somewhere hot, and close to the beach. I thought about how hectic our lives are in Vancouver, how the cost of living continues to increase, all the unnecessary things that we own, and how if we move, life could be so much simpler. Not to mention all the things I could knock off my bucket list if we do this.
The numerous questions then changed direction and started to become “why not” and “how can we make this work?” When you actually break it down and put the fear of not being able to hack it in a foreign country, and the fear of the unknown aside, the decision to just do it actually becomes easy.
It wasn’t only the country’s beauty that drew us in. The cost of living in Costa Rica is much lower than in Vancouver, it is relatively easy to get residency in Costa Rica as a Canadian, the government is stable, the healthcare system is one of the best in Latin America, education is free for citizens, Ticos are very eco-conscious, and the pace of life is much slower. All these qualities made it a very attractive place to build our new life.
PLANNING OUR NEW LIFE
Fast-forward 2 months from our decision to make Costa Rica our home: we are in the midst of selling our house in Vancouver and closing out my husband’s construction business; we have purchased a plot of land on the west coast of the Nicoya Penninsula in Nosara (a quaint little surf/yoga town); we have figured out how to stay in Costa Rica long term; and we have a draft business plan for our new Costa Rican company.
Planning to become an expat has been incredibly overwhelming and challenging. My husband and I are trying to downsize our lives in Vancouver and plan our new lives in Costa Rica while both working full-time jobs. We keep hitting road-blocks and are continuously trying to push through them to find another way. There is so much to figure out in terms of when this is going to happen, what we can take with us, and where to start in general.
We are also dealing with multiple other curveballs that life continues to throw at us such as having a dear family member pass away, another going in for surgery and a dog that has needed multiple visits to the vet. Life hasn’t stopped for us to make plans. Everybody has a million things to do all the time and it gets unbelievably stressful. It’s really easy to get caught up in the shit that is happening and continues to happen.
My husband and I have made it our mission to each do at least one thing every single day towards planning our move to paradise. It could be something simple, like researching the cost of living, responding to our lawyers, reading blogs on Costa Rica, practicing Spanish, etc. Doing little things every day will add up to big things in the future. Look at all we have accomplished in two short months. We have fully committed. There is no room for half in half out. We are all in until the very end (which will be in beautiful Costa Rica). Everything is going to be okay.