This continues from Part 1 of Our Story
Life-changing and unforgettable, our road trip through Mexico and Central America bolstered our confidence and gave us wings to soar to even further horizons.
Arriving in Costa Rica, I was hit with this amazing sense of accomplishment.
We actually did it. We achieved something monumental that we set out to do.
If we could accomplish that, a seemingly impossible feat, is there really anything we could come up with that we couldn't do?
Our next step was to find a place to live.
Thinking we should visit the Central Valley before we made a decision, we drove from Guanacaste in the North (which we decided was definitely too hot), and took a road from Cañas around Lake Arenal (and past the volcano).
The jungle green scenery was beautiful, the climate temperate, and the whole place was captivating.
On a whim, we stopped by a local real estate office to see if there were any houses for rent in the area.
There was a furnished three bedroom home available, and would we like to see it?
Following the agent, she took us to a quaint little house with a beautiful view of the volcano, a fenced, grassy yard, and all the necessities we needed.
The price tag for all this? Only $425 a month.
We almost signed on the spot.
But we'd made arrangements to meet up with some expats in San Jose that we'd contacted via email, they're expecting us today, so we'll wait to make a decision.
The sun began to set as we drove along the road from Arenal to San Jose from La Fortuna to San Ramon.
What unfolded was some of the most impacting and arresting scenery I have ever beheld. I was awed into astonishment, blinded by beauty.
Deep green hills dotted with dairy cows supported puffs of white clouds while the sky above performed a magical, colorful dance as it escorted the sun from our view.
Living in San Jose
Visiting San Jose proved to be a life-altering decision.
We never returned to the simple bungalow in the shadow of Arenal. Instead we were sucked into the expat community in the thriving metropolis of Escazú.
Blinded by the ritz and glamor of international living, we soon signed on a 'modest' $1500 a month home perched on the mountains overlooking the San Jose Valley.
We hired a gardener and a full time maid, and looked at $7,000 sofas to furnish our new flat, in a never-ending effort to 'keep up with the Joneses'.
After a time, we even 'upgraded' to a 6,500 square foot, 2 1/2 million dollar home...(we just weren't getting it yet).
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times - we dined at gastronomical wonders, explored the country, visited beaches and waterfalls, took luxurious vacations and created some life-long friendships.
But our financial situation began to deteriorate. And the U.S. markets were beginning to collapse.
Taking a three week trip back to Utah to visit family, unexpected events took place which resulted in a two month stay, and an almost complete collapse of any financial security we might have had.
Liquidating any properties we still owned (mostly at a loss), and collecting any money we had left, we returned to Costa Rica hoping to downsize and be able to make it our permanent home.
However as the U.S. markets continued to cave in, and our income dried up, it was soon apparent that returning to a job in the States was our only viable option.
Coming Back to 'Reality'
With the help of some family and friends, we were able to establish a new home in Utah.
This time we lived in an apartment complex - an extreme opposite from the 'mansion on the hill' we'd previously lived in.
A testament to the resiliency of kids, ours called the new apartment complex 'The Castle'. The 'mansion' was just a 'big house.'
After our amazing road trip and adventure 'living the dream', we faced a few 'I told you so's' and 'welcome back to reality's'.
It was discouraging and demoralizing to realized that we had 'failed', not to mention difficult returning to a 'normal' life.
After weekends exploring waterfalls and swimming with dolphins, a Friday night movie seemed so mundane.
But there was nothing to be done about it. We were working now just to make ends meet.
Getting 'Bit' Again
We'd been in Utah less than a year when the travel bug began biting again.
Life abroad seemed so much more exciting to us - everyday tasks became an adventure, new experiences brought invigoration.
The planning began. We didn't know when, or how, but we planned anyway. With barely enough to pay the bills each month, we could still dream.
We researched locations, visas, plane tickets. Acting 'as if' we would be moving out of the country, slowly that dream turned into a reality.
Selling anything we still owned or had accumulated (including my prized treadmill and even my wedding ring), we gathered funds little by little.
Greg found an opportunity to do some more trading that would earn us a little bit monthly. I looked into doing freelance writing.
There were plenty of fears and 'what ifs'- What if we can't survive out there? What if we fail again? What will our friends and family think?
But our desire to 'live our dream' and to follow our heart won out, and we continued pursuing our passion despite the risks.
Finally the time came. We had enough money in the bank to last a few months, a plan for location independent income, six plane tickets to the Dominican Republic, and 12 suitcases plus carry-ons.
What will be our fate?
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