Have you ever wanted to just break out of your mold, jump out of your current life, and into an exotic, zesty, adventurous, and exciting existence in another part of the world? Are you afraid of making the leap to dream, to travel, or to start fresh somewhere else? This post is about what I discovered after taking the plunge, and being scared shitless of casting off into the great unknown. I hope it speaks to you wild and adventurous souls out there.
As I write this I am sitting with my feet dipped in a warm pool at a beautiful resort in Navarro Muñeco, Costa Rica. The sky has sun break shining through the clouds, and there is the soft hum of a waterfall in the distance. No one is here, and I sit here alone, enjoying this Wednesday morning in Paradise.
There are many treasures to be found off the beaten path here in Costa Rica. The only reason I know of this place is because of a friend who knows the owner, who lets us have free access to the place whenever we want. Today I’ll be soaking in volcanic hot springs and swimming in the lagoon shaped pool.
“Costa Rica, Costa Rica”. The name just has a ring of exoticism to it. It sounds lush, beautiful, and like the perfect getaway. I had known some people who spoke highly of this country, and images of beaches and sinking my feet into the hot sand swam around in my mind for months as I went to bed, as I researched, as I talked about travel. I really really wanted to go, but I was secretly terrifed of failing miserably and having to come home. I wasn’t really trusting that the universe would support me in my heart’s desire.
There is magic in just coming down to a location and seeing the doors that open before you. In November 2013, cold, miserable, and fed up with the status quo lifestyle in the United States, I made my “one month vacation” trek down to Costa Rica with two friends. Hellbent on leaving Oregon for the winter, I headed southbound- just eager for anywhere that was warm and tropical. I never would have imagined how life would unfold with that one decision to purchase a plane ticket and go!
I totally fell in love. With the culture, but also an expatriate that had been down here for 4 years (we married in May this year). The culture here has a saying called “pura vida” which means pure life, and so much of the way of life down here embodies that. Clean air, happy life, ample social time, good food, and plenty of nature. As a lover of all things wholesome, balanced and healthy – life here really appealed to my sensibilities that had been so steamrolled by living in a bustling city like Portland for longer than I would’ve liked.
In the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of living a semi-charmed kind of life. A life where I wake up with the sun, travel by motorcycle to places of such incredible natural beauty that I never cease to be awestruck, enjoy fresh and abundant organic foods at ridiculously low prices (the farmers markets here are incredible), am invited to lots of “gringo” parties with expatriates who are the salt of the earth kind of people, and get to enjoy a tight knit community of misfits from all over the states.
I get to live in a beautiful house on the side of mountain and run my coaching business from the balcony overlooking a lake. I also have the pleasure of volunteering for a local organization as a teacher of Creative Expression as Therapy for underprivileged and abused girls. It’s awesome how my life has just bloomed since being here.
Since I live in the Central Valley, and most people when they come to Costa Rica really only think of the beaches, they miss out on the incredible beauty of the verdant jungle greenery and comfortable climate. The rainforest is a hop skip away from my mountainside home and it’s simply breathtaking.
I wake up in gratitude almost every morning for the life that I leapt into. It’s one filled with magic, nature, beauty, and vibrance. I can remember almost like it was yesterday waking up to police sirens and my housemates yelling at eachother over innane stuff, yet paying $750 for rent. The cost of living vs. quality of life I had in Portland is so disproportionate to the pure joy and excitement I have living here where the cost of living goes down and the quality of life went up. Central America is far less expensive than the states, and to live a healthy lifestyle in the US is quite expensive to maintain. Health stores take so much of your paycheck, and here at the markets you can walk out with 30lbs of fresh produce for around $20. I live so well here, and spend a fraction of what I did in the states! It’s ridiculous, but I am so happy I figured it out.
So many of my friends thought it was so wild that I chose to stay down here, but then again it probably wasn’t super unexpected because I am really adventurous, and I didn’t even mind that I didn’t really speak the language! I think a lot of people are really afraid of the unknowns, and at times myself included. What I like to tell my clients is that old zen proverb of “Leap and the net will appear.” You really really don’t have to have it *all* figured out when you set off to a new place either to visit or to live. You can do your internet due diligence all day long, and that won’t even scratch the surface of what you will learn just by going there and jumping in.
Our American culture is infatuated with security and stability, and they sacrifice the excitement and adventure of living for the illusion of safety. I have been determined to stretch my comfort zone and live a life that is more fulfilling and more “terrifying” than the norm because what can I say… I’m a thrill seeker and nothing excites me more than doing the unthinkable for myself.
I love the Joesph Campell quote, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls”. It’s beautiful, and it really speaks to the idea of being able to go out on a limb in faith. I never would have imagined how wonderful things could’ve turned out for me, especially when I thought that life as I knew it in the states was the best it could get. I hope I have done a bit to help you also start to dream up new possibilities for yourselves as well.
What places in the world are you wanting to go? What is stopping you from saddling up and heading on out? Let me know in the comments below!
About the Author: Katerina Edwards
Katerina is a self-empowerment coach who guides others into the fuller and more expressed lives they’ve been wanting. Blessed with the gift of seeing through bullshit, Katerina helps you unravel yourself from the webs of lies and doubts you’ve been choking your creative spirit with. She is available for skype sessions and personal retreats in Costa Rica.
You can find her at her website www.katerinaedwards.com