I am a real estate agent in Costa Rica. I am also a borderline tree hugger. Oxymoron, right? Granted, I sell property here that has been developed by someone else who likely had to cut a road into the building site. He / she may also have purchased a large tract of land known here as a finca, and then went through the process of subdividing and bringing in the infrastructure necessary for human habitation. I do sell these properties, and so one might think that I, along with all of my professional peers here, are a part of the problem, ecologically speaking. I hope not.
My first 5 years here in Costa Rica, I started up a small Internet marketing company that actually worked, to a limited degree. My wife and I had some funds from the sale of a property in Colorado back in the States and felt that we would use those funds to provide the milti-lingual, multi-cultural experience of living in Costa Rica for ourselves and our children. We understood that making money in a foreign land was iffy at best and so we were prepared to use up what funds we had to provide this experience for ourselves. We calculated that right about when the kids were grown and ready to go off on their own, as is the custom of our culture, we would then turn our attention to making money. I would be in my mid forties, which would likely be my earning prime, so I could go back to the States and jump back into the market and work toward retirement at that point.
I am right on track with one difference. I didn’t need to go back to the States. Real Estate has afforded me the option of staying here and working toward my retirement. As regards my Internet business, it actually did quite well, but only slowed down the out-go of our funds. At that time here in the Dominical area there simply wasn’t the money necessary to pay well for Internet services. This has changed now though. Internet marketing is big business here.
When I first considered getting into real estate, I had a struggle of conscience. Was I really willing to jump into the industry that was involved with the development of this amazing and beautiful and delicate country? No, I wasn’t… yes I… well if… and on went the struggle. A lucrative offer was on the table from a local developer for me to start a company. Since I was without funds at that time, this was the only way that it could happen. But I was torn. Maybe if I went back to the States and got back into the environmentally sound industry of art marketing I would feel better about that. (Although, there has been some controversy around the use of yellow pigment. There was talk of banning “yellow” due to ecological concerns. I didn’t track that issue so I’m not sure how it turned out.) But I really wanted to stay here in Costa Rica, this had become my home. Would I be selling out to get into real estate?
Well, if it is “selling out”, then that is what I did. However, I did come up with a point of reason that enables me to represent myself as a “borderline tree-hugger”. By the way, I say borderline since I am not an extreme tree hugger. I really do feel that trees are the answer. I feel heart-sad when I am walking in the jungle and I come upon a large Guanacaste tree, or a Jabillo that is as big around as my truck or bigger. Just standing underneath one of these isolated behemoths of a time gone by has a wonderful affect on the human spirit. Shade, cool air motion, a moist healthy feel to the air as one breaths it in. There is a little ecosystem there, complete with lizards, frogs, birds, all manner of insects, but almost never bothersome. What would it have been like to live at that time prior to these trees being cut down? To walk under the canopy on the resulting soft loam. Now when we walk through the jungle, we oftentimes have to hack through the brush. Under the big guys there is no hacking necessary. It is park like with the under-story plants thoughtfully placed in their decorative places by an intelligent unseen hand.
These trees hold the soil, process massive amounts of carbon, and provide solace to over stressed humans. Need I say more? Trees are important.
So, is it possible that I could actually enter into this profession and affect a healthy influence from within? Looking back over my first 3 years in the business, I’d say that yes, I have been able to and am doing so. Bear with me as I relate an experience I had the other day that has helped me to better appreciate this now than when I originally made my decision. To be continued…
Read Part II of “Struggles of Conscience”
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