About Us

I’m Arden Rembert Brink and welcome to my blog.  I’m a little late coming to this “blog world” but I’m not new to writing, communicating, and connecting with readers.  I’ve “written” virtually my whole life, mostly for business during my various careers over the past 30+ years in advertising, marketing, sail training, non-profit management, and consulting.

(In fact, my first book Unraveling the Mysteries of Moving to Costa Rica was published this past year and has seen good sales and positive reviews from readers.  It’s somewhat for them that I’m writing this blog!)

In the fall of 2005 I had the crazy idea that we should move from Maine to Costa Rica.  “We” in this case was me, my husband David, my parents (both in their 80s), and our 2 dogs and 2 cats. Less than a year later, in the early fall of 2006, we had arrived in Costa Rica to start what we saw as a new life.  There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the old life, but we were ready for the challenges that setting up life in a new country would offer.

We’ve loved it here.  It is definitely not without adventures, frustrations, and hassles, but overall we’ve found that those simply didn’t bother us that much.  We’d really never even thought about going back until a change in our family — with the arrival of our first grandchild — simply changed how we felt about things. (More on that in future blog posts!)

David and I have spent weeks (if not months) at a time in our former lifetimes at sea aboard traditional sailing ships.  It prepared us in ways we’d never imagined for living in a foreign country.  (And more on that in future posts, too.)

I hope you’ll join us on this next phase of the journey, and I hope that our experiences might prove useful to you!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions.

10 Responses to About Us

  1. John Sandler says:

    Hello Arden,

    I’m an ex-Mainer (Aroostook and Lincoln Counties) living in Nevada and looking for a place to stretch my retirement dollars and escape the coming collapse of the U.S. economy.

    My wife and I visited Belize twice, and then eliminated it because it is too primitive for us.

    We next launched an Ecuador research project and learned that the country’s president is best buds with Castro and Chavez; the project was then abandoned. (I don’t want to leave my home country because it is moving toward statism, for another which has already arrived.

    Given my concerns about Belize and Ecuador, do you have any advice for me about Costa Rica?

    John

    • arden says:

      Hi, John,

      Thanks for getting in touch and a special “hello” to a fellow ex-Mainer! I have to tell you, the whole “stretch the retirement dollar” is getting to be a tougher and tougher concept. I think part of where Costa Rica has suffered, in fact, is in the suggestion in all the writings of recent years that it will be a place to live that’s similar in infrastructure and lifestyle to the U.S., but at a much lower cost.

      Unfortunately, we haven’t found that to be particularly true. Yes, there are definitely savings for most in utilities — at least compared to fuel oil in Maine! — but electricity is very expensive, so it can balance out. Food costs — if you want to eat at all like you did “back home” (which, frankly, most people do after the initial “oh isn’t this interesting” phase wears off) — can actually be higher than in the U.S. Housing costs/rent can be somewhat less or comparable, depending on what you’re comparing it to (given that those costs around the U.S. vary HUGELY), and medical is a real issue.

      If you have Medicare in the states, then you’ll find medical care here to be a huge disappointment and/or cost drain because you’ll pay for most things private pay. If you’re too young for Medicare, and you’re comparing “private care” here vs. “private care” up there in the U.S., then yes, this can be a bargain. I’ll be happy to offer more specifics if you want to share more about your situation.

      So… come here for a great life adventure. Come for the wonderful year ’round spring temperatures. Come because you want to do something “different” with your life. But I wouldn’t come specifically looking for a cheap cost of living….

      Glad to offer more specifics if you want… If you’d like to write more “privately” you can email me at arden@the-ex-expat.com

      all the best,
      –arden–

  2. julie larson says:

    Hi Arden,
    I’m writing because my finance is wanting to come back home to the states after 10 years in costa rica…any advice as far as shipping personal belongings back? h\He also has a cat we are bringing back…any advice is greatly appreciated. We don’t have a lot of money so are looking at any economical ways to do this.
    Thank you,
    Julie

  3. Lewis says:

    Hi Arden

    I just sent you a message to your email and hope it doesn’t go to your spam box. I need to talk to you about shipping from Costa Rica to the States…….

    Thanks & Regards
    Lewis

  4. Gary Cascio says:

    Howdy Arden:

    Saw your name on the list for BBC’s celebration and thought I’d just say hi. Judy invited me too although I’m not sure if I will be there or not. Need to make a trip back to see family but have a lot going on in June. So…we shall see.

    Anyway, nice to see you around and happy and enjoying life. Stop by if you’re ever down Santa Fe way.

    Gary Cascio

    • arden says:

      Hey, Gary,

      Great to hear from you. I *see* you on Dan’s FB feed, since we became FB “friends” a few months back. Funny that we’ve all ended up “out west” here. Who knows, maybe we will end up down your way someday.

      Sure a shock to hear about BBC. Annie emailed (or, I guess, Facebook messaged me) and I was really surprised and saddened. A big part of our past lives, huh?

      Anyway, great to hear from you. You guys look remarkably the same. I seem substantially fluffier (starting a decade or so ago) but otherwise feel like the same person.

      I remember loving Santa Fe when I visited with my family, camping, a huge lifetime ago.

      –arden–

      • Gary Cascio says:

        Glad to hear back from you. Yes, I have wanted to be out west since late ’70’s. Couldn’t leave Shreveport because I spent a lot of time helping my grandmother out and I liked being around her anyway so I didn’t move out here until 1989. Haven’t regretted it for a minute…although I do miss Louisiana food. but then again, my wife, Renee, is a great southern cook with southwestern accents. Yeah, Dan and I have spent quite a while getting together and camping in NM and AZ since he moved out. Our son, Dylan, lives in Portland OR and we go to the northwest coast quite a bit. Might get some land up there someday soon. You never know.

        Take care;
        Gary

  5. Katy McLaughlin says:

    Hi Arden, I’m a reporter at the Wall Street Journal’s real estate section. I’m working on a story about people who retire abroad and for some reason or another it doesn’t work out. I’m looking at people who have disputes with their developers, folks who just don’t learn the language or find they can fit into the culture and people who find it is all much more expensive than what they planned.
    I wondered if you might be willing to be interviewed? I would want to ask what brought you to Costa Rica and what brought you back to the US. I’m at katy.mclaughlin@wsj.com or (310) 439-2790, or my cel, (323) 387-8079. Today is Feb. 3, 2017. Thanks. Sincerely, Katy McLaughlin

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