I did a four-page Excel spreadsheet giving various categories of life 1 to 5 points in column for the U.S. and for Costa Rica. I will not attach the spreadsheet. Be aware that even though I was trying to be objective, it is probably still more subjective and my heart is probably leading more than my mind, though I am still trying to be “rational.” In this tally Costa Rica won 76 to 68 which is actually pretty close!
It is nature that has been attracting me to Costa Rica for years and what I loved best about the four times I have visited. Birding, hiking, nature photography is simply better here than anywhere I have been. My #1 reason for going. Because it costs all of my fixed income to live in the States, I have been, maybe foolishly, using savings for these trips, which must stop, thus . . .
Financially I have figured out how I can live for less there (where I like to travel) and save for trips or future emergencies which I haven’t been doing a good job of in the States. Now be aware that my cost of living will be lower there only if I live like a local. It is actually the most expensive Central American country, mainly because of the high cost of imported goods (especially cars). Thus I will try to “eat local” which will cost less and be healthier. Shopping too much at Walmart (which is there) could blow my budget!
Weather is a big trump card for Costa Rica. Atenas, where I am now considering an apartment, was declared by National Geographic as “the best climate on earth,” averaging 72 year-around or always between 65 & 85.
The culture/people is the best I have experienced anywhere, friendly, welcoming, often rated the happiest country on earth, no ethnic/racial conflict, religious though differently than me, educated, conservation-oriented, economically sound, democratically elected government, and a good blend of the modern and the historic. I am a follower of Christ wherever I live and there will be a fellowship of Christians I can become a part of and it could even be Baptist, but may not be.
Super public transportation which will replace my car and another way I will save money.
One of the best healthcare systems in the world with choices of both private and public programs.
Volunteer opportunities abound including IN Bio which may replace my beloved Nashville Zoo and of course schools, church, other conservation efforts.
Language & Stuff are two challenges. I’m in a Spanish class this fall in Nashville and will get in one in C.R. soon after arrival. I will again downsize, getting rid of some stuff and storing the rest for at least a year before I decide on what if anything will be shipped to Costa Rica.
What will I do? Nature photography, more photo books, maybe sell to tourist shops, writing, reading, hiking, helping other people in multiple ways, and finding new ways of worshiping God. I have never been without something to do and always love the experience of adventure. So from here on, you may follow my adventures on my Retirement Adventures Blog. It begins now in preparation for the move. And every once in awhile click on one of those ads on my blog. I get paid a few pennies for every click! 🙂
And remember, I lived three years in The Gambia, West Africa, my favorite place to have ever lived, and it is a true 3rd world country with pitiful healthcare and corrupt government. So Costa Rica will be a real vacation for me!