I’ve never been smitten with the idea of living in one place forever. It’s a nostalgic ideal that never resonated with me. By the time I was 10, I’d spent more time in India (60 months) than I did in school (12 months). Flying on airplanes was something I thought everybody did.
I also loved social studies in school, learning about different people and cultures. At 16 my parents sent me on a trip to Europe and the wanderlust set in for good. Years later I met Trish and we hatched the Costa Rica plan over several years and different destinations.
The main reasons we picked Costa Rica are listed in my 5 reasons post. Following are some of the other places we considered with the reasons we were interested and why we ultimately moved on.
- Outdoor activities & natural living possible
- Lots of amazing flora & fauna
- Hot climate
- Can drive an hour outside of a major city and be in the middle of nowhere
- Really far, too expensive to even visit; no one would visit us
- Seemed to be socially very close to America (rising right wing & xenophobia)
- Really, really, really far
- Cheap living
- Culture up the wazoo
- Nice flora & fauna
- Beautiful land, once you get past the diesel fumes
- Hot hot hot
- Nice base to explore Asia
- Rampant sexism
- Dysentery likely
- Diesel fumes
- Too many train derailments
- Far & expensive to travel to, visitors from the US would be few
- Hindi & Bengali aren’t the easiest to learn
3. The Netherlands
- Very progressive socially (plus long vacations)
- European culture
- Reasonable plane fare
- Expensive living – would require actual work to afford
- Weather mediocre
- Dutch doesn’t seem like a fun language
4. Spain (also applies to Italy)
- Long vacations
- Awesome culture
- Spanish would be fun to learn
- Reasonable plane fare
- Not that cheap
- We took French in high school
- Nice weather on Mediterranean
- Children are potty trained by 18 months and they think there’s something wrong with kids who aren’t
- School is basically like a job – kids go til late afternoon and there are no extra-curricular activities (we were still in the school mode then, but we now know that homeschooling there is to be avoided)
- Not exactly cheap
Spain made a lot of sense, except at that time we were stuck in the traditional mindset of finding a job – which is not easy in Spain, Italy or anywhere else where we didn’t speak the language. And unless things were really cheap, our quality of life wouldn’t change much at all. There’s no point to making the move unless there are some tangible benefits to our quality of life.
Once we realized that Europe was either too cold or too expensive, and anything past Italy was too far, we looked closer to home. In addition to Costa Rica was
- Montreal (great culture, horrible weather)
- Argentina (great culture, super cheap, not stable financially)
- North Carolina (easy move, very familiar but ultimately just not very exciting)
Wow – that’s 9 places. And I forgot to mention a brief look at the Czech Republic (nice culture, very cheap, mediocre weather). Costa Rica was on & off, but when it came down to it, it made sense both intellectually and to our hearts.
This is all, most simply, about adventure & curiosity. We started off looking for bountiful nature, outdoor living, hot climate and flora & fauna up the wazoo. Once Australia was off, I branched off into thinking more logically. In the end, we basically picked the same reasons we started off with. It’s going with the gut, something I’ve realized is more valuable than sitting around and considering things with nothing but logic.
It was helped along by some other factors – like becoming parents and deciding to homeschool (freeing us from needing ‘Good Schools’), and my increasing web development (freeing us from needing to find a job). As well as wanting to live more sustainably, and allow us and our children to really be in touch with nature.
This whole process has been about 8-9 years, and we’re not presuming that we will live in Costa Rica forever. We’ll see how it is when we finally live there, but I’m really looking forward to it. Life’s a lot more interesting when you’re trying to really make a dream happen.