Life is Short and Life is Long, But Not in That Order! PURA VIDA!

Why time really does seem to go faster when you get older is an interesting article about the

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately.
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”
~Henry David Thoreau 

logarithm of time perception over the years. Hopefully this link to the Washington Post article will work if not a subscriber. Don’t miss the cool video clip in the article! And yes, time seems to be flying by for me here in Costa Rica! Been here 7 months today and I never look back! Loving life here! And the Tico people!

I’m also learning to live in the moment more (like we did as little kids) and enjoying the simple things of life like a tropical rain or a butterfly flitting over my balcony. While still anticipating new adventures, like the three day trip next week to the Carara National Park to hopefully photograph Scarlet Macaws, yet knowing there will be a serendipity of some kind, with or without a macaw! Pura vida!

Pura vida. Pronounced POO-rah VEE-dah, in English means, “Pure Life”. However, these two words have much more meaning throughout the Costa Rican culture.

But where did Costa Ricans take this phrase from? According to a study of the expression, a film called Pura vida came to Costa Rica from Mexico in 1956, directed by Gilberto Martinez Solares. In the movie, “Pura vida” is the expression of eternal optimism used by a comic character, played by the actor Antonio Espino, who unfortunately can’t seem to do anything right. While a small population used it then, the phrase “Pura vida” was used nationwide by 1970.

Associated with many different English interpretations like “pure life”, “take it easy”, “enjoy life”, “all good”, “purity in life”, “hello”, “goodbye”, “this is life!” and many many more. The point is that foreigners truly don’t have a true grasp of the meaning of “pura vida” as they are not Costa Ricans themselves.

Pura vida! Means that no matter what your current situation is, life for someone else can always be less fortunate than your own. So you need to consider that maybe…just maybe, your situation isn’t all that bad and that no matter how little or how much you have in life, we are all here together and life is short…so start living it “pura vida style”.

Beginning to understand now, the true meaning of the uniquely Costa Rican term, “Pura Vida”? We feel that the more “foreigners” who truly grasp the concept, the better the world would be. Imagine if countries like the USA or Canada or in Europe started to live life like the Costa Ricans and adopted the pura vida lifestyle? Because honestly folks…no matter how much of a mess your life may seem, there is always someone else who’s life would make yours look like a vacation in paradise.

Pura vida description copied from:

I am not necessarily recommending this travel agent and have not personally experienced them yet, but like I their description of Pura Vida better than others I found!   🙂   I do plan to try them for one of my future adventures because I like their approach to nature tours.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. 
We have only today. Let us begin.” 
― Mother Teresa

Caring for Nature

Celebrate Your Life
Care for Nature

I recently noticed this sign nailed to a tree in Central Park Atenas below some air plants. Costa Ricans are known for celebrating and enjoying life! And the country is a haven for nature unlike most others. Maybe someone put this sign here to educate the youth who hang out in the park a lot, since many of them are more interested in things than nature. As a nature-lover I’m glad to see it anyway.

The government and tourism leadership are working to make Costa Rica one of the “greenest” tourist countries in the world. Maybe now they will work harder on educating the local people concerning littering and misuse of things like the greywater I wrote about earlier. There is not much they can do about volcanic ash, but at least it is fairly rare with some volcanoes erupting only every 400 years. All of these little environmental concerns are important because together with the daily destruction of forests by man’s hunger for wood, land, and “progress,” we are systematically destroying the world that God made for us. The “care for nature” is still minimal in our world, even in Costa Rica. May we all celebrate life by caring for nature!

Now this good news as it was reported in “Costa Rica Insider” one of the newsletters I get:

100% renewable energy

More exciting news recently out of Costa Rica. The country’s electric utility company, ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad) announced that during the first 75 days of 2015, the country had been running completely on renewable energy resources—with no burning of fossil fuels needed to generate electricity. The primary source is hydroelectric (Lake Arenal was actually created to power a hydroelectric plant), followed by geothermal (all that volcanic activity underground comes in handy), wind, and a good bit of solar, too.
Costa Rica has set an ambitious goal of being completely carbon neutral for its power generation by 2021. And it already generates more than 90% of its power on average through renewable sources.
Ticos and expats are psyched. And the achievement has also attracted attention from environmental watchers and media organizations from around the world.

