Celebrating 2 years of living on the Rich Coast

Celebrating 2 years this weekend of living in Costa Rica.  And I can still clearly remember the months leading up to the move.  But it was only a few months ago, when I ran out of space on my hard drive and had to start finding documents, videos and photos to delete that I came across this piece of writing.  From the date on the document, I wrote it just after I had bought my one-way plane ticket.

There’s still a lot of people who (in hushed tones) think I’m crazy for living here.  But here’s my reasons why.  For my email subscribers, it’s best if you visit the blog to really appreciate the image!

And much thanks to my dear friend Mau who gifted me with the design.  She loves that I love and respect her country so much and when I shared this with her, her immediate reaction was to create something beautiful from the words.  I plan to laminate it (because paper won’t last in Costa Rica’s green season) and hang it up on my frig.



Why Costa Rica

Well, I’m at the 2 month mark now.  It’s still surreal.  Here are the top reasons why I moved to Costa Rica.  I could have probably listed 100+ reasons but I figured I had to stop at some point.

1. Warm, tropical weather year-round and no threat of hurricanes

2. Friendly, helpful and beautiful people, inside and out

3. Simpler lifestyle – less cars, less traffic…more walkable, more sense of community

4. Awesome environment and environmental protections – over 25% of the land is protected and much of the unprotected land remains undeveloped.

5. Less pollution

6. Locally grown, fresh food

7. No army since 1948 and no nuclear power.  They actually plan to be carbon neutral by 2021.

8. No allergies to the food or the local environment

9. Democratic country with a female president

10. Cost of living is greatly reduced compared to California

11. No chapped lips

12. No stop lights for approximately 70 kilometers from the town where I’m living (well, there is one in Santa Cruz but it’s pretty rinky dink and it seems like a lot of people don’t even pay attention to what color the light is!)

13. A local airport and an international airport close by

14. San Jose is less than an hour from the local airport

15. No quarantine for bringing pets into the country

16. Fresh mangoes at $0.70 each

17. All the gallo pinto and Lizano that I could possibly want.

18. I feel fully alive, radiant and purposeful here.

19. I get to try surfing and stand up paddling again and hopefully will make one of them a daily practice!

20. I’m already in paradise so every day feels like being on holiday.

21. There’s no such thing as a heater here in Guanacaste.

22. I have more opportunity to explore areas of the country that I haven’t yet visited

23. My wardrobe consists of sundresses and sandals

24. My feet receive a daily exfoliation from walking on the beach.

25. Pura Vida!

Flying iPhones, a kitty panic attack and lots of luggage

Traveling is never really easy.  Traveling when you’re picking up your life and moving to a foreign country is even harder, especially with the amount of luggage I was taking with me, much of which seemed to be electronics (even though I have no idea where my laptop charger is at the moment).  Then add in a cat and you have a whole other situation.

With my anxiety level somewhat high as I left my house, caravaning with two vehicles, 10 large bags (my friend’s and mine), a box of paintings, a cat, 5 people and an ice cream sundae (my friends’ brought me one thinking it would help my stress level…it did), I placed my house keys and my iphone on top of the car as I got situated and figured out how we should fit the luggage, cat and the three of us into the car.

Well, I’m sure you can figure out how this story progresses…we get in the car, start driving (I’m happily eating the sundae at this point) and as we enter the freeway onramp, we hear a little noise off the passenger side.  We didn’t think anything of it and kept driving.  It was a beautiful, clear day and as we approached the Golden Gate bridge, I thought I’d take a photo and reached for my phone…only to find out the phone was not in the car.

And it was then we figured out that little noise was my house keys and iPhone falling off the car onto Highway 101.  But the good news is I have incredible friends who, after they dropped me off, went back to the “scene of the accident” and searched.  And they found it…and it still works, amazingly.  They’ll Fedex it to me next week and another friend in Costa Rica has already purchased me a sim card and phone plan with a Costa Rican number.  So all is well, somewhat delayed, but still moving forward.

Then, before departing the plane on the first leg into Miami, I dropped my iPod onto my seat and, fortunately, the man sitting behind us flagged me to let me know he had it.  Based on the iPhone incident and then this, my friend traveling with me made the comment that perhaps I’m supposed to let go of my electronics on this move.  Perhaps she is right.

