Wanderlust – Destination: Costa Rica

I hate the winter, so I’m moving to Costa Rica.

Well, there are other reasons, but chief among them is the fact that any weather which requires me to wear long sleeves makes me irritable.

Other reasons include: the lower cost of living (which will be important since I’m in the start-up phase of beginning a business and frugality is crucial), time zone proximity to my business partner in the US, cheaper cost of living, desire to learn Spanish (but not to be stranded in a place where I can’t function without it), and the need to sate my wanderlust which, if put it off any longer after 2 years of grad school, will demand that I move to Papua New Guinea for the next decade.

Costa Rica is one of the countries that US citizens can go to without a visa and stay in for up to 90 days (this also played into my decision). As luck would have it, the next major business milestone that requires my geographical presence will take place in Beijing after the holiday season; my 90 day excursion neatly falls between now and then.

Other than basing major life decisions entirely on first world problems and minor annoyances, I tend to be a very meticulous and organized person, so after choosing the destination (and buying my plane tickets to stomp out any last minute wishy-washiness), I went about researching everything I could about Costa Rica and ended up finding a fantastic sublet in Playas del Coco (pictured above) for the exact dates of my trip. Playas del Coco is a small town in the northwest of Costa Rica and my place is just a few short blocks from the beach.

Incidentally, I don’t know a single person in Costa Rica. This is new for me. As much as I’ve traveled and lived abroad, I’ve never really gone anywhere where I didn’t know anyone. I figured it might be a good challenge. Everyone seemed to be impressed that I moved out of the country 5 years ago but, though I had less of a life plan then than I do now, I did have a close friend to help me figure things out when I got to China. As glad as I am for that, and as confident as I am that I can survive without that type of crutch now, I want to actually DO it. And why wait?

The biggest question I get asked is why I feel the need to leave the country at all. The answer is complex, but what it boils down to is that there is nowhere in the US where I feel entirely comfortable. With the possible exception of my time living in Hawaii, I have never been entirely satisfied by what any one place has to offer.


I doesn’t only boil down to some existential need to find the “perfect” place. Really what it means is that, if I don’t feel a very strong connection to any one location, why settle when there’s a whole world out there to explore? Though I have many places that I love in the US and where I have family and amazing friends, for some reason none of them are very attractive to me as places to live permanently.

I don’t really know what it is that makes me want to GO. I just feel like there is so much that I have yet to experience, so many perspectives I want to better appreciate. Perhaps it’s the fact that every time I travel I feel like I come back a different person; I’m addicted to the changes in myself that travel brings, the shifts in understanding that learning new languages brings, the understanding of myself that being foreign brings.

Or maybe I just love the beach. In any case, next stop: Costa Rica. After that is anyone’s guess.