“What a morning,” exclaims my friend Beth as we sit on outdoor swings, sipping smoothies at our favorite little café in Dominical. We’ve just finished a beach cleanup in collaboration with a reggae event that will be taking place here over the weekend.
This scene explains why I absolutely love living in this spot in Costa Rica. It’s like I get to live all my passions combined in a paradise that seems custom built for me. From the beach cleanups that I love—and which help to keep our beautiful oceans clean—to the upcoming reggae show tonight, to being able to share the experience with genuinely good people. The longer I live here and the more people I meet, the better and deeper my connection to my jungle home becomes.
Additionally, the reason I can even attend a beach cleanup at 8 a.m. on a Friday morning is because I own my own business and I can make my own work schedule. Living here has allowed me the freedom to find my niche in the tourism industry and make a living but also have the balance that I always craved in the U.S.
The Costa Ballena or South Pacific region of Costa Rica is a perfect fit for me. It has enough development and infrastructure that I can run my business online and there is easy access to banks and grocery stores for everyday needs. Yet it is close to the ocean and I can balance my work life with surfing and my passion for all things ocean and water related.
This area of Costa Rica offers the community feeling that I was always craving in the States. Here, I know my neighbors and I can walk to the little tienda to buy a couple of avocados for lunch (they cost about $1, but sometimes you can even be given some for free if your neighbors have a tree) and discuss the surf with friends that I bump into on the way over.
As a single woman, living abroad, I sometimes get the question “aren’t you ever lonely or bored?” “Heck no,” is my reply. I have way more friends and close connections here than I ever did in the U.S. People are not too busy to stop and talk to you and I know that if anything happens I would have several friends right there for me and I’d be happy to return the favor if they were ever in need.
For example, just this week alone, Monday and Tuesday afternoons I was out surfing glassy conditions with the local gang, Wednesday was pizza night with the neighbors after a morning workout with the lifeguards, Thursday was yoga up at a beautiful yoga retreat that my friends own, and Friday morning was the beach cleanup. This is a typical week here.
As I stopped at a neighboring beach this morning on my way home from the cleanup to watch the new swell arrive with big waves thundering to a close on the sand, I found myself feeling simply happy. I’m thankful every day for making the decision to move to Costa Rica.
Story narrated by By Tara Tiedemann.