“You can only walk the dog on the beach and read in the hammock so much. I miss my work” – this from an expat who achieved “the dream”. He and his wife had retired from their successful business in the U. S. and had bought land and built a gorgeous ocean view home here in Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone.
Hearing this statement set my wheels to turning. I can’t remember the last time that I was bored. Natalie either, we both need to set time aside and make sure that we spend some time every week walking the dogs on the beach and reading in a hammock. These activities are downright good for the soul. However, I can definitely see how there is a limit to how much one can do of these activities before they get to jonesing for some activity of a more productive nature.
I work with lots of people that are re-locating or who are looking to make a connection of some kind to the zone. In the consultation phase, I focus on helping with understanding the various aspects of life here that are different from “back home”. How to buy property, how to open a bank account, a corporation, how to learn Spanish, how to get health insurance, where is there a decent dentist and so on. In my consultations, I try and touch on the various points that are a concern to all of us as we integrate with life here in The Zone. Up till this point, I had never really thought about boredom-management being a line item on my consultation list.
One of my dearest friends is, well how to say… along in years. Yeah, that’s it. His life has been one of extraordinary and high achievement. He’s at the point now where they won’t sell him life insurance, (well, they will but at the price its more realistic to say they won’t.) He tells me that a “long term” investment to him is measured in months, not years.
This dear old friend and I started doing business together some time back. I’ll never forget when he said to me “Ben, you’re keeping me alive”.
Here again, a man who had achieved what so many set out to achieve, and now his life is being enhanced by being included in what I do on a daily basis. I find this fascinating. Is there something missing from “the dream”?
I’ve got to work. I have financial obligations and am not in a position to retire. So I look for ways to do this while living in this foreign land. I truly believe that working here in Costa Rica is an act of creativity. In fact, it was my efforts to be creative and to think outside of the box that initially drew my attention over to some of the potential business “assets” that I have available to me. How about an older man that figured things out in his day back in the States? Would he be interested in sharing his thoughts and perspectives on my business efforts? “Ben, you’re keeping me alive” he says. This is what I call a fit.
My dear old friend and my clients mentioned earlier differ in that Old Friend is happy and content here. The other is moving back to the States. Granted, there are lots of reasons for moving back to the States. When our kids have kids we tend to lose our minds and feel that being with the grandkids is the thing that has to be done, regardless of what it takes. However, I’ve met a number of folks here that say that the kids can come here to see them, by golly.
I wonder if the difference really might be the activity/boredom balance.
Now in my real estate and relocation consulting service, I include this point about boredom in the schpiel. Costa Rica isn’t like the States where so much of one’s time is spent shopping as a form of pastime or entertainment. You lose this habit here pronto. Shopping here in the zone takes about 2 hours, tops, then you’re done.
You can make a day of it, and many do, if you want to go up to the San Isidro farmers market on Thursday and/or Friday. Travel time from Uvita is just under an hour each way. It’s also quite the adventure to simply stroll the streets of San Isidro and window shop. This can be a lot of fun, but it won’t ever be more than the occasional thing that you do here.
There are some interesting and creative efforts that have been made by folks who have chosen to make Costa Rica their home. In an upcoming article I’ll tell you about some of these efforts. I’ve even got a favorite that I’ll share with you.
First, I’ll take the easy road and tell you what I do. I run the real estate company: Guys In The Zone. My partner Rod Martin and I have forged one of the deepest working/friendship relationships on the planet. Knowing that you’ve got a partner through thick and thin gives life a depth that it otherwise doesn’t have and I’ve got this in Rod.
So, we call it the business of real estate, but the funny thing is, we spend the majority of our time doing things that really aren’t “real estate” by definition.
All those points that I mentioned above, the points about bank accounts, learning Spanish and so on? We consider these topics regularly as we work with people on real estate. Who would’a thunk that a discussion about how to learn Spanish or quieting the internal dialogue would be involved with the business of real estate? Well, it’s all part of the package. When you sell real estate in Costa Rica, you become the single point of contact for folks that are interested in The Zone either as a place to vacation, invest, migrate to for half the year, or full blown live here. I gotta say, this makes life interesting.
In addition to this I enjoy writing articles such as this one for our blog, as well as publishing articles in the local Montañas al Mar magazine. I’m involved with CAP (Crime Awareness and Prevention) and just try and find things that need doing.
I say all that to demonstrate why the thought of boredom is a strange one in my world.