A little house on the beach. Could you leave all your possessions behind and live a simpler life?

Little Beach House

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: Picking bananas from a tree in your backyard—free

When we first moved to Costa Rica eight years ago, we came with only a cat named Pumpkin, a dog named Clementine, and a couple battered suitcases. We rented a small guesthouse on top of a mountain in Grecia. Although there were challenges, we were happier than we had ever been before.

Rob started playing guitar and we both started working out again. During this decompression phase, I began writing about all of the funny things that were happening… and there were many. When one decides to quit their job and run away to a foreign country, you get roped into many ridiculous scenarios.

After emailing my stories to friends from an Internet cafe, I was encouraged to search for a publisher. However, all of my queries were met with the same response, “Great writing but no one is interested in a book about Costa Rica. Do you have anything about vampires?” Continue reading “A little house on the beach. Could you leave all your possessions behind and live a simpler life?” »

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Keep Your Daydream Podcast: Why You Should Be Living an Extraordinary Life

You Should Be Here

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: 8.3 lb watermelon— $3

Are you someone who is constantly daydreaming? Are people telling you to get your head out of the clouds? If this is you, guess what… you’re not alone!

There are plenty of people following their passions, even when everyone around them thinks they’re crazy. Tricia, at Keep Your Daydream Podcasts, tracks down these daydreamers to find out what makes them tick.

Whether you fantasize about sailing around the Caribbean or driving an RV across the country, listening to other people’s stories is a great first step to get the courage to do it yourself.

Be extraordinary and live your own version of an extraordinary life!

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Engineering, Building Codes, and Earthquakes in Costa Rica

Happier Than A Billionaire Bed and BreakfastCosta Rica Cost of Living Update: A high-end, thirty-inch stainless steel kitchen sink— $500. Anyone feel like sticking that in their luggage?

The biggest question I’m getting about building our bed and breakfast in Costa Rica concerns earthquakes.

“Are there codes you’re following?” they ask. I don’t blame people for inquiring. If you had the unfortunate experience of being caught in one, it’s something you’ll never forget.

We had a whopper of an earthquake a few years back. A 7.6  blast that was so strong, it felt like a bomb had exploded underneath us: a bomb that lasted close to sixty seconds. I was sure we were going to die while Rob was convinced we would live. What could have destroyed most of Guanacaste did not do as much damage as one might have predicted, and that is due to the strict earthquake engineering codes in Costa Rica.

When I asked my engineer, Alberto Solano, about my concerns over building a tremor-safe house, he reassured me. “Costa Rica safety codes are strict, and they are based on international ones that are also used in California. As you can see, we had a big earthquake and there was minimal damage.”

When we were digging out trenches for our foundation, Alberto walked me through the process. “There are a lot of calculations when building a house. What is the weight? How does it impact the soil below? It’s important you dig down to the hardest part of the soil. We want a strong foundation to avoid settling.”

In Costa Rica there is something called Tico Time: a more laid back way of living. “Manana,” is something you hear often when trying to get anything done. However, Alberto is not on Tico Time, and he makes sure that the plans for our house are safe and in accordance with strict engineering codes. I feel good that he is part of this process. Engineers are interesting people so I asked him why he chose this profession. I’m happy to learn he comes from a long line of Costa Rican engineers. Continue reading “Engineering, Building Codes, and Earthquakes in Costa Rica” »

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Building in Costa Rica

Building in Costa RicaCosta Rica Cost of Living Update: One huge papaya—$1.20

It’s been seven years, but we never gave up! I’m happy to announce that Rob and I just broke ground on our new home in the Mar Vista Community just outside Flamingo! But it gets even better: we decided to build a bed and breakfast so that others can enjoy Costa Rica as much as we do.

For sure there will be a pool, and Rob is already designing a garden with organic fruit trees. I would love to have an outdoor space for dining and barbecuing, and a patio off the second floor. My head spins with ideas, but I know how easy it is to get carried away with one’s budget. Rob and I have to be practical, but there has been nothing practical about our adventure from the start. Maybe for us, being “unpractical” works out the best. Continue reading “Building in Costa Rica” »

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5 Differences Between Expat vs Tourist Living in Costa Rica

Living like a local in Costa RicaCosta Rica Cost of Living Update: A six-foot yellow coconut tree—$12

I’m often asked for advice on how to travel like a local as opposed to a tourist. (It’s as if the word “tourist” is a vulgarity, one which summons up images of guys wearing sandals with socks or rocking undersized Speedos on the beach). I’m always eager to help but this is a tough question.

The answer is not cut and dry since it all depends on how long you’ll be here and what areas of the country you’ll be visiting. If you are only visiting for two weeks, it may be more difficult to accomplish the goal of living like a local. But if you are settling in for 6 months or more, you begin to understand the ins and outs of living in the areas you will be visiting. Continue reading “5 Differences Between Expat vs Tourist Living in Costa Rica” »

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