What are we doing now?

IMG_7049Hi friends! Someone asked me the other day what our next adventure was going to be, and it stopped me in my tracks. Even now; after quitting our corporate jobs, selling almost everything we owned, moving and living in Costa Rica, and most recently hiking the Appalachian Trail; it still knocks me off guard to think that people believe me to be adventurous.

When we moved to Costa Rica, it was, indeed, an adventure. We moved there with the intention to shake things up, experience another culture, to do something different. To live… not die. While living in Central America, we got to know Costa Rica well. We had adventures, unique experiences, we made friends, and we got comfortable with being uncomfortable. But, it was time to stretch ourselves again, to grow and learn, not stay stagnant. After 4 years in Costa Rica, it was time to do some more living, time for another adventure.

CR II PicMonkey Collage

How does one follow up a “living in a foreign country” adventure? With another escapade, of course! On September 16, 2017, Greg and I summited Mount Katahdin in Maine. This 5-mile climb was the culmination of 179 days of hiking over 2,000 miles that started in March on Springer Mountain, Georgia. You guys, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. But more than that, it was one of the best experiences of my life! We documented our thru-hike on our blog ChicaandSunsets.com and our YouTube channel YouTube.com/ChicaandSunsets.com.

AT I PicMonkey Collage

Living in Costa Rica and on the Appalachian Trail has taught us many lessons, first and foremost that the lifestyle we left before moving to Costa Rica, is not one we wish to return to. We have learned to value time over money and experiences over stuff. We are living. We love that we are in the position, now in our late-40s, to do those things that most wait for retirement for, and by then their bodies can’t handle it.

Case in point, when we thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, we spent 6 months living in the woods and hiking 2,189.8 miles, through 14 states, carrying everything we needed on our back. There is no way we would have considered such a quest during our working life. There wasn’t the time, or the energy, or the ambition. Plus we thought we needed a bunch of stuff, you know, that proved we had realized the “American Dream.” I tell the story of our escape from corporate America to a different way of life in my book Costa Rica Chica – Retiring Early, Simplifying my Life, & Realizing that Less is Best.

Is Costa Rica for you? Costa Rica is a magical country. It is a perfect fit for some and a not so great fit for others. It’s not as inexpensive as it used to be, where is? Getting anything done, especially if it involves the government, can be slow and frustrating (like in the US). There are natural phenomena that must be taken into consideration: a volcano burping smoke can shut down the airport … for days. Earthquakes can be strong enough to cause damage and injury, and rainy season can bring mudslides and cause flooding. So, if these negative things will make your life miserable, don’t move to Costa Rica. If, on the other hand, you can look past the negatives and value cultural differences, unparalleled natural beauty and wildlife, and want an adventure, then Costa Rica could be an excellent choice. Go visit for a couple of months, don’t do tourist things, treat the time as if you want to live there and are not on a vacation, then see how you feel about a move.

After our Appalachian Trail hike, we house-sat in Traverse City for 6 months (for a couple who hiked the Appalachia Trail) and then we spent some time in Europe walking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago in Spain (with visits in Paris beforehand and Madrid, afterwards).

So, what’s next? We really enjoyed the thru-hiking experience and would like to support the hiking community in some way. We have relocated to Western North Carolina and opened a hiker hostel along the Appalachian Trail! It is our way of staying involved in the hiking community. We are loving it, you can check out our hostel and recent blog posts here:  https://chicaandsunsets.com


Don’t forget to check out my Arm Candy website, I have some awesome new designs and am continuing to grow! Thanks for following me in Costa Rica, and I hope you continue to follow us on our Chica and Sunsets blog and YouTube. — Jen

Latest posts by Jen (see all)

18 Responses to What are we doing now?

  1. Glad to hear from you and catch up, you guys are awesome and i hope we do get to meet in person some day.maybe you could house sit for us !

  2. Jen Jen – Great to see this update! I did not know about the YouTube channel but will take a look.
    Happy to see you and Greg doing what makes you happy.
    Merry Christmas to you and your Families.

  3. Always love hearing from you and Greg, Jen!!!! Jesse and I can’t wait to hear all about Spain!!!!! Love you both and Merry Christmas!!!!

  4. The very best part of what you are doing you describe as wanting “to live” and you are doing exactly that! On your terms, where you choose, when you want! And how wonderful that the house sitting opportunity came Forth as a result of your latest adventure! Merry Christmas Jen and Greg, wherever you go, you are embodying Pura Vida!

  5. Loved your update, love your philosophy on life. Loved my time in Costa Rica. Here, in the USA, we get caught up in political silly or stupid news filtered for listeners. Happy to hear you are involved in future happy adventures in our magnificent world. Come visit me.

  6. Wow, so glad you posted, will be checking out your you tube next. What an adventure. Unfortunately, I had to leave my beloved CR and am back in TX. Rat race….Who knows what is next for me as my cousin as I are trying to start a business. We shall see. Best of Luck, Pura Vida, chica. Teri

  7. I’m a Spanish teacher in Lancaster, Pa. My husband and I are retiring a few years early and moving to Costa Rica. We were kind of set on Estorilla del Este in Jaco, but after reading Costa Rica Chica, I think the highlands might be even better. Any thoughts to help us decide?

    Gracias, Tammy Silvis

    • Hi Tammy! Well, you can read my husband’s book “Costa Rica Curious,” he talks in depth about why we chose Grecia in the central valley. Otherwise – the biggest difference (from Jaco) is the central valley was much cooler (we lived up in the mountains at 4600 ft elevation) and less touristy (we loved being immersed in the Costa Rican culture). Hope that helps! — Jen

  8. Hi Guys! Wondered what’s been happening with you two! We are getting closer to our retirement elsewhere in 14 mos. So will be on our way to CR to check it out. Sounds like everything still great. Happy New Year

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *