Pura Vida

January 9, 2013 in Costa Rica On The Horizon by Scott Alexander

So I’m leaving on March 1st. Going to Costa Rica, um, indefinitely. I have a one-way ticket. At the end of March, Zach, my son, is traveling down for his senior year spring break. He, of course, has a round-trip ticket.

His stay with me in Costa Rica will be part surfing, part safari. My trip, on the other hand… I’ve given my notice at work. Given notice to my landlord. I’m diligently studying Spanish now, something I probably should have done when I first moved to Miami. So I’m looking at the various regions, the various markets, the tourism and the climate, reading the blogs of expats, and trying to decide where to set up a home base.

While Zach is there, we’ll definitely be in the Jaco area at least part of the time. I’ve not yet decided whether I should establish myself there as a matter of convenience and practicality or elsewhere. It’s something I’ll hopefully decide well before the end of the month.

I plan to explore the country extensively. I plan to take a lot of photos. I plan to shoot a lot of video, including ones where I actually talk and make an appearance in front of the camera. (That way, you can watch as I grow a beard and begin conversing with a volleyball.) I plan to write a lot. I’ll meet lovely people, see wonderful things.

I’m still going to use this site as my home. Though I’m probably going to get rid of this bland minimalist layout. Really, there’s just no good easy-to-navigate, see-all-the-photos kind of design that works for me. But I have GOT to change it around. There’s going to be a TON of new stuff to look at when I hit foreign soil. I’ll be doing a large amount of photography. Wholly new subjects in a wholly new environment: street, life and nature.

Why Costa Rica?

Why not? I mean, really. I have absolutely nothing better to do so why not do exactly that in one of the most beautiful, lush, tropical paradises on earth? Costa Rica has unmatched biodiversity, it’s rich in culture, it’s one of the few democracies on the planet without a standing military, it has high literacy rates, low crime, and, dear god, it’s home to the United Nations University of Peace. It’s the epicenter of beautiful, peaceful living. A place where the people are known for their warmth and concern. I mean, why would I NOT want to live there?! And this is all outside of the fact that it is home to some of the best surfing in the world (with all sorts of breaks up and down both peninsulas), some of the best coffee in the world, and some of the best chocolate in the world. There’s a town actually named Paradise!

I’ve grown to be very comfortable living a sort of minimalist lifestyle. I don’t require much. I have very few of the things that people consider luxuries. I know the expat lifestyle. I have a wandering spirit. I’m a third-culture kid. So why not?

I do have more, though. Something a bit more compelling than simple luxuries and beauties in life. Costa Rica holds a special place in my heart. And I know I’ve shared this story with some. Years ago, when the boys were very young, I decided that when they reached an appropriate age, we would all learn how to surf. And we did. And it was magical. It was something that bound the three of us together like nothing else. It was our thing. And we had this dream of going surfing in Costa Rica, just the three of us. The three amigos.

My children were minors at the time, and my ex would never sign for passports, it was established. So it would have to be when Zach turned 18 before we could all go. Zach is 18 now. The day I arrive in Costa Rica will be exactly three years to the date of Alec’s death. He’ll be there in spirit, I know, while we’re riding the waves in Costa Rica.

Since that dream is already being fulfilled and I’m already going there, why not just… just…
Just, why not?

I’m not foolish enough to believe that there aren’t down sides or that there won’t be challenges. Life is like that. And I don’t have some fantastic belief of a better life because of my locale or because of a bonding dream. But the beauty, the allure, the everything good outweighs anything else. Reality is what you make it.

I’ve always believed that a person can do anything. Be anyone. Go anywhere. Home is just where you sleep. And so that’s where I’d like to sleep. That is where I want to make my home. In paradise.

Too, it’s time for me to be replanted. I need water. I need to grow. I think I will blossom very beautifully in Costa Rica. And it is my hope that, from there, the winds will carry forth seeds of goodness and spread them far and wide.

Pura vida.

One last thing: Don’t give up the fight. I’m certainly not.