Blue Zones: where people live the longest.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned or won. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude”. – Denis Waitley
“Blue Zones” is a concept used to identify a demographic and/or geographic area of the world where people live measurably longer lives, only occurring in a handful of places on Earth. This concept is the result of research by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, as they identified 5 areas with the highest longevity they called “Blue Zones”. These places have a high concentration of people over age 100, and there is a substantial disability-free and disease-free life. People live significantly longer happier lives, in these places, than anywhere else in the world. The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, is one of these known longevity hotspots. People living in this area of Costa Rica are more than twice as likely, as other Americans, to reach age 90.
Studies have shown that the people who inhabit these Blue Zones seem to share 9 significant life characteristics:
1- A REASON TO LIVE - plan de viva – have a life purpose.
2- HAVE FAITH – engagement in spirituality or religion is common.
3- FOCUS ON FAMILY & FRIENDS – before other concerns or focuses.
4- WORK HARD – a strong work ethic is always present, physical activity is a regular part of life.
5- DRINK HARD WATER – Nicoya’s water has high amounts of magnesium & calcium, drinking & cooking with this water results in strong bones and muscles.
6- EAT YOUR VEGGIES, a majority of food consumed in Blue Zone’s is from plant-based materials, including many nutritious, rich, colorful fruits and numerous fresh vegetables.
7- GET LOTS OF SLEEP – The people of Nicoya are known for sleeping & waking with the sun, and for getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
8- GET SOME SUN – a healthy, daily dose of sun: mother nature’s anti-depressant
9- DON’T SMOKE CIGARETTES – smoking is not common in Blue Zone communities.
And, it would be safe to assume, these Blue Zone people don’t forget to stop in their own pursuit of happiness, to just be happy. They realize that being happy or miserable is a choice we make every day. The amount of work is the same. So why not choose happiness? If you want to be happy, BE.
Luckily you don’t have to move to a Blue Zone to live longer. If you implement the above list into your daily life, you can create your own wherever you are. Play your Blue Zone defense, in order to tackle life’s hardships. Change the way you see your world and create your own “happiness hotspot”. Just get in the Zone.
“walk in the rain,
stop along the way,
go on field trips,
find out how things work,
say the magic words,
trust the universe.”
We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
The other day Andy heard Sophie screeching outside and rushed out to find her sitting in the grass, calmly, with an entire crab leg attached to her foot. He later found the crab, both claws missing. Poor little crab, he didn’t have a chance against the Sophinator. She showed no mercy, ripping him limb from limb. But it was the crab, or Sophie I guess. No room for both, it is a small town.
Costa Rica makes such an animal lover out of everyone. I can’t even think about that poor leg-less crab. Seeing a squished iguana in the road, the other day, made me want to cry. We should have at least stopped and had a little service for him, or said a prayer. But what does one say at an iguana funeral?
The wildlife here is so special, it’s a tragedy to witness the early demise of a Costa Rican critter. The eyes of an animal speak a universal language. Maybe we have more to learn from animals than animals have to learn from us. Some people talk to animals, but not many listen.
“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” –James Herriot
Walking through rivers and Cornholio…
We visited Barrigona beach again (hidden surfers beach), this time Sophie came along. The river you have to walk through, to get to the beach, was about waist deep. Andy carried Sophie through the first crossing, but she swam herself across on the way back. She is a pretty good little swimmer. You’d think something the size of a hot dog, built like a tank, would immediately sink. But maybe she is a water dog after all.
The beach, when we got there, was completely deserted. We found a great spot in the shade and walked the short stretch of pure, white sand. Sophie hunted hermit crabs, while we napped in the shade. Andy collected sand, to fill his cornhole bags with (sandhole?). The beach slowly began to fill up with families, lovers and surfers. The day was a bit overcast, making the temperature bearable, with a nice side of ocean breeze.
The next day we took Andy’s freshly painted cornhole boards down to the beach in front of Lo Que Hay, and broke them in. It’s so much fun playing on the beach, in the sand with the waves crashing in the background, as the sun goes down. The boards turned out great, one is the Costa Rican flag and one is the flag of Guanacaste. Andy got a few locals to play, hopefully it’ll be a hit here. It’s a perfect beach game.
TRAVELING – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller
The animal watching is a full-time job around here, and I take my new job very seriously. Around each corner is a new, exciting animal encounter.
We had a small, adorable porcupine living in our mango tree for four days. The other day Andy saw a yellow-bellied sea snake at the beach, swimming in the bay. I get to watch hummingbirds and iguanas from the window in our shower. Wild horses constantly roam the streets of Samara. We’ve heard stories of a baby hammerhead shark recently being caught in Samara Bay, and the story of the crocodile that lives in a cave at the end of the beach.
After sharing our experience of seeing a crocodile at Playa Carrillo, we are told more stories of the four crocodiles that live there, one is reportedly a MONSTER. And grander stories of school kids fishing for crocs on the bridge, with hot dogs tied to strings. Apparently the crocs jump out of the water to eat the hot dog, which is quite the sight and always draws a crowd. I’ve never seen hot-dog-crocodile-bridge-fishing on a tour brochure before, but we better add that to the bucket list.
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list…
We’ve been discussing where we want to live next. We will be in Playa del Coco for November, and then back to Samara for December and January. But we have no plans beyond that. People always ask us what our plan is, and our only plan is to have no plan.
“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro
Monteverde is a place we’ve heard great things about. We’d like to experience living amongst the rural mountains, volcanoes, the famous cloud forest, and cool air. We’d also like to see the remote Osa Peninsula, and be surrounded by more nature and less people. And of course the gorgeous Caribbean side. Maybe even onto Panama for a while, and possibly Nicaragua. We could spend a month or so in each place, longer if we really like one area. We love Samara, and want to spend more time here before our move back to the states, but decided we may as well travel while we have the time. Once we move back to Oregon, we will most likely spend the rest of our lives living in one place. We have to embrace the freedom we have now, and the ability to open the map and say “where to next?” We want to see every drop of this beautiful country.
The world is big and we want to get a good look at it, before it goes dark.
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.