My wife and I traveled to Costa Rica during Thanksgiving of 2003.

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We were traveling with a friend that was thinking about moving down here and we tagged along as a vacation. We quickly fell in love with the country. We loved the people and the culture and met many ex-pats that were living here.

Our friend eventually bought a place by the beach in Esterillos Oeste and moved in July of 2004. My wife had been laid off of work. I told her go visit our friend for a couple of weeks because when you start work at a new job you won’t have vacation time.

We had started tossing around the idea of a move at some point for ourselves, and after a couple of trips that summer we decided it was something we might want to seriously consider and had more or less a 3 to 5 year plan.

Kate brought me back a T-shirt on one of her follow up trips late that summer of 2004. It said simply “Costa Rica.. Life’s too short – don’t waste it“.

This really hit home for us. In discussions with friends about the desire to retire early somehow and enjoy life, I used to tell them I’ve seen far too many people that have all of these dreams of what they are going to do when they retire, they work like crazy saving up all this money, finally retire and they die two years later.

Or have medical issues come about that prohibit them from ever doing the things they wanted to do. We both love to travel and started trying to experience more in the last few years.

We saw people we loved that had regrets of not having done more of what they wanted to do when they were younger. I told Kate, if I’m old and not physically able to still travel and see new places and experience new cultures and things, I’d rather have the memories of all the things I did, than the regrets of not having done them.

I asked Kate when she wanted to go, she said 6 months. With what we saw happening in the real-estate market in Costa Rica we thought we may not be any further ahead financially in 3 to 5 years if we waited that long. We thought six months was a little ambitious, but we started the wheels in motion, with several more trips down here and looking at our options on selling our condo in California.

The prospects of what we wanted to do were exciting. By November of 2004 we decided that the April/May time frame of the following spring of 2005 might be doable. The California real-estate market was as hot as it had ever been. We began selling our stuff…, and you realize quickly that much of it is just that – stuff!

The market in California was such that people were bidding up your asking price. We actually ended up selling our condo for $30,000 more than we were asking for it 3 weeks earlier.

We are not independently wealthy, far, far from it. We do not have enough money really to retire and just sit back. When we arrived, we were only 47 and 42 years old. We have no illusions that it is going to be easy, but we both feel too that life is an adventure and is there to be lived.

We were able to find a great investment property we purchased near the beach in Esterillos Oeste just a few days after arriving. We remodeled that home and are living in it until we put it on the market. It was one of those – being in the right place at the right time – type of things.

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In the mean time we have it advertised as a weekly vacation rental and already have our first booking for 9 days. We think with the market as it is on beach property on the Pacific we hope to do very well on our investment. So the rentals will bring in a little money, and once we sell, it will give us more options.

Our intentions were to take what little money we came down with and try to make it work for us. We are dabbling with a small real-estate business, listing a few properties here and there. All in all it is a step of faith for sure.

We realize that Costa Rica is not for everyone. We also realize that it takes a little bit of a sense of adventure to do what we did. I think the most common thing friends said to us as it got closer to us making our move was “I wish I had the guts to do what you’re doing“.

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Almost all of our friends and family were supportive, although most thought we were a little crazy. We felt Costa Rica offered us the opportunity to escape a little bit of the rat race we called life and end the 60+ hour work weeks which didn’t include the two hours of commuting each day.

We are living our dream, taking one day at a time, and are experiencing now what Pura Vida really is…

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