6 Days and 900 Miles – Day 1

My intention was to post as I went along. Its not that I couldn’t. Lord knows there is wifii almost everywhere down in Costa Rica. I was simply immersed in each and every moment! Oh my, the moments! I have loads of photos so I’ll post some of them for you.

From the moment we left the Ft Lauderdale airport it was a perfect day. There was a bit of turbulence as we rose above some puffy clouds but the flight went off without a hitch.

imagePhoto by Lisa Nelson – somewhere over the Everglades, ©2016

We had a rental car waiting on us when we flew into San Jose and the Avis courier picked us right up from the airport. It was so easy. Although we bought a paper map, I suggested we rent one of the Ezfind GPS Navigation tablets advertised in the airport when we landed. Since we planned on exploring the country on our own it turned out to be a God send. As anyone knows who has visited before, there are no street signs or names of streets in most rural locations. People don’t have house numbers or actual street addresses like we do in the US. They don’t need one. It all works perfectly well as it is. More about that later.
The Ezfind can get you anywhere throughout Costa Rica. It will even tell you detours to take if there is congestion or issues ahead. It will also notify you if “You’re over the speed limit” and although we found it very irritating to continually hear this message every time we bumped up over the limit by a smidgen, we were grateful since speeding tickets are $600, so the Avis agent told us.  If you have a Garmin, I’d suggest get a copy for yourself from Navsat before you go if you intend on doing any driving  http://www.navsat.com/en/maps/ .

IMG_20160306_173901_472.jpgPhoto by Lisa Nelson – La Paz Rio, Costa Rica ©2016

The first thing we did was travel up 126 to see La Paz waterfall. Since we flew in on a Sunday the place was swarming with people. Tourist buses, cars, motorcycles and pedestrians. Wow!

IMG_20160306_173809_492Photo by Lisa Nelson – La Paz Waterfall, Costa Rica ©2016

Winding through mountain roads on our way to Arenal we realized we were really hungry so we stopped at a wonderful restaurant called La-Choza de Laurel in La Fortuna. There I had my first cup of coffee made the traditional way using a chorreador. The waiter rolled a cart to our table and proceeded to grind fresh roasted coffee beans into a bowl. This was then loaded into the cloth funnel of the chorreador and boiling water was added. The freshest cup of coffee I’ve ever had dripped right into the cup the barista placed under the chorreador ‘sock’. Amazing!

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Photos by Lisa Nelson – La-Choza de Laurel, La Fortuna, Costa Rica ©2016

One thing I loved about traveling through the countryside, all the restaurants we stopped at were open-air establishments. There was always either ceiling fans going or wonderful breezes. And oddly I never saw a fly until we ate our first meal beachside at Playa Conchal. And come to think of it, with all the concern about the Zika virus in the US media lately, I never saw one mosquito until our last night in San Jose before we left to go home. Every place we went had open windows and fresh air. I can’t tell you how refreshing that was.

Here’s a photo of our marvelous dinner of typical Costa Rican fare consisted of grilled chicken, onion and peppers with corn tortillas, plantains, rice and beans and pico de gallo. IMG_20160306_202727_418Photo by Lisa Nelson – La-Choza de Laurel, La Fortuna, Costa Rica ©2016

After dinner we finally checked in at our hotel, Los Lagos in Arenal. The top of the volcano was shrouded in clouds that night so we weren’t able to see any activity but as we were concerned, sleep was the only thing we wanted at that moment.

Day two is next, stay tuned for more photos…

Tomorrow is the day!

We are scurrying around after a long week of working, throwing things into suitcases and double checking our list. It’s Pura Vida time!! I can’t wait to get started on this journey. My camera is charged and I have extra batteries. We’re taking the GoPro too. If I’m going to be strapped into a zip line harness, I may as well record what I’m seeing (although I have a feeling Julian will be the one to use the GoPro. After all, it WAS his birthday present 😝)
Photos coming soon!

Moving to Costa Rica? Let’s Break It Down; Pt 1

Sharing the how’s of a successful move to Costa Rica.

IMG_20151011_183049_674.jpgphoto by LKNelson 2015

If you’re considering moving to Costa Rica like me, then I am sure you have a thousand questions about the process. Since there are so many websites, forums, Facebook groups, videos and other information to sift through online as well as in print it can be confusing if not overwhelming.
I certainly don’t propose that I am a source for any one but I certainly can share my own research with anyone who cares to digest it and follow up for themselves. My hope is that this series of blog posts are helpful and useful in some way.

So lets jump right in and start digging through the info.

