Camera-ready in Costa Rica

Trying (unsuccessfully) to diet, getting my hair done, worrying about my limited wardrobe… Either I had a date, or I was going to be immortalized on film. Stop laughing out loud about my dating prospects in this tiny town. I don’t hear you anyway, because I’m too busy staying camera-ready!

An old friend of mine, Matt Gross (of New York Times’ Frugal Traveler fame) visited me for a whirlwind film shoot for an excellent travel/expat show he’s pitching, Strangers in Strange Lands. Little Coco might never be the same.

I was super-nervous. I prefer to hide behind my laptop and edit what I write (“say”) several times before pressing send. It’s, uh, why I’m a writer. But TV was actually fun! I know I won’t like the finished project (I’ve already untagged myself from several photos posted on Facebook), but the process itself was a blast.

Matt and his crew (producer Mariah and cameraman Justin) found my house by driving through my neighborhood and asking around. This isn’t as strange as it sounds – Costa Rica famously has no street names or numbers, so sometimes you’ve just gotta keep asking. They finally found me, and I was immediately mic-ed and asked to say hello. It was great. I hadn’t seen Matt in ten years (excuse me, nine, as he corrected me), since we were minions at New York magazine together.

We kicked off the big event by descending upon a beachfront BBQ at La Vida Loca. The whole barrio came! Lisa actually found blotting papers to save my makeup, and my hairdresser, Jen, fluffed my hair in the humidity. I was even papped – out of the corner of my eye, I spied a friend wearing a big floppy hat and sunglasses, taking photos from behind the bushes like a real paparazzo. This was as close to LA as Coco was ever going to get. And thank goodness for that.

Over the next two and a half days we sweated through a meandering walk through my barrio and the town, took in two spectacular sunsets at Pacifico, and partied on the infamous stoop. Meanwhile, I perfected my totally fake “wanna catch the sunset? Let’s go!” lead-ins and attempted to not look down at the ground or talk too fast, my signature move. On our last day, Matt muscled his way through early-morning yoga before a luxurious boat ride, thanks to North Pacific Tours.

I’m totally kidding about our little production being “like, so L.A.” As expats and residents of a small pueblo with a laid back lifestyle, we get a kick out of projects like this.

Something I was so nervous about ended up being more like a perfect little holiday, although we crammed way more into three days than I ever have on vacation. Cameras? What cameras? It was more like hanging out with friends – although one was holding a camera to record my every move.

The following two tabs change content below.
I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

Related Content


  1. You’re so glam, love it!!! OMG, I can’t imagine having to be on film in that kind of heat. But, it looked like you rocked it. Love Matt’s column, read it religiously. Will I be able to view the video? Hope so!!!

  2. How cool! That sounds like a really amazing opportunity–I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  3. @Christine It was really fun! I will try to get my hands on a finished copy. It was kind of nice to learn about TV from the inside out, knowing it’s “just” for a pitch reel. Yay!

    @Andi It was SO hot. After awhile I gave up — and that, I’m sure, was my downfall. I’ll try to have them send me the final!!

  4. Wow! How exciting and fun! And “Strangers in Strange Lands” sounds like a great idea for a show.

  5. Oh, please post a link once it’s up. I love the idea for the show. And, I am such a huge fan of the Frugal Traveler column so I’m psyched to see his interview of you.

Speak Your Mind