I have learned many life lessons in the last year, as my husband Andy and I have traveled around Costa Rica, without a plan, chasing dreams that are hard to catch. Here is a collection of my favorites:
1) I've learned simplicity is freedom, and freedom is happiness. Not receiving junk mail, or mail at all, removes so much clutter from our lives. Going without things we used to take for granted makes us realize we need less than we thought. Less stuff, less stress. I don't need a dishwasher, or washer and dryer. Instead we do the dishes by hand, immediately after using them. It's just simpler, easier. We hang our clothes to dry outside. We don't have cable, we don't have flatscreen TV's, we don't have smart phones. I've learned that all you need is less.
2) I've learned that I was addicted to television. I always had it on at my house, ALWAYS. I liked the background noise. Even when nothing interesting was on, I would spend hours in front of the TV, like a brain-washed zombie. Removing the option of a TV has been the best medicine for a rich life.
3) I've learned it's better to count your blessings instead of your blemishes. I've learned it's pointless to complain about things you can't control. I've learned that people in the states seem to truly enjoy complaining about the weather. OMG, it's SOOO hot! (and this is after months of complaining about how cold it was) Give me a break, try being in a mosquito-infested, 99-degree, stuffy beach shack with no air flow, with 100% humidity, where you literally never stop sweating for one second, and then talk to me about hot. (Oops...did I just complain about the weather?)
4) I've learned that "fear of missing out" is a real thing, as our friends and families go on with their lives back home. We may be living it up in Costa Rica, having the time of our lives, but we're also haunted by missing important milestones and life events: weddings, funerals, babies, birthdays, business ventures...moments and opportunities we can never get back.
5) I've learned that wherever you go, there you are. When we sold our house and belongings, and moved to Costa Rica, we were each dropped in front of a full-length mirror, the universe demanding we stand there, naked and vulnerable, staring at ourselves until we could learn to unconditionally love the person staring back at us. And we're still learning. We get it wrong more days than we get it right. I've learned problems don't melt away, they don't stay only in one country, your problems are a part of you. They follow you like your shadow, you cannot run from them.
6) I've learned that under the stress of living in a foreign country you don't speak the native language of, every flaw is magnified. You see a person in their rawest, most real and ugly moments. I've learned that marriage means loving someone, even when they are being completely unlovable. I've learned that true love stands by each other on good days, and stands even closer on bad days.
7) I've learned how deeply I love my husband and that there is no one else in the world I would rather be on this crazy life adventure with. I've learned that we have each others backs, no matter what. I've learned what a good, strong person he is and I admire his courage on this journey as nothing seems to scare him and he always remains calm and level-headed…(while I freak out).
8) I've learned that your wealth or status doesn't make you who you are, but your kindness, character, and how you treat people does. I've learned that kindness begins with me, and kindness begins with you. I've learned that if you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another. I've learned that a smile can be understood in any language and that kindness goes a long way.
9) I've learned that money doesn't make people happy. Some of the richest souls I have met on this journey have next to nothing. I've learned that if you live your life like money is all that matters, you're doing it wrong. If you want to feel rich, then count everything in your life that money can't buy. I've learned there are people so poor the only thing they have is money.
10) I've learned that not every day is all beaches, sunsets and monkeys. Some days are hard, some days are harder, as moments of culture shock and feelings of being homesick still creep up on us at unexpected times. But every morning is a chance to start over and try again, and that truly is a gift. Every day is an adventure and I've learned that today is a good day to have a good day.
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.