While in Costa Rica, I spent a lot of time with two different friends who moved to Costa Rica 25 years ago when they were in their late 20s. Having been an expat twice (although never in a third world country) I know that there are specific challenges that expats face in each country. And from the stories I’ve heard (many of which are wildly entertaining), Costa Rica has more than it’s share.
These two friends have a lot in common, including some traits, e.g., determination, that have enabled them to thrive in Costa Rica. But the one commonality that struck me is that both developed a clear vision that they pursued (and to a large extent realized) in Costa Rica. As it turns out, both of their visions involved environmental causes. One had a vision of buying and protecting one of the last major rivers in Costa Rica that has not been damned, including thousands of acres of rainforest surrounding it. And the other had a vision of protecting primary rainforest on the Osa Peninsula and creating a corridor for animals to move from Corcovado National Park to the Southeast part of the peninsula. But I don’t think that the specific vision that they had is as important as is the fact that they both had one. And my gut is that both of them would have left this country a long time ago if they hadn’t had one that they could pursue.
We are not in our 20s anymore. But I think we both need a clear vision for the next phase of our life to be truly happy. Fortunately, this trip, including the experiences we are having and the people that we are meeting, are helping us to refine our collective and respective visions. And it’s awesome to have the opportunity to do that.