Now to the cat…Keeping a cat in a carrier for 20 hours is not an ideal situation.  He did alright until about 12:30 a.m. when we experienced turbulence and that sent him into what can only be described as a kitty panic attack.  He was literally trying to push his way out of his carrier.  It took me 90 minutes to calm him down (he has quite a set of lungs on him) and I can only imagine what parents go through when they travel with babies and young children.  At the Admiral’s Club in Miami, I tried to use one of the showers to give him time to stretch and eat but he didn’t want to eat, too many noises in such a strange place.

As far as the luggage, I had 5 bags that were over the weight limit but, fortunately again, I was only charged for 3 extra bags and no extra weight fees.  So perhaps I’m supposed to have all these things with me…we’ll just have to see if they all make it to Costa Rica and then make it through customs…for now, I’ll enjoy my free celebratory mimosa at the Admiral’s Club.

More to come as the story progresses…

Pura vida…Chrissy

A New Beginning

I’ve been waiting for this day to arrive for four years and two months.  It was in March, 2008 that I was sitting on a beach in Point Reyes and stated I would move to Costa Rica.  I didn’t know how, I didn’t know when.  But I knew…at some point in the near future, I would call Costa Rica home.

Now, that day is finally here.  With the exception of a few pieces of luggage and my cat, my house is empty.  Having to reduce my 3 bedroom house and 37 years of belongings to 10 bags over the last few months has been challenging, to say the least.  Thank goodness I have a few friends who graciously offered to store some of the things that I couldn’t take with me but also couldn’t bear to part with.

And thank goodness for the people I’ve met in Costa Rica who have so generously supported me this last year and especially the last few months.  Without all of you, this move would not be possible.  I’m so grateful for your check-ins to see how I was doing leading up to today, your flexibility with my hectic schedule and just your being there for me and believing in me.

A new beginning starts for me today.  What I’ve learned these last few years is when you open the door to life, the possibilities are endless.  I am so very fortunate for the people and opportunities that continue to present themselves to me, each and every day.  I absolutely love the work that I’m doing and the people I get to connect with and collaborate with along the way.

Pura vida…Chrissy

P.S. Buena suerte to my friends participating in the Lapa Rios Lapathon tomorrow.  I hope we raise lots of money for the Puerto Jimenez community.  And I hope next year I’ll be able to take part and photograph the event.

…and Goodbyes

While I know friends from the States (and other places in the world) will come visit me, there are some things I’m having to say Goodbye to. Hiking in the redwoods last week reminded me there are no redwoods in Costa Rica.

Here are a few other things I’ll miss…

  • The annual trip to Luna and all of the good people who attend every year
  • Bright yellow wild mustard dotting the hillsides, meadows and vineyards each winter
  • The wintering monarchs in Pacific Grove
  • The Lost Coast
  • Vegan scones at Wild Flour Bakery
  • The vineyard seasons…bud break, harvest, autumn leaves and dormancy
  • Mavericks
  • 9 p.m. sunsets

Hasta luego’s…

I spent last week with one of my best friends.  Knowing that I was leaving, he made time in his schedule to come up from LA for a visit.  We had a lot of fun… hiking, hanging out, eating good food and just catching up.  And while I know he’ll come visit me in Costa Rica at some point, I was also a little sad when he left; realizing how many good friends I was leaving behind.

But I know it’s not goodbye.  Just hasta luego…

Pura vida, Chrissy

T-21 days

With less than a month to go, I’m happy to say I’m almost all packed.  Mind you, I still have a lot of things to sell and donate but the packing part is just about done.  Somehow I’ve managed to fit 37 years of my life into 9 bins – one more and I would have hit the max that American Airlines will allow for two people traveling.  And I know, I’m probably taking way more than I actually need but not really knowing what I’m getting myself into, I’d rather be over prepared than under.

Even my cat is ready for the 3,000+ mile journey we’re about to embark on together.  We’ll see how that goes.  I have nightmares of him screaming the entire flight and making everyone in the First Class cabin so mad that they demand refunds.

Life is a journey and I’m ready for this one to begin.

Pura vida…Chrissy