Happier’s CNN article: Response to critics

Home Forums Costa Rica Living Forum Happier’s CNN article: Response to critics

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
  • Author
  • #203738

    I am happy to see so many people here have seen my article in CNN and thankful to those who commented positively on my “happy” journey. With that being said, I also noticed the inevitable— people who find my happiness utterly and completely offensive. I have been accused of everything from lying to Photoshopping an ocelot onto my husband’s back. (Not on this forum, but on Costa Rica Living.)

    It’s an interesting experiment in human nature. My fifteen minutes of fame is sure to be a post on my blog in the future. The most ironic thing here is that this book was written for you. Ever since moving here, I run into many cranky people and I can’t understand why. Just go ahead and search Google, it is all there: crime, roads , traffic, ect. So I asked myself, why are these people here? It has occurred to me, that as miserable as they are here, they must have been worse in the states. It’s the only logical explanation or why wouldn’t they leave? So I’m going to try and answer some of these concerns people have written about me on the internet since I feel if they could just get over whatever it is that offends them so, they could have happy lives just like me.

    1-We paint an unrealistic picture of Costa Rica: Well, you really have not read my book or my blog. Yes, my husband sticks stuff down his pants (doesn’t every husband?), he has motion sensors, and watches over me like a hawk while we are out at night. We have read about the same problems with crime as all of you. You may say we are not living life by always looking over our shoulder; however, this could not be more untrue. We take precautions so we don’t have to worry. As long as we are covering our bases, we sleep like children. No place is perfect and you cant control everything.

    2- We are lying about what we pay in rent: Costa Rica has homes with the most amazing views that would cost millions in the states but they are not completely exempt from the sluggish economic. More significantly, the owners of these homes have less money and therefore cannot spend as much time in them.

    You must keep in mind, we are free, have no children and can travel to anyplace in the world at the drop of a hat. There are some homes sitting empty and a smart landlord is happy to have a long term renter. Either that or they pay a management group to look after them. We scoured the pages of Craigslist and called every realtor from the Osa Peninsula to Guanacaste. It did not take us long to make a deal with a wonderful couple who needed someone to look after their dream home while they started a new business in the states. We are so happy we met them and they feel the same for us. After the first 5 minutes of meeting my husband, they knew he was on top of things. I’m certain the fact we look young, strong and capable helped.

    The CNN reporter asked me what I pay in rent and I was not going to lie for the sake of people who would hate me who, by the way, popped in my head the second I said it. Fact remains, I did not say “Move to Costa Rica and you will pay $150 rent”. I answer people’s questions about cost of living on my blog or at Facebook Happier Than A Billionaire all day long. I will be happy to do the same in this forum.

    When we first moved to Costa Rica, we met the most wonderful women who took us in, showed us around and rented us her lovely guest house. It sat on 7 acres which gave us plenty of room to play with her many lively dogs. We were not there long but will always be grateful for the experience. This first house did not make the book. Call it creative license, or maybe just the fact that it went so smooth there was not enough conflict to make it interesting. Our rent was $500 a month and included a garage, utilities and a washer/dryer. The second house we rented, where the book begins was $450 a month but did not include utilities. We enjoyed life in Grecia, a wonderful community with friendly people and amazing mountain views but felt it would be fun to try life at the beach— which ultimately resulted in the $150 rent. Now how was I supposed to explain all of that to CNN?

    3- We photoshopped an ocelot onto my husband’s back: My husband and I laughed and laughed after reading that. What is it that we have done or said that would lead people to believe we are such slimy scam artists? We visited the Arenal Observatory Lodge on holiday with my parents. We rented the White Hawk Lodge; a huge cabin/home with 3 bedrooms a kitchen and close up views of the volcano, as well as, the lake. On the last day, my husband decided to take a walk in the woods near one of the hanging brides by the hotel. He met some really nice people from Florida as they traversed the trails. Suddenly, a cat started right down the trail and toward my husband. In an attempt not to scare it, he bent down ever so slowly. Suddenly, the ocelot ran at him and bounced onto his back. Not sure what to do—and frightened he would lose an eye—he froze long enough for the ladies we met to take a picture. The women were thrilled they witnessed such an incredible moment. We exchanged email and they kindly sent us the pictures. We remain friends till this day.

    That night at the hotel’s restaurant, we shared our amazing story with the staff. They were not amused. It turns out the ocelot was abandoned by its mother as a baby. The hotel staff had nursed it to an age where they believed he could hunt for itself and released him a good distance away. However, the cat remembered where he was fed and returned.

