On Sosua Beach in the Dominican Republic

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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?

Flat tire in Costa Rica

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.

On the road to San Carlos, Costa Rica

Living in San Jose

Visiting San Jose proved to be a life-altering decision.

Beautiful but extravagant

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'

In the mountains of Utah

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.

Layover in Atlanta

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?

Continued in Part 3



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22 Responses

  1. Sophie

    Very inspiring! I’ve always wonder how can me and my family venture on a long travel together.

  2. Jinesh

    I wish I could start living life like that But the only question I have is, how you manage education of kids of various ages in elementary, middle or High school if you are on move all the time like a Nomad Family ?

    • Rachel


      There are so many resources for education now days – especially with the internet, even middle and high school classes online.

      We follow a very unique approach to schooling – a cross between A Thomas Jefferson Education, Unschooling, Montessori – which makes learning together one of the greatest pleasures of our travel adventures! We love it.

  3. Jack

    You guys do an amzaing adventure! Can it be a hard job to do that? No family in China will make trips like yours. How can you make it as you’d need gas for the RV, food for parents and kids etc?

  4. Lucille

    Thank you for living your dream; it helps me to choose and live mine. I truly feel the love and joy that comes through your video updates.


  5. Erin

    We are a soon to be nomadic family. I am so appreciative of this peek into our future. We have sold a business at a decent price and will be leaving with a decent amount of cash. What is your opinion of an adequate monthly budget (we are 3…2 adults, one child)? I hope to connect with you and other like minded families. Our adventure begins in peru in April.
    Happy travels!

    • Rachel

      Hi Erin,

      How exciting! Being nomadic is not for everyone, but we certainly enjoy it. It’s difficult to say what an adequate monthly budget is, because it depends so much on your personal lifestyle expectations, location (even within Peru), etc. etc.

      If you want to live very inexpensively, it’s very possible. It’s also possible to live abroad and spend lots of money to, so mostly it’s up to you. I do know of one family that has two children and they live on an expensive island in a very nice condo and spend about $3000 a month for all living expenses, plus fun travel and adventures every month.

      Depending on the level of accommodations, kind of food, and how much you want to spend on other activities, you could live very nice for anything less than that.

  6. Erin

    Thank you, Greg! I appreciate a hard number as a jumping off point. Given that we plan to be on the move a bit more often (every 6-10 weeks or so), we may have to adjust, but it is nice to have a ballpark idea.

    It would be great to connect with you and other nomads. As I am sure you did, there are some questions we still haven’t found answers to…though maybe that’s part of the adventure. It is nice to have like minded resources though!

    We seem to have similar interests and ideas as we too have been deeply involved in the personal development world. (I even have a book out in the genre 🙂

    Thanks again!
    Erin, Steve, and Tyler Tullius
    P.S. Please note that our website is not yet up and running…a couple more weeks 🙂

    • Rachel


      Thanks for commenting. We would love to connect. You can email us at rdenning at discovershareinspire.com Sounds like you have a fun adventure planned!

  7. Chris Palmer

    What’s next! This is a fun read. Can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next, even though I already kinda know. You guys are awesome.

  8. Chuck Bird

    I have enjoyed your journey thus far. Looking forward to reading the rest. Rachel, you have a great talent for writing! When is the next installment coming out? Where is your destination in Argentina? Cathy and I went down there in October but our flight was cancelled to Bariloche because of the volcanic ash in the air from Chile. Our 3 week trip was cut short to a week in Buenos Aires. And to make matters worse, we had TWO CAMERAS STOLEN from us there in 2 daYS! I guess Argentina was telling us something! Anyway, keep writing!

    • Rachel

      Thank you very much, I think I need to finish writing the story…

      We plan on exploring all of Argentina, we’ll visit the very tip, Ushuaia for sure, and then drive back up and visit Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil. Sounds like you had a rough trip! That stinks.

  9. Carol Kaatz

    I lived through the story with you and still find it a fascinating read! It brought tears to my eyes and a laugh out loud remembering with you! Love you so much and MISS you!!!

  10. Marie Partridge

    I am completely sucked in and fascinated! You have such a gift for writing. Write more!


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