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

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, 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 ( and Facebook page (, or you can follow what’s going on by following me on twitter (

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

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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 😀

Colorful Visions for the future… My Mood Board

As I mentioned before I am taking a course on blogging and how to do it with style! It’s called Blogging Your Way Which is offered by  Holly Becker on her website She really gets you thinking. I’m having a lot of fun with it and learning a lot too. This may sound like a plug for her class but I actually want to share some things that might inspire some others.

I started a blog about health and healing over a year ago but abandoned it due to frustration and lack of direction. Although I’ve written throughout my life, blogging takes more than recording diary entries. There’s a bit more finesse and pizazz that could be incorporated to enhance the enjoyment of the readers so… here I am traveling along the learning curve. Gosh there are so many cool tools out there.

This week our homework assignment was to create a Mood Board, a presentation board of sorts, to illustrate either what we like about our current blog or perhaps how we envision our future concept of our blog. My Mood Board is a representation of how I want to develop my blog. It turned out well, uh… at least I like it.  It incorporates all the elements I hope to develop my business into, which is the spring board and reason I started blogging anyway… to offer information and health promoting ideas for folks just like myself.

So here’s my Board:

In this collage I have included many aspects I resonate with. I have grouped some of my favorite personal photos as well as some which represent the future of my business. The tropical Caribbean islands, palm trees, and beautiful sunrises & sunsets inspire serenity for me. Tropical rain forests and waterfalls grow many of the rich priceless medicinal foods and ingredients our bodies need to heal and stay healthy. There are photos of green tea, aromatherapy, and flower essences as well as healthy whole vege foods. I am a believer in eating raw whenever possible so we can assimilate as many enzymes, vitamins and nutrients as our bodies need. The Lotus and meditation photos represent balance and harmony of course, while the spa photos offer a sense of relaxation. And yes, those 3 girls wearing the masks are me and my girls having some fun. It’s SO important to take time and smell the roses. We all do it far too seldom and that needs our conscious commitment to change.

The last aspect of my Board that I love is the quote I chose to script across it which says, “There is no passion to be found in settling for life that is less than the one you are capable of living” by Nelson Mandela. I used a flowing feminine script because I like beautiful things. This quote speaks perfectly of how important it is that we never take our life nor the time that we have for granted. I have spent too many years dreaming of my future, and now is the time for the doing. And so it goes…

A Watched Pot Does Indeed Boil

More than half our journey is spent on waiting for things whether its the arrival of a newborn baby, change in circumstance, or the arrival of something we desire more than anything.

This week my pot began to bubble ever so slightly. The tiny little bubbles of possibility, as unexpected and out of the blue as it was. Hmm wait, did I look away for a second? Did that first bubble start while I took my focus off of my situation? Oooh, could the old adage “a watched pot never boils” be true? Well no, if we keep our focus on the pot it WILL eventually boil (as long as the fire is on!) if we stare long enough because change ALWAYS comes. Nothing stays the same, status quo only exists for a finite time.

However, watching a pot is pretty boring stuff. Where’s the fun in that? The point IS look away, to direct your attention to other things while, after doing all you can (like light the fire), you trust the change is coming. You know it is. We just have a hard time relaxing about any of it because we don’t know in what form that change will come and whether we will like it.

Anyway, I’ll continue with my boiling pot story… So, I have been putting carrots in my stew, onions, turning up the fire a bit and all that I knew to do (I’m talking about my career actually). And all this time the water hasn’t really moved.  Jeez! three years is a long time to wait for water to boil! When am I going to get a break? Well as with most things, its when you least expect it. Ah! So it happened when you looked away from the pot? Uh yeah, I guess so. LOL  My only point is this: the pot is going to boil anyway as long as you’ve put it on the fire but its pretty darn boring to stand there and wait. So go out and do something positive while you’re waiting and know change will come.