It seems that we can hardly start talking about our moving back to the U.S. without taking a closer look at why we came here in the first place. Of course — shameless plug warning! — if you read my book Unraveling the Mysteries of Moving to Costa Rica you’d get a nice whole chapter or two on the subject!
I see and talk with a lot of folks who are moving here, so I see a lot of different reasons why and we’ll look more deeply at some of these other reasons in the future. For us, there was no single dramatic factor, but rather a lot of little things that added up to make us “open” to such a move when the idea came along.
My job which had shown such promise a few years before when I’d first taken it was starting to be more frustrating and look like it would be less financially rewarding than we’d hoped.
My parents had moved up from Louisiana to live with us and while they were very good-natured about the snow and cold weather, it was very limiting to them. Dadddy had Parkinson’s so was less steady of his feet than he might have otherwise been, and Mom has a malabsorption condition with resulting very frail bones. So for both, trips out of the house onto the snow-and-ice-covered Maine terrain were potentially treacherous. And in Maine that means a six-month period where going out had to be weighed in terms of risk and reward.
David had had a chronic nerve pain condition in his arms for many years and the cold, damp weather of Maine was no friend to him. Plus as the years went by he was finding the amount of just plain “work” to make the twice annual switch from summer-mode to winter and back again was becoming tiresome. There were storm windows to put in and take out, the swimming pool to open and close (which was a twice-annual nightmare of epic proportions), the poolside pavilion to set-up and furnish each summer, then dismantle and un-furnish each fall, firewood to be stacked, and so on and so on.
So in very simplistic terms, the weather in Costa Rica was a huge draw to us. Year ’round spring? What’s not to like! Watch for future posts — you’ll definitely find our CR weather will appear from time to time on both the “Things we’ll miss” and “Things we won’t miss” lists!
Beyond the weather, which was probably the single biggest driving factor, the anticipated lower cost of living was a big one as well since our projections indicated we could move to Costa Rica and I wouldn’t have to work full-time. This meant more time to help care for my parents, more time to write, just “more time” in general. Since I was more than a decade away from possible social security at the time, it seemed like a move such as this was surely the only possible path to an “early retirement” for me.
The highly-touted medical care here wasn’t particularly a “draw” for us to come here — we weren’t unhappy particularly with our medical care options in Maine — but it certainly was a factor in making it seem possible. (Much more on that later too.)
By the way, sorry if it seems that I’m constantly referring to future blog posts. I’m really not trying to be a tease. But hey, if I wrote it all at once so you could read it all at once, it wouldn’t be a blog, it would be a book! Just means you need to keep coming back. I promise I’ll get to it all eventually!
Were there other factors? One that’s somewhat subtle and almost hard to describe was our feeling that a new “adventure” would be important in this “third-third” of our lives. Having to learn to cope in a new country, learning a new language, making new friends — we felt that all of this would enhance this “retirement” phase of our lives as opposed to just staying where we’d always been, doing what we’d always done.
So, for us, all those reasons proved to be at least more-or-less valid here. Certainly the “less valid” ones now factor into our plans to go back. But that’s another post. Stay tuned.