“We cannot think too highly of nature, nor too humbly of ourselves.”

Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832)


“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” 


― Chris Maser, Forest Primeval: The Natural History of an Ancient Forest



Why I Hope to Die at 75 . . .

Got your attention, huh? That is the title of a philosophy (not a book yet) that was reviewed tonight on the PBS Newshour, Why I Hope to Die at 75 by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel. The link is to The Atlantic interview since I can’t find Judy Woodruff’s interview on

What the doctor brother of Ron Emanuel is talking about is something I basically subscribe to, though I expect to live past 75 which happens for me next year in Costa Rica! Otherwise, let nature take its course! One of the things he says is:

Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either.

That has become my philosophy after two years living in a retirement center that promised an active lifestyle but has at times depressed me with the mostly infirm residents talking more about their ailments than anything else while I trip over walkers and wheel chairs in the dining room, my first nudge toward retiring in a place like Costa Rica. I actually expect to live to 85 or 95, but I could just as easily go next year and I’m ready if so. When I cease contributing to my world and start being a drain on the world and the people around me, then it seems best to go. Though basically healthy now, my body is not getting stronger, healthier or better. I am past “my peak” and will at some point become a drain on society and that is what I do not want. Well, read the article and you will see what I mean.

In the meantime I’ll do the things I enjoy the most: interacting with nature, loving God and people, and find a church or Christian fellowship. I believe I can do it with more freshness and adventure in a tropical rainforest! (I’m weary of everything American.) The move is already helping me simplify my life and slow down – just one adventure a week!  🙂  I think I will rest more, write more, create more photographic images. Of course having no grandchildren also makes it easier to go.

After I gain residency, I will get on the very affordable government healthcare program, CAJA, that will not likely try to over-extend my life and my advance directives are already in place. No more colonoscopies or worrying about my health, cancer, heart or stroke. When it is time to go, I will hopefully go quickly. Plus I have insurance that will fly my ashes back to Nashville to be buried next to Juli (If I haven’t donated my body to C.R. Medical School as I had planned for Vanderbilt in Nashville). Either way, a perfect ending.

In short, Dr. Emanuel’s philosophy seems to fit in with some of my unstated reasons for moving to Costa Rica. I’m nearing the end of my life and choosing to end it in a place I truly love. Simple.

And friend Robbie shared another quote that fits my big move:

Taking a chance and stepping beyond the safety of the world we’ve always known is the only way to grow.”
— Wil Wheaton,
American actor

Sticker Shock Twice Today! And Carretas!

Sarchi is just 21 km (25 minutes) north of Atenas and where these famous
painted oxcarts (carretas) are made, plus it’s the furniture making capital of Costa Rica
where I will buy furniture if I ever move to an unfurnished apartment.
I made this photo in Sarchi in 2010. Soon I’ll photograph the Atenas Oxcart Parade.

Today was another big step in my process of moving to Costa Rica. I sent the required documents for my Pensionado Residency application to my Costa Rica attorney. He will soon begin the application process so maybe I’ll have my residency by next summer. Today it brought some sticker shock at DHL. First, to send the stack of papers I’ve talked about earlier (Birth Certificate, Police Background Check, Social Security Letter, and U.S. Embassy Registration) by Registered DHL Express Courier, it cost $71. What?! Well, it is a very important package, that must get there safely, not get lost, and I spent almost that on getting the contents. Soooo, I just rationalized my acceptance of it!  🙂

My second sticker shock came when I asked the DHL man how much it would cost to send a 50 lb suitcase to San Jose, Costa Rica (thinking it would be cheaper than excess baggage on the plane). We estimated suitcase measurements and punched it all in his computer at 50 lbs. to find it would cost around $1,400! Wow! And I thought American Airlines excess baggage was expensive! I will check at least one other shipper, but it looks like I will move to Costa Rica with whatever I can get in 5 suitcases. I wanted to simplify my life and this will actually help me do that as I prioritize what is important and what I can live without. This fun adventure continues! And thanks to Robbie for this cool quote:

One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”— William Feather, American publisher