Why I’m leaving paradise

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people say, “I wish I could give everything up and move to a hut on the beach.” Well, you can. I did! And it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. The year I spent in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica, most of the time in a tiny one-room house surrounded by ear-splitting roosters and howler monkeys, was the happiest of my life.

Despite those loud animals, I conquered my life-long insomnia. Plugged in to an adventurous community of expats and travelers like me, I made friends from all over the world. And in my pueblo, I made friends with whom I could truly be myself. In fact, I can honestly say that I was more myself this year than at any other time in my life. Continue Reading »»

Sailing, sailing…

Spend a year in a fishing village, and you’ll get quite used to being on a boat. But of all my days at sea, I’d never been sailing. So when my friend Heather invited me to join her on her 45-foot Sea Bird one Sunday morning, I leapt at the chance!

Coco had suffered through pouring rain for days, but we woke up that Sunday to sunny skies. Already fearing that I’d soon be leaving my little beachfront pueblo, Lisa and I decided to make it a celebratory sail. On the way to Ocotal beach, we picked up two bottles of champagne. We’d barely left shore when we popped the first one open! We toasted our bubbly as a handful of dolphins played about 20 feet away. Continue Reading »»

My first review!

Almost exactly six months after I started my blog, I Wish Gap Year gave me my first review. And it couldn’t have been nicer! The reviewer really spent some time reading my blog, which means so much… especially since this magazine editor greatly appreciates reporters and writers who do their homework. This was completely unexpected and so, so exciting for me. I can’t thank I Wish Gap Year enough! Show them some love — their site is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to take a gap year abroad. Eleven months into my stay in Costa Rica, it’s a move I clearly support!

Read my review here: Blog Focus: The Jungle Princess

A Perfect Storm

Some trips seem so much like a slam dunk that it’s hard to get excited for them. My last such adventure? A week in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. My friend Denise invited me, to leave the very next day after I got home from a week in NYC. I love Denise; I figured I’d like her friends. I love San Juan, and I love the beach; easy, peasy. Instead of thinking about it at ALL, I spent weeks getting pumped about NYC. Poor Nicaragua was an afterthought, an “Oh, I almost forgot that I have one night to unpack and re-pack my bags, even though I live in the tropics without a dryer and thus have no idea how I’m going to manage such a fast turnaround.” Continue Reading »»

Thank you, NYC

Ten months after I moved to a small fishing village in Costa Rica, I’ve come to an interesting revelation: I most feel at home in Coco (population: 3000) because of the time I spent in New York City. I’ve moved around so much, that those five years living in Manhattan are my record, as long as I’ve lived anywhere. From there, I moved to Austin, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, all which ended up being temporary stops. Now? I’ve got NYC on the brain. Here are the surprising ways that living in the big city eventually turned me into a small town girl.

1. My first house in Costa Rica was only slightly bigger than a Yukon, but I’m used to cramped space. In NYC, my bedroom was the size of my bed. (Literally. I had to climb off the foot in order to get off it.) Continue Reading »»

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. Continue Reading »»

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