Lots of people have moved to Costa Rica from the United States, Canada, Mexico and all around the world. Some simply sold everything, flew there with a few suitcases, and winged it from day one. I’ve also read about people who visited for several months at a time so they could become familiar with different areas of the country and finally chose where they wanted to live, and THEN returned home to prepare for their move. Which way is better? That depends on you. What are you comfortable with? What are your needs? Are you moving as a single person or with a family or children in tow? Also, are you financially able to take your time and “wing it” to find your place in the sun or do you need to plan a strategy to make the move a viable success? Everyone’s situation is different and one person’s experience who has already made the move may have similarities to our own journey but there will always be differences too. Finding out what is important to you is crucial in making the move a success.

First we have to know our reasons for moving. For me I want a more relaxed, less stressful life where the weather is nice all year round. I also want to be able to afford decent health care and to live comfortably. I started late in life in providing for my retirement years due to some unforeseen changes that altered my path and purpose. Therefore I have to be completely honest with myself about my financial future and plan accordingly.
Another factor that impacts my decisions is that I’m a bone cancer survivor who had a knee fusion years ago.  My range of mobility is less than what it used to be because of this and it is extremely important that I continue to be active and remain strong so I do not become limited in my ability to care for myself when I get older.

After you’ve come up with your “Why’s”, the next step is to figure out how. I’m going to share what I’ve found out about tourist and work visas, requirements for residency, banking and more. Look for my next post this weekend.

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Planning the Adventure

One of our planned stops in our travels, Poás Volcano, Costa Rica – Photo by © Julian Dunleavy 2015

Sometimes things feel more secure when all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. However there seems to be inherent excitement (or fear) when you just go with the flow or throw caution to the wind. If you’ve lived long enough and experienced both you realize that a nice balance in the middle can be just what the doctor ordered. At least that’s a good standard that I measure things by. I love being spontaneous and enjoy the journey while traveling but at least I want to have an idea of where I’m going. Wandering aimlessly may work in some instances but my trip to Costa Rica is not one of those times. So JJ and I have been planning bit by bit. The trip is in 3 weeks now and we can hardly wait.

The plane tickets are purchased but we have not nailed down all the places we will be staying. This is my early birthday trip (I’m an April baby) and it will be a wonderful opportunity for me to become more familiar with the country. At first we thought about  doing just the resort thing. Being pampered while watching a steamy live volcano, zip lining through the trees, and rafting down rivers would be amazing. And although we’ll be staying a couple days around the Arenal volcano to take in the sights and enjoy some of the activities there, we decided that making a trek through Costa Rica’s countryside would be more productive and satisfy our adventurous spirits at the same time.

I’ve been reading like a crazy woman lately, practicing my Spanish, and gleaning every bit of info I can from people who have already done what I want to do – move to another country. So much prep work to do! I’ve moved a LOT in my life so there will be similarities but this kind of move places you in an entirely different culture with potential language barriers etc. I think of the immigrants who came (and still come) to the US throughout the history of this country. They didn’t have it easy. Think of the challenges they faced and what they had to overcome. Amazing courage and spirit!  I surely don’t see or place myself in the company of such amazing souls. I am simply following my own inner calling if you will. Something that’s been on my radar for years. I don’t talk about a lot of this but I realize that perhaps I should. There are others who might be doing exactly the same thing.

I have so much to share. And since there will be plenty of wifi throughout the country, I am hoping to upload new photos and blog posts along the way. I hope you will follow along with me. It will be an interesting time of discovery!


30 days and counting…

12592313_10201497035065793_6252401309704713047_n2015 Photo by Julian J Dunleavy

My first trip to Costa Rica is right around the corner. Plans are made, Arenal Lodge is booked, and tickets are almost in hand. We’re watching the prices of flights drop with the decreased fuel prices. Well at least we hope they are. Today is the day that we seal the deal with the airlines!

JJ and I are traveling down in the beginning of March which is still considered the dry or high season, also known as the summer season as opposed to the wet or green season which begins in April and runs through November. To read more about the climate in Costa Rica, check out http://www.govisitcostarica.com/travelInfo/climate.asp.

We’re packing light so we can just carry on backpacks. I hate checking luggage! We’ve previously managed to take a whole week’s worth of clothing and essentials on a trip to Las Vegas before just in our backpacks so I have no worries about this trip. I toss both wrinkle-free garments and a small travel size spray bottle of Downy’s Wrinkle remover into my bag.  If we were traveling someplace cold there would be far too many things with bulkier fabric to pack. I’d definitely need a large suitcase then. But this is easy. Plus, I don’t have to worry about losing my luggage or spending time at the baggage claim. We are able to start our adventure right away. I love simplicity!

