Hi 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.
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.
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 a few short stops in Paris and Madrid).
So, what’s next? We really enjoyed the thru-hiking experience and would like to support the hiking community in some way. We just relocated to Western North Carolina and are thinking about opening a hiker hostel! Stay tuned!
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