Costa Rica Cost Of Living Update: Landline phone bill that includes excellent DSL internet service-$45

As I sit here watching two baby monkeys wrestle one another outside my window, it reminds me how lucky I am, how rich I feel. It doesn’t cost me a dime and can’t imagine how a material object can replace the feeling I have now. My life (ironically… with less possessions than ever), is so abundantly full I can’t think of anything I want. So it got me thinking…how much is enough?

Why would a billionaire—someone with all the resources to live a life of insane privilege—steal another couple million.  For example, take Tyco. That CEO made over 100 million dollars a year but had the company pay for his extravagant lifestyle. And it wasn’t just private jets with cute flight attendants serving chocolate covered strawberries. He went the extra mile. He had the company pay for a $6,000 shower curtain and a $15,000 dog umbrella stand. But just when I thought this guy really knows how to live, for his wife’s birthday (disguised as a shareholders meeting) the party featured an ice sculpture of the Statue of David urinating Stolichnaya vodka.  I can do without that umbrella stand, but a urinating ice sculpture is as close to heaven as you are going to get in my opinion.

Warren Buffet just announced he pays 17% in taxes and is asking his friends to pony up, pay more, so we can get out of this economic mess. I try to imagine where they will have to cut their budget, surely not their kids’ college fund, or refraining from getting that latte every morning. Would it mean one less Gulfstream flight? Would they have to rent out their Hamptons house for the month of August? It all feels so excessive to me, and isn’t that how we got into this mess in the first place?

Does the love from your family feel any different if you had a billion? Would these monkeys look any more playful if I had a few million in the bank? Strangely, I was the happiest in my life when I had the least. And my sweetest memories are usually small things, like that weeping willow tree in my grandma’s backyard that shaded us during those hot summer afternoons.

I live here for around $1000 a month. Some might need $2000, and some might need $10,000. Perhaps they want to take their helicopter to the farmers market.  All I know is that I love the simple life, and I’m happy with my calm mornings drinking a cup of coffee and eating a fresh pineapple. I’m actually excited to start my day. I remember those crazy mornings, hitting the alarm clock and trying to summon the strength to put my two feet on the floor to work another day in that office. I don’t take my life for granted anymore; Costa Rica has a way of reminding you of that.

People will always tell you how to live and what to own. I’m sure someone told the Tyco CEO that the $6,000 shower curtain was infinitely better than one bought at Target. But there comes a time when you have to jump into life and not into another mall.

Just look at my friend’s dog, Pelulu. He’s a little apprehensive of the water, but that doesn’t stop him from paddling. He’s ready even before he gets wet.  He reminds me a lot of when I landed here.

I was scared too, but I just kept paddling.

(Thank you to my friend Erin at and her cute dog Pelulu for the footage. )