For the first part of our journey we will be staying at one of the lodges around the Arenal Volcano, http://www.volcanolodge.com/. Later in the week we will be returning to San Jose and the surrounding areas, becoming more familiar with the Central Valley. I am going to be a picture taking nut! I’ll be posting on my Instagram (www.instagram.com/kindredwholistic) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/KindredWholistic), or you can follow what’s going on by following me on twitter (twitter.com/KindredWholism).

In future posts I’ll be sharing more of what I’ve been discovering in all the books I’ve been reading and research I’ve been doing. Stay tuned!

Planning For My First Visit

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 1.47.29 PM.png
Photo courtesy of Volcano Lodge, Arenal, Costa Rica

My birthday is in April and this year instead of taking a Caribbean cruise, my dearest JJ and I are finally going to Costa Rica. He has been there many times but this is my first trip. I’ve had many other friends who have visited there too but this will be my maiden voyage, so to speak.

I was off for Christmas holidays this year and I spent half in Florida with JJ’s family and then I flew to Asheville to see my family in the mountains. It wasn’t as cold as I expected this year. I didn’t even need a coat. I just missed the cold blast which blew through after I left. Seeing the snow would have been nice but considering my immune system was a little overtaxed with stress lately, I’m glad I wasn’t subjected to that climate change as well.

My new year started off with a bang of sorts. Situations and concerns beyond my control had been growing and apparently gave my system one too many hits. I subsequently suffered my first bout with sudden onset HIGH blood pressure. I ended up at urgent care and then the emergency room last week. Many tests and bills later… here I am. I consider it a wake up call.

I love my peace, quiet and harmony but lately I’ve not had even a second to myself to hear my own thoughts. Well frankly its been that way for over a year now.  I love my job, however the time away from home, the inability to cook healthy or even cook at all, the lack of rest and sleep has all made it clear that something in my life needs to change, and to change quickly. The recent trip to the ER was the confirmation I needed. We all think we’re invincible until something happens. I survived cancer as a child. I don’t want to trade my health and the remaining years I have left as an adult for stress and illness. I don’t want to be tied to medications and worry. So its time to MAKE the time to get healthy again. JJ and I are planning our early “retirement” to Costa Rica and after my birthday trip everything will be geared toward sorting through, pitching out, and giving away. We want uncluttered lives. We want to live and laugh again like we did when we were children. Less stress with more fun.  Oh! It feels strange to say I want to have more fun. As an adult it seems like that statement is so irresponsible. Is it? Of course not!  Why can’t we enjoy ourselves as adults, and why shouldn’t we? The truth is we should! It’s a known fact that laughter and happiness heals. We choose these things. We can be happy in the midst of a storm by choosing to focus on the positive. And yes, there is always positive somewhere. We need to use our imaginations again. We need to activate our minds to create new visions. We must allow ourselves to dream, not give in to becoming numb to the “fate” that others tell us is the norm.
A photo JJ shared with me today.  This is “reality” for the majority in America today.

We need to expect and strive for more than this. To me, the important things are time and ability to spend it with loved ones, to have time to teach, time to affect others in positive ways, time to build up and put back positive into the world.  If you drill down to discover the root of hostility and road rage for example, these things come from frustration, lack of time, lack of peace, lack of love. If people can’t feed themselves both figuratively and literally, they starve and have nothing left to give anyone else.

Now that I’ve had some fun with my little rant I will say so long for the moment. I am off today and will be researching some more about opportunities, advantages, and requirements for living in Costa Rica. Next post I will share what I find out. Stay tuned!

Happy New Year 2016!

Welcome 2016!  Here’s a photo I snapped out my car window as I sped along the Great Smoky Mountain Express Way to the Asheville Airport for my return trip to Florida on New Year’s Eve. The clouds and fog made the mountainous countryside almost ethereal.IMG_20151231_133112_511-1.jpg


I-40 East, Asheville NC

I’d say 2015 was great for so many reasons. It may have had challenges, but what year doesn’t?  Have you noticed how the News Media and television Networks have made a tradition out of recounting the year’s previous “noteworthy” news events, tragedies, or celebrity deaths which occurred throughout the year?  Interesting. Life is what we make it so I have decided to create my own New Year’s tradition. I now choose to usher in the new year by recounting all the previous year’s positive things that happened in my life. It spawns gratitude instead of generating sadness or depression for me. So Hooray for happy!

May this New Year bring many wonderful things to all of you. Let’s gather all the priceless memories we can – I believe those are the flowers we are supposed to stop and smell along the way 😀