Being born and raised in rural Tennessee, I’m no stranger to nature. In fact, I love it. I can’t stand the hustle and bustle of a big city. I want to be able to wake up and hike through the mountains or jump in the warm ocean and start my day by putting my health and spirituality before money and income. And I am lucky to have exactly that where I live in Costa Rica. I am a 5 minute drive to the Las Catalinas trails overlooking the Catalinas islands, and I am the same distance to Playas Prieta, Penca, Dante, Dantita, just to name a few hidden gems here in Playa Potrero, Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. In fact, this morning I was playing with my 3-month-old son while listening to monkeys howling alongside at least five different species of birds chirping.
Though I live in a beautiful jungle, I am still very aware of world events and unfortunately, the global pandemic. Costa Rica’s famous mother slogan is “Pura Vida:” Pure Life or Quality of Life. During this pandemic, I have begun to further question the measurements for a good quality life? Does it mean the same thing in Costa Rica and the United States? Is quality of life better simply because you are in a developed country? Has society as a whole lost touch with “Pura Vida?” I think so.
The traditional path of life in a developed country is to go to college, take out a loan to pay it off, get a great job, and buy a house so you can “settle down.” Yet, when you leave college you have easily a 100,000 loan that will take 20+ years pay off, a house that is really owned by your bank, and expensive bills that you’ve gathered along the way to reflect your quality of life (car note, restaurants and bar tabs, fancy home gadgets, and more).
It’s an insane way of life.
What I hope this quarantine has shown us all is that life can be simple. We really can make home cooked meals, every day. We can prioritize our health. We can start a new hobby. You have a fresh start, TODAY. Now is the time to start changing your lifestyle to match your core values, not the opinions of others.
Our quality of life in Costa Rica is very special, almost magical.
Costa Rica’s health care system is #1 in all of Latin America. It isn’t free, our paychecks take a cut of about 8% to pay for our “caja” or health insurance. But it only takes one salaried job’s caja to cover a family of 4! Incredible.
We haven’t had a case of COVID-19 in the Tamarindo area for almost 6 weeks now. The entire country of Costa Rica experienced 6 fatalities. Overall, those infected are surviving and the rate of infection is decreasing. Perhaps this is because we are an educated, loving culture that puts families first. Costa Rican morals, values, and traditions–what feeds the roots of this culture–are everlasting.
I moved to Costa Rica seven years ago at the young age of 23, taking control of my experiences, and actively choosing to become the woman I’m still growing into.
Costa Rica is my safe haven.
In the midst of this pandemic, I gave birth to my first son, Luca. His name means the bringer of light. And let me tell you, the way he lights up for his Abuelita is something else! It’s as if a lightswitch turns on in his brain! Being born to a mixed-race family, I am excited to see his bicultural values develop overtime with his family and friends. I hope Luca will be grateful for each experience, to give more than he receives, and to support his family just as we do for our’s.
While moving to Costa Rica may not be something you can do immediately, I do hope you’ll consider making small changes in the life you have built for yourself. Whatever you do, I encourage you to live your life through the lens of Pura Vida.