Fifteen Years

On 10 January 2002 I left the U.S., saying I would never return. That’s 15 years ago and I have been true to my word. Will I return to the U.S. soon, no. Ever? No. So, this is like a status report of reality.

In the U.S. I was running a company. I also had high blood sugar and, well, lots of stress. On 10 January 2002 I didn’t change jobs, just a location. I moved to Costa Rica about 5 km outside Alajuela. What changed?

  • My stress level decreased a lot.
  • My cost of living decreased a lot.

As a result, my blood sugar decreased. I went from wondering how much longer my body would survive to being pretty happy with life. It was an amazing change.

But, it was not perfect. In the Central Valley of Costa Rica it was more like living in a slightly lower stress USA where “vamos al mall y comer pizza” was the general feeling. Let’s say 10 times better than being in the US but far from perfect.

Two years later I move to Nicaragua. Now, I love Nicaragua. If you see someone walking down the street with a bottle of rum (Flor de Caña, of course) you ask “where is the party” and he tells you. Great people and far less stress. I lived there for nine years. It was great but the idea of actually getting something done was difficult.

As a joke I said I was going to Guatemala and would get residency. People laughed. I did it and have had residency for more than four years. Living on Lake Atitlan has resulted in another lowering of stress level. I now live in San Antonio Palopó where I am one of nine Gringos living in a community of over 8000. I am now running a B&B and loving it. I continue to meet interesting people from around the world, live in a place with a perfect climate and, in general live in a no-stress world.