“Costa Rica, home of the ‘pura vida’ lifestyle, is, for many people, the land of dreams. Most people work hard their entire lives, giving their all from 9 to 5 (and then some!), in the hopes of one day saving enough money to retire, while finally having the time and financial stability to do all the things they dreamed about over the years.

More often than not, those very dreams were what made the daily grind bearable and came to be the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

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I have been self-employed since the tender age of 21. Working ‘9 to 5’ was never my thing. Don’t misunderstand me, I was a good employee, but I was resentful on the inside because I knew I could be so much more successful on my own. Even thought I owned my own business, by the time I had reached 30 years of age, I knew there was something more to life than what I was living.

From the outside looking in, you would have said ‘that guy has everything’, and to a certain extent, you would have been right.

I had a successful business, a beautiful house, and a nice investment portfolio, but somehow I was still caught up in the rat race. That race is one that I was not meant to run. After falling in love with Costa Rica on my first trip to paradise in 2005, I made my exit strategy, and I was on the fast track to my own personal land of milk and honey.

After 10 years of blissfully living in Atenas, Costa Rica, nothing gives me more pleasure than to help someone else realize their dreams. My partner Gerardo and I firmly believe that in the end we don’t sell real estate, we sell dreams. I believe that our personal dreams are so much more valuable than any physical asset or belonging we can own.

So, when we first met Jason and Ellen Reynolds, a young couple in their thirties (Ellen informs me she is still 29!), I saw a familiar spirit to that of my own…that spark, a twinkle in their eyes, a dream in their hearts, and the willingness to do whatever was needed to make their dream become a reality.

Today, Jason and Ellen have created a beautiful B&B in San Mateo called Villa Fauna, sharing their Vegan lifestyle with others. As Ellen describes their adventure below, I hope you find the spark you need to realize that your life and your time is now. Don’t be afraid to live your dreams!” Dennis Easters.

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A Young, Vegan Baltimore Couple’s Costa Rican Dream Come True.
Ellen and Jason Reynolds in San Mateo, Costa Rica 2016

I had found myself approaching 30, happily married, content, and comfortable. My husband and I had promising careers and owned a little house in the city where we resided happily with our two dogs. Having lived our entire lives in Baltimore, we were existing in a little bubble of familiarity, convenience, security, and rituals.

We knew just where to go on the holidays, where to buy the cheapest organic produce, what streets to avoid during our daily dog walks, and which restaurants had the best veggie-burgers. Life was very…settled. I began to wonder, “Had my life ever been unsettled?”

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Luckily, my amazing husband was feeling the same way. We both started to outgrow this safe little bubble, this predictable way of life we had created, which centered around fulfilling social expectations and financial obligations. We wanted more adventure and excitement in our lives.

We wanted to trade in alarm clocks, morning traffic, and department stores for warm beaches, breezy mountains, and the unknown. It may sound selfish and ungrateful, but we were bored. We both had so many interests and passions that we weren’t fulfilling, some of which we didn’t even know we had. We needed more room to grow. We wanted out of the bubble.

So, we asked ourselves, “If we could do anything and live anywhere, casting all fear, doubt, and logic aside, what would that life look like?” This question changed our lives. We decided that we would give up city life and start a Bed & Breakfast in Costa Rica.

Neither one of us had stayed in a Bed & Breakfast before and we had never been to Costa Rica. We didn’t know anyone there and didn’t speak much Spanish, but these were minor details. We weren’t going to let fear or expectations dictate how we would live our lives any longer. We were dreaming up a new life. Why not make it utterly blissful?

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Since my mother, who had recently taken up travel, was about to retire and feeling equally antsy, we booked a trip to Costa Rica and treated this as a family venture. We traveled around the country and completely fell in love with its beauty, people, and quirks. The next two years, this dream was all we talked about, hoped for, and had faith in.

We visualized a Villa on a mountain, close to the beach, where we could spend our days exploring nature, spending time in the kitchen, creating and building together, and sharing a new way of life with others. So, we booked another trip to Costa Rica in search of our new home.

When we arrived in the Central Valley, our ideal location, we met with our Realtors, Dennis Easters and Gerardo Gonzales-Porras of Pure Life Development. Their positive, calm, and light-hearted energy made us feel totally at ease and optimistic. We found ourselves on a mountain called Maderal, in San Mateo, where our Realtors showed us a listing that had just come on the market.

When my husband and I entered the Villa and walked towards the veranda, we gasped at the breathtaking, sunset view of the Gulf of the Nicoya. This property was so much of what we had dreamt of, and had so much potential. We knew we had found our new home and Bed & Breakfast.

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We returned to Baltimore and within five weeks, we put in our two week notices, gave away most of our possessions, sold our little house, shared our news with family and friends, prepared our two dogs for their flight, and said goodbye to everything we knew and loved. Most people thought we were totally nuts, and rightfully so. Who does this?

After a few months of getting to know Costa Rica, completing construction and renovations on the Villa, hard work, and plenty of adventures, we opened our vegan B&B called Villa Fauna. Each day, we continue to gain knowledge on how to live our new life. We’ve learned where to pick the best mangoes on our mountain, how to drive like a Tico, when the best time to go white water rafting is, and what toucans and macaws sound like.

We’ve learned which beaches and waterfalls are our favorite, how to make fried patacones, and the importance of watching the sunset every evening together. We love to share these simple pleasures with our guests and watch them fall in love with Costa Rica, too.

We asked for adventure, exhilaration, and a new way of life, and that is exactly what we received. Leaving our home to start a new life involved unfamiliar obstacles, plenty of trial and error, and many ups and downs, but we are out of the bubble and embracing tropical-mountain life. We are enjoying a very different, beautiful life in Costa Rica and sharing this with others is one of our many rewards. We are so grateful.

So, as you can see from Ellen and Jason’s story, you are never too young to start living your dreams! Come on down to our little slice of pura vida paradise and try on your dreams for yourself. It’s never too late, or too early, to try!

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A Young, Vegan Baltimore Couple’s Costa Rican Dream Come True.

Article/Property ID Number 5828

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