One of Paul’s favorite books is Jo Stuart’s, Butterfly in the City: A Good Life in Costa Rica. It gives a great picture of daily life here in Costa Rica, especially in San Jose, the capital. So much of what she writes, we agree with, and with Jo’s permission, we will reprint excerpts in our newsletter from time to time. Here’s one where she talks about living a simple life:
by Jo Stuart
Friends in the States ask me what it would cost “to live a simple life” here. I am not sure I can judge what they mean by “simple.” Just as one man’s treasure is another man’s trash, one person’s simple is another’s luxury. Actually, my own idea of simple is pretty nebulous. Mainly, it is not accumulating a lot of “stuff.” Except maybe, books. It’s not being a big-time consumer, and being concerned enough about the environment not to pollute it any more than I can help, by recycling. Recycling not only helps to live simply, it helps to live more cheaply. I live, for the most part, on products that are available in Costa Rica. But not entirely. I am delighted when some new product from the U.S. or Europe comes into the supermarket. But I rationalize that it is the global economy.
However, there are people living here who have built simple homes near a rainforest or in a small town, far from San Jose, who really live a simple life. They grow their own organic crops, make their own bread, and survive very nicely without TV or telephone – or even electricity. I could not do that.”
From Butterfly in the City, page 209. Used with permission.