You can take it with you: bringing rescue pets home from your trip

I bought virtually no souvenirs during my year in Costa Rica. There are few stores in the little pueblo I called home, and I was living out of a pull tote and an Eagle Creek duffel bag anyway. No matter what happened, I’d eventually get on a plane at the end of my time there with a year of my life stuffed into two reasonably sized suitcases. I had no extra room.

But when it came time to go, I found myself with a different sort of baggage. Their names? Jax and Chase.

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To be free

Speeding across the Southwest in my beloved Honda Civic that I hadn’t driven in a year, I thumbed through my old CDs. I’d just returned to the U.S. after a year in Central America and wanted to hear country music. My time capsule of a car delivered: After listening to old-school Taylor Swift, from when she still had a twang, I popped in Tim McGraw.  Without warning, I was transported back to the last time I’d been racing through the reds and browns of New Mexico, in the opposite direction, listening to that very CD. I remembered exactly what headspace I was in, before a year in Costa Rica changed my life.

Before the words sunk in, I was carefree, driving west. I was by myself, taking in the sweeping landscape that I love so much, alone after a whirlwind few weeks. I had just moved back to the U.S., to Las Vegas, that week. After a few days at my new office (I was employed!), looking at rentals in my spare time, I’d flown to my parents’ house in Albuquerque to pick up my car. I was L.A.-bound, racing towards my storage unit to finish the last leg of my move.

Then I popped in that CD.

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Learning Pura Vida in Costa Rica

Nope, Costa Rica is not Puerto Rico, Mexico or an island. And if you go there, prepare yourself for a sloow lifestyle — that you’ll love when cracking open a bottle of Imperial beer but may have to get used to when faced with angry crowds of high-strung tourists. Learning to enjoy the good life as an expat requires some growing pains, but ask my friend Marcelo here, it’s worth it! Costa Rica is amazing! Not sure what I mean about all of this? I tackle some of the misconceptions I uncovered during my year living in Costa Rica as a guest blogger on Nomadic Matt’s site:

Click here! Learning Pura Vida in Costa Rica

The Good Life: walking tour of Costa Rican pueblo

Since moving back to the US after a year of living in Costa Rica, I’ve been inundated with questions, most often along the lines of, “What is living there like?” Most simply, life is very quiet. My adopted stomping grounds, Coco, is a fishing village of 3,000 people on the Pacific coast, just an hour south of Nicaragua. Maybe a visual walking tour will give a better idea of everyday life in the pueblo. My only request: no comment about my usage of the present tense. Seriously, no comment! Continue Reading »»

Expat life by the numbers

Some of the things that felt most natural to me at the time (my neighbors constantly yelling at me through my window when I didn’t have a phone) are the things that will soon feel the most foreign to me when I return to the US. I teared up writing this list and boiling down my time into a series of numbers; I’m not sure why. A lot of it has to do with the fact that it clearly shows how much I’ve changed. A mere six months before I moved to Costa Rica, when all I knew were cities such as NYC, Las Vegas and LA, I would not have believed that I could accomplish such “feats.” (Even BlackBerry-addicted me can survive prolonged periods without a phone, TV, car or computer. Who knew?) In fact, I grew so rapidly during my year as an expat that not only could I not have imagined such a life beforehand, I doubt I could have achieved it. But slowly, my life morphed into something even fantasy-driven I could never have dreamed up for myself. During my year in Coco, I experienced/survived/enjoyed: Continue Reading »»

Coco and Las Vegas: A Breakdown

Am I really leaving my beloved Coco to move back to Las Vegas? Yes, yes, I know… It’s beginning to sink in. I started to write a funny little item about how different my Central American pueblo is from the wild Sin City I called home for three years before luring me back after two more. But now that I’m traveling through Turkey and Bulgaria with @DTravelsRound, it’s all too obvious that you can find connections and similarities anywhere you look. We all know it’s a small world out there, but after hanging out with people from Australia, Scotland, Sweden, Italy, France, Russia, Denmark and more, I’m feeling sentimental. Even through my utopian travel haze, I know that Coco and Las Vegas are as different as night and day. But I worked extra hard to find connections and will keep in that spirit as I finish my trip and then make my Big Move. There is something like all of us in everyone we meet and everywhere we go. Enjoy it!

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