    This story is just another example of the wonderful things that happen in this country when you travel throughout. The reporter thought it was funny, thus the picture in the article.

    The move I made to Costa Rica might not be for everyone. Just as living in NYC might not be everyone’s fantasy. But the point of the book was that it is okay to change one’s path and alter their destiny. Even as an adult, when the world tells you to stay put, be responsible, don’t dare to dream…we can break free and carve out our own adventure.

    We are only on this planet for a split second, and soon our bodies will age and stop us all from doing the things we enjoy. Until then, I will soak up this experience and treat every day with the gratitude and excitement it deserves. You owe it to yourself to remember why you came here. Step away from the computer, lean back, smile, and say…..wow, I spent my day in Costa Rica, isn’t life wonderful.

    All my best,
    Nadine Hays Pisani
    [url=http://www.happierthanabillionaire.com/]Happier Than A Billionaire[/url]


    When I read stories by young people about how they are enjoying living in Costa Rica, my first question is always : where do they get the income? Either they arrived with a good deal of money already in the bank, or they run some internet business or they are employed with a foreign company because they have some special ability not found among citizens here.

    I watched a TV show about a young couple who sold their home and decided to take off a few years living in a Guanacaste beach house. They were care taking for the owner. Their decision to postpone career and family for this life adventure impressed me and this has the potential to make a huge, positive difference in their lives for the future.

    But the financing of such adventures is still the most intriguing part from my perspective and I remain curious. I want to know the nuts and bolts of how it was accomplished. The decision to give up certain material things is relatively easy for young people compared to the task of accumulating enough wealth at that early stage of adulthood to finance a few years of living costs.
    How did/do you finance your Costa Rican life?


    Maybe they earned the money.

    Oh yeah, that would make them evil to actually make alot of money.


    If through the sale of your house and savings could raise $100,000 dollars, you could live modestly in CR for approximately 5 years. You could live much less modestly for closer to 10 years.

    I also know at least a dozen surfers who settled in CR years ago, live in either a small home they built or a rental for $250 a month. They teach surfing or work for foreign owned hotels/restaurants and are able to scrape by in paradise. Are they “legal”? I don’t know, though in some cases they have married a tica/tico.


    I have followed your posts on your own blog and also read your book. I laughed a lot. I commend you for posting your responses to the feedback from CNN article.
    My wife and I wish that we could just drop everything and move NOW. Oh we will move and live to CR but in a few years; until then we visit as much as we can and enjoy every single moment of our lives regardless of where we are.
    My unsolicited advice (I don’t think you need any) is just do you and be you.
    I plan on living life to the fullest and dying empty. That statement may see to be a paradox. To me dying empty means not taking my dreams; passion; ideas and love with me to the grave. It does not mean irresponsible spending or not planning for the future. It does not mean sacrificing people, relationships and living in the now in hopes of some distance future where I can enjoy life. It means receiving and giving unconditionally until you are empty.

    Nadine; my fondest wish for you is that you die empty.


    When I first moved to Costa Rica, I used the expat forums (not this one, this is my 1st post here). I had to distance myself from the other forums due to the overwhelming amount of negativity. I still check in from time to time and see it hasn’t changed, unfortunately.
    I don’t know why anyone would want to sit on the computer all day in Costa Rica and start arguments or spread negativity, but I like your theory that maybe their life in the States was even more miserable than it is here. That sounds reasonable and clears up my question of “why don’t they just leave if they are so miserable in Costa Rica?”
    Anyway, I love your message – relax and enjoy life and don’t waste too much energy on the haters!


    [quote=”kimball”]Maybe they earned the money.

    Oh yeah, that would make them evil to actually make alot of money.[/quote]

    How money is accumulated is as interesting a topic as how it is created. From what I have learned and experienced, large amounts of wealth are rarely “earned”. Large amounts of wealth are accumulated by playing the system which usually involves exploitation of people who actually DO earn wealth by their labor. I have done both.

    This has little or nothing to do with the topic here as long as the amount of money involved is not great. If it was a relatively small amount, as it appears to be, then the real story here is the admirable decision made by the author to make an adventure for herself in exploring this part of the world on a shoestring. If, on the other hand, a good deal of wealth was at her disposal, the story would be mostly about an extended comfortable vacation in a beautiful place. So for me, the money situation defines the relative value of the story.


    I too am new to this forum, but I have heard many people that move to Costa Rica end up leaving because of the high cost of living and not able to adjust to the way of life. I know many people that have tried to sell their homes for the last three years and can’t get rid of them.

