Jun 26 2013

A Different Form of “Due Diligence” by Diana Miskell Turlock

By Diana Miskell Turlock

It was about 15 years ago that my husband Lance started investigating Costa Rica online. A client/friend of ours had visited and had only good things to say.

With high speed internet service becoming more and more accessible in Costa Rica within the last few years, at least in some areas, this made a move to Costa Rica even more feasible.

The more we thought about it, the clearer it became that we wanted to give it a try. We have always loved travelling. I have always wanted to live a lifestyle that involved wearing nothing more than shorts, shirt and sandals all year around. We wanted to experience a new culture, new language, new foods.

We did not leave Canada because it is not a good place to live. We left because there was nothing more for us to experience there which was of any real interest. We had driven every highway and bi-way and two-bit country lane around and about Vancouver, B.C., Vancouver Island, the B.C. Interior, and northwest Washington State.  We had driven across Canada several times. I have seen the Maritimes, Prince Edward Island and lived two years in Labrador/Newfoundland. We both had seen a good part of Ontario. Likewise, Alberta is very familiar to us.

We have driven down to the California-Mexican border countless times. In addition to Washington State, we have thoroughly explored Oregon, California, and parts of Idaho, Montana, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. We’ve been to Las Vegas and Reno numerous times. All our road and flying trips were great fun and I’m very glad we did all of them, but enough is enough. Did we want to spend the rest of our lives doing and seeing the same things over and over again? No.

We had never been to Costa Rica. For us, there did not seem to be any point in making several trips there to scope things out. Albeit from afar, we had carefully looked at many different aspects of Costa Rica over a period of several years: government stability, safety, availability of high quality medical and dental services, transportation, communications, infrastructure, weather, etc. etc.). In most cases, we were favorably impressed.

Misconceptions about Canadian Medicare aside, the quality of medical and dental appeared to be as good as anything you might find in Canada or the US (and at less cost). Safety could be criticized a bit – but it appeared that there were many locales in Canada and the US (including Metropolitan Vancouver, Chicago, Detroit, some areas of Toronto, etc.) where crime rates were at least as bad and in many cases worse than Costa Rica. Infrastructure (e.g. roads) could be criticized a bit. But, there are many examples in Canada and the US where the quality of infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. The weather (some like it hot, some like it cool) – in Costa Rica, you can take your pick. We picked the Atenas region (not too hot; not too cool, near San Jose, near the Pacific beaches, and near the international airport (Juan Santamaria).

Bottom line: we were prepared to give Costa Rica “a try” without throwing all our eggs into one basket. We ventured to Costa Rica treating it as if it was a sabbatical. We came with little more than clothing, computers, and other communication equipment – and last but not least – Genny, our cat. Our attitude was that after a month if we didn’t like it, we could seamlessly return to Canada. If after 6 months we didn’t like it, we could seamlessly return to Canada. Two years later, we are still in Costa Rica. We are still in a position to seamlessly return to Canada.

While in Costa Rica, we have not acquired any serious possessions like a house and furniture (we rent furnished houses) or a car (we use taxis, buses and occasionally choose to rent a car). All of this maintains our flexibility. We have not cut our bridges. In the unlikely event that we choose to do so, we can still return seamlessly to Canada or, we can seamlessly move on to some other country (Chile, Ecuador, for example – both of which we find to be intriguing).

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