In less than 2 months, my partner Levi, my Chihuahua and I will pack up our lives in London, Ontario and board a flight to Costa Rica where we plan to make our new home. When we tell people of our plans, we get a lot of people raising their eyebrows at us, and look at us like we are crazy. The biggest questions we get are generally, “Why?”, and “Why Costa Rica?”. The first thing I respond with is “Why not?”, but there is a lot more to it of course.
When Levi and I met, we automatically recognized that we had a love for travel in common. He had just spent 5 years living off and on in the Dominican Republic. I, myself, had studied abroad in Ireland my early twenties, and had just spent some time in Guatemala, which started off a long love-affair with Latin America. When we came together, so did our passions for travel, and that passion multiplied as we shared our stories of our travels and our dreams for where we would like to go. We had decided to go to Costa Rica a long time ago – this was something we had been cooking up for more than a year, and we knew that it would be something we would achieve together for reasons I’ll soon explain. When it just so happened that when I got the opportunity to travel to Kenya and Rwanda last year for work, those destinations had been on his list too – we traveled those countries together for 2 weeks while I worked, with an awesome stop-over in Amsterdam, and ever since then, we knew that our timeline to get to Costa Rica would have to be significantly shortened to be able to treat our “itchy feet” (the stuff that Gold Bond will never cure).
Life has led us to the point where we decided to significantly shorten our timeline to move to Costa Rica, and we couldn’t be more ready. So, to get back to the reasons I decided to quit the North American lifestyle and move to Costa Rica…
Simply, life is too short not to. My Dad was an avid traveler and got to see so many countries and visit significant destinations in his lifetime. The sad part about it all is that all these travel adventures happened within the 10-year span of his life between retirement and when he passed away from cancer. Everyone has the attitude that they will wait for their dedicated 2 or 3 weeks of vacation to see the world and enjoy themselves, or wait until retirement to do all their traveling. There is no guarantee on tomorrow, and I saw that in my Dad’s life journey. I am not going to wait until I am 55 to have all these wonderful travel experiences. I’m going to strive to have them every day that I have left on this earth!
I need to reclaim my own time. For the first decade of my career, I sold my life, soul, time and energies to someone else. I actively and fervently pursued moving from a contract role to gaining a full time, permanent position that gave me access to a very nice salary, a benefits plan, and a pension. These were great financial benefits, but what did I pay for these? I gave my time – I gave every day from 8:30 – 4:30pm where I was required to be at a certain place and put in 35 hours. I gave my evenings and weekends to catch up on what my 35 hours in the office couldn’t cover. My sleep was consumed by my to-do lists and planning how I would literally schedule my day down to the 15 minutes. For my salary, benefits, and pension, I gave my time – my LIFE! I am currently transitioning out of traditional employment, and will soon be 100% self-employed. While I am essentially still selling my time, I am able to be conscious of WHAT time I am selling and to whom, and choose WHEN I am selling it. It couldn’t feel more freeing to be losing that feeling of being time-bound. I’ve never been more productive in my life since I choose to use my time the way I want!
I am choosing to live “location independent”. Location independence allows you to do your work at any time from anywhere, providing you have access to internet. I have set my business up so that I will literally be able to work from the beach, in a hammock, in my office, in a commercial space, at a coffee shop, in my bed, in Costa Rica, in Canada, in East Africa, or South East Asia, or anywhere my itchy feet takes me. When I go places, my work comes with me, so I will have the freedom to structure my life so that at any given moment, I can enjoy living and working in the settings, both locally and internationally, that bring me the most enjoyment. Location independence, of course, is not possible for every career, and it wasn’t possible for my career until now, but I have found a way that I can turn what I have been doing all my career into a thriving business that will allow me to work from wherever… providing I have an internet connection. For those times where I may find myself a bit more remote, I will have to get creative.
Costa Rica seems to offer all we want in a country. We intentionally chose Costa Rica, even though neither of us have ever even been there. When we first made our plan, we decided that we would forego a “scouting trip” to see if we liked Costa Rica. By doing our research alone through books, the internet, and especially YouTube, we quickly found that Costa Rica has everything that we want in a country. First, Costa Rica is one of the most eco-diverse countries in the world. I absolutely love being in environments that are lush and green and breathtakingly beautiful (like Ireland and Rwanda), and Costa Rica seems to have it all. Second, Costa Rica has such a diversity of regions that span both the Caribbean and the Pacific, which will provide us so many excellent opportunities to explore. Third, we both love the heat and hate cold and snow. I, for one, have this medical condition called cold urticaria where my body literally cannot withstand cold without breaking into hives, respiratory problems, or at worst, anaphylaxis. I have had enough of winter. Levi too, is a beach bum at heart, and prefers the heat, mostly due to his DR days. Fourth, Costa Rica does not have a standing army. Levi and I are both pacifists, both having studied war and what divides people through different opportunities in our lives. We want to get away from the idea that the only way to solve things is through war and army mobilization. While we aren’t directly affected by the army here in Canada every day (except for the Army Base down the street from us), we like the idea of pacifism as a philosophy. Fifth, Costa Rica is a very common expatriate destination. While we have the greater goal of integrating as much as we can (which has its limitations), we like the idea that Costa Rica has been a choice destination for people like us for years. It’s been great to see the forums of expats and realize that Costa Rica living is a pretty nice choice for life.
It has been interesting to see that people have had strange reactions to our moving to Costa Rica. They think we are naïve, or just throwing caution to the wind like the hippies we are and moving to Costa Rica to live like beach bums. Where there may be some truth to this, we are both actually doing this to advance our careers to pursue a new type of lifestyle. On top of this, it’s not that hard to move. We have found that the process isn’t that difficult and actually pretty fun! We have spent a great deal of time learning from others’ experiences and reading up on all our requirements. We have thought through the important details of our travel, our visas, and our timing. While we don’t have everything figured out, that’s part of the experience of it all – figuring it out when we get there. We are so excited for the unknowns and the adventure of it all.
I plan to write on various aspects of why I chose to leave North America in pursuit of a global life as this adventure unfolds for myself and Levi. We have a lot that we would like to share about this experience in order to show others that if you have an interest to make the world your home, you can do it. Stay tuned as we continue to update with blogs and videos. Buckle up, and come along for our adventure!