    Are there many disadvantages of living in Costa Rica?


    “Many disadvantages . . .”? Well, that depends on how you define “many” and what you consider a “disadvantage”.

    One person may find the language barrier very troublesome but otherwise adores his or her life here. Another may speak fluent Spanish but finds the bureaucracies, public and private, which flourish here to be too great to overcome and they hate everything about the place. Someone else may be unhappy with having to give up some cherished food, wine or something else that makes life worthwhile.

    Each of us is an individual with different needs, wants and aspirations, and tolerance levels. It is for that reason that aspiring newcomers are counseled (rightly) to visit Costa Rica for extended periods of time to see whether it disadvantages are too many to counterbalance its advantages and whether the country is a good fit for them.

    One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.


    And even all those visits over many years, sometimes a decade, are not enough to insulate you from the reality of living here on a day to day basis. there was one dude (previously on this forum) who spent a decade investigating CR and then when he moved here, it all turned sour in less than two years when he ran into problems dealing with ICE and other entities. Now he wants out but can’t sell his house. The key to survival here is adaptation — yes, life will be very expensive if you insist on eating imported gringo food. if you shop at the ferias and use the grocery stores for those staples that can’t be bought from the farmer’s market, you can live quite cheaply and very well. if you want every electrical gadget under the sun expect to pay a lot for the electricidad to run them. if you want a gas guzzling car, you will pay dearly with gas being over $5.00 a gallon. If you speak no Spanish, you life will be more difficult, and that is just a fact! The majority of the population does NOT speak English, and nor should they be expected to. The common complaints I hear when someone hits the wall and decides to leave is 1) the language barrier; 2) the culture (which you won’t understand if you don’t speak spanish); 3) the high cost of imported foods; 4) a pricing system that these people claim is different for gringos than for ticos (i’ve not found that to be true at all); and 4) crime (as if it doesn’t exist anywhere else). I love Costa Rica warts and all. After nearly 7 years here, I can’t imagine ever living in the US again. In fact, when i went back last year after being here for two years i found it strange the nobody spoke Spanish, except of course the produce workers in a supermarket, who thought i was loca for always chatting them up when i went into the store. life there just seemed very sterile. the bureaucracies here are not that difficult if you figure out how they work. i was told that i would have to go to San Jose to renew my driver’s license (to get the number changed) rather than doing it in the town where i live. but when i went to renew my license, i didn’t have a single problem and was in and out of there in less than 15 minutes with new license in hand and no trip to SJO. why it was different for me, i have no clue except that i speak fluent spanish and was not daunted by the procedure. This place is not for everyone; that is for sure and you will know very soon after arriving if you have the mettle to deal with la vida loca!!!



    I make a substantial (6 figures) monthly online and its set up to be very passive at this point.

    I spend maybe if I am lucky 4 hours a per week on my business.

    I dont tell people what I do simply because people cannot possibly fathom enjoying this kind of revenue passively.

    BUT I don’t exploit anyone and in fact its doesnt even relate to the moving of physical goods.

    just the willingness to always have an open mind and explore areas yo may not even be aware of and also

    never stop learning

    sprite.. you seem to be someone that basically have come to the end of all your conclusions. meaning

    [b]this has been your personal experience so thus it must be reality.[/b]

    but my friend

    its not

    reality is indeed negotiable

    and you can create your realities

    your purpose in life

    and remember the past does not equal the future



    excellent post

    your reinvited to my christmas party 😀



    hey,. Mr. Smelly — i will be happy to come to your xmas party!!! jejeje

    was in dis-invited at some point? i’m sure i must have been; surely i said something to rankle your ire a time or two!



    its mekuly

    NOT SMELLY!!!:oops::oops::oops::oops::oops:

    even though I disagree with you probably 99% of the time you seem to be a cool woman.

    anybody who can swing living here on a $1000 a month is good in my book. still trying to kick a few gringo habits




    i was joking about the Mr Smelly — didn’t someone else call you that as a joke?

    wow, you disagree with me 99% of the time? that’s some kind of record. and speaking of the record, i actually spend only about $800 a month, sometimes less and there is not one single thing i want that i can’t afford to buy nor do i feel deprived in any way or lacking in any thing at all. the $800 isn’t what i have coming in; that’s just what i spend and i’ve tried to spend more but i can’t because after i’ve paid the fixed expenses and bought food there’s nothing left for me to spend the money on. you could take up Pop’s ice cream as a really good substitute for anything H. Daz makes.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.