Four years ago I was planning on going to Indonesia with a friend, live there for a while and bring back to Brazil stuff to sell to pay for the trip. I was single, I was fearless and I had the money to do it.
Then I got pregnant. And I embraced the mommy life with all my enthusiasm. I knew everything would change and I wouldn’t be as free to go, but I also knew that I would keep the adventure in my life and would soon add the baby into some tripping plans.
I started to envision us going to live abroad while she was still little, I knew it would be the perfect way to teach her a second language. And we spent two months in Chile at different times and 3 weeks in Italy with our family. But I still wanted to do the full on living abroad deal.
Life took on a routine by itself and I found us rooted down to our beach town in Brazil. A wonderful place to live with or without children. In our daily lives we go to the beach very often, we visit friends, she goes to a wonderful kindergarten, we have an unconventional family (friends that we will be attached to for life), I surf, I play the guitar, and occasionally I even date.
Our perfect life has threatened my adventurous initiative. I also started to feel a bit scared of taking off with a child by myself. I’ve been postponing the dream of taking Luísa on an extended trip with me.
But fear won´t hold me back from doing this. I set to myself a deadline to make this happen: before she turns 5 we should go. It´s easier to learn a different language (or even more than one) and it´s great for a kid to move and have memories of different places to relate to. I believe living in different places helps our memory to develop.
At least this worked for me. When I was five, my family moved to another state for two years. I always relate my early memories before we moved, while we were there, and after we went back. I think having moved helped me into having a memory of my early life. Without it, I think things would have gotten a lot more blurred as in at what age I learned what (like playing with rabbits in the kindergarten when I was 4, riding the bike when I was 5, meeting my best friend again after two years when I was 7).
I want Luísa to have this physical and time difference to relate to, to remember. I want her to learn another language fluently. I want us to meet a different culture and relate to other families and see how they manage the whole educational process. I want to get away from what I´m used to see and learn more with different people. I want to see the world with my own eyes (lately I’ve been a firm believer that most of what is taught is a lie, but I won’t go into this tangent now).
Ok, so with this all in mind, there is a whole world out there to choose from. After considering a few countries, I chose Costa Rica.
People say it´s really expensive there, but as I made my researches, I´m counting on living there with something around a US$1000 a month. And if for some reason it´s more expensive, than we bounce to a nearby country.
We can spend 6 months on our savings, but I will try to make some money on line and I might find myself some work there in the tourism industry. Bottom line about our money situation is that we can stay for a while with no worries while being open and ready to take any opportunities that might cross my way.
Here are some good reasons I found to choose Costa Rica:
Nature – 25% of its area is protected, nearly 40% of the country is covered by forests (according to Wikipedia). There are volcanoes (which I love all about), stunning beaches, and a wild life to be seen.
It has no military force – This is an example the whole world should know of. I want to check in loco how this works. There must be some political intelligence behind this (although I believe politics can only perpetuate our problems, check The Venus Project to find out more on this view of a world without politics).
They have a saying “Pura Vida” (Pure Life) that they use all the time for everyone. They wish it to people or even call each other like that. It may sound silly, but I think it’s an awesome approach to life and a guarantee I´ll find friendly people.
Perfect Waves – You know I´m a surfer, right? Costa Rica has the second longest left in the world. They say your legs get tired for standing on the same wave for so long. I figured I should check this out for myself
English – although the official language there is Spanish, I’m finding out that many schools are bilingual. Tourism is the main economic source in Costa Rica and most tourists are from the US. I think I´ll get to see Luísa practicing both Spanish and English while we are there – nice.
Hot men with cute accents – do I need to say something more?
So, we are set. We will be landing in San Jose on January 17th, in one month from now.
We will be CouchSurfing with an unschooling family near San Jose for a couple of days before we head to the Pacific Coast, where I´ll look for a town with nice waves and a nice kindergarten for Luísa.
I don´t know how this trip will go, how many people we will meet, what experiences this will bring. I´m keeping my fears to the unknown to a minimum, trusting life and that we will manage to get all right in all given situations.
Will you stick around with us to see what happens there?