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 ūüėĚ)
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 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!

The First Steps

happiness_quote-1The consideration of¬†moving to another country might be horribly frightening to many people but I’ve always been an adventurer since I was small. I must have had a whole army of angels around me to keep me out of trouble because Lordy knows I used to jump into the proverbial deep end without researching and analyzing things when I was a kid. My best girlfriend and I would often imagine we were famous explorers wading waist¬†high in canals and waterways in Florida, watching for movement from the shore or in the water, aware that water moccasins and gators could swim faster than we could. ¬†Yes, looking back now I can say it was stupid, but as a kid we never believed we were anything but invincible. Our mothers would have had fits to say the least had they known. But as 6th graders we didn’t even consider what we did was dangerous. The bad case of poison ivy we contracted by pushing our way through “dense rain forests” was the worst consequence from our escapades. ¬†Yes we were very lucky. Amazing how a child’s brain works differently than an adult’s.

Many moons later I sit here and contemplate a giant life transition, a move to another country. I had thought about it earlier in my life when I began to apply for the Peace Corps. Although I could have been placed anywhere, I hoped for central America even though I wasn’t fluent in Spanish. I had a little playmate when I was 9 who was adopted from Costa Rica and she inspired my imagination about the country with her stories of what she imagined life¬†to be like in her native country. At the time I was filling out the Peace Corps application, I also applied to medical school for the Physician Assistant program and they accepted me! ¬†I made the decision to further my medical education at that time which I’ve never regretted.

So why Costa Rica? Personal reasons of course. But to share a little I’ll say that I have several friends who have visited there¬†multiple times and love the people and the country. They all have said how they return to the US nearly in tears not wanting to come back. ¬†Not only is it a beautiful country, it is peaceful and friendly there. The culture and environment is laid back and not focused on the fast paced materialistic push¬†of life we experience here in the US. Friends and family are more important than things and possessions. Also¬†it must be said that the notion that it is a poor or third world country it completely ridiculous and erroneous. Costa Rica holds the honor of being completely 100% energy efficient since January 2015 by using Wind energy, Hydroelectric, and Geothermal energy to power the country. Also, nature conservation is huge with nearly one quarter of the country reserved for preservation from what I’ve been told. I’ll be checking these stats some more in the near future so I can be sure I am correct about what I’m sharing.

There is so much to talk about. I hope you will enjoy my ramblings as I continue on my journey to find my little place in the sun ūüôā


The Journey Continues

I recently discovered¬†that all my previous blog posts had gone missing! Hosting my domain with GoDaddy and not realizing that my CC expiration date had lapsed for the automatic renewal, they promptly deleted my files and have explained that they are irrecoverable. I panicked at first but then weighed the importance of the loss. Eh, it was minimal considering I had not made any real updates in quite a while. I had begun to record my efforts in researching the viability of moving to South America and was returning to add more information when I discovered the site was down. Instead of being dismayed, I actually see it as symbolic to how I feel about this new chapter of my life¬†and stepping into the fullness of where my journey is taking me. ¬†I’m actually excited. Even though my current work schedule allows little time to myself, I am going to enjoy writing short little posts about my discoveries in the moments where I can steal away.