One of my sweet, creative girlfriends showed me the awesome 8mm app for the iPhone. It’s a fun little app that lets you take short, vintage/old-school-inspired videos. We’re obsessed with it and thought it would be perfect for documenting our favorite moments throughout our time in Costa Rica and other travels.
Here is our latest video! We ended our weekend with a little trip to the beach at sunset. The Boyfriend surfed, and I read. (Funny story: while on the beach, a local asked me if I was a sex worker since I’m from Las Vegas. Vegas women raise your hand if you too have been asked if you’re a sex worker! If not, I’m sure people think you live in a casino. #vegasnativeproblems)
We currently have a few more videos up too! Like this one – our “Little House on the Pacific Ocean” laundry experience!
We plan on creating more short 8mm videos as well as expanding into some larger, regular YouTube videos where we share stories and tips about traveling, being an adventuring couple, and working from “home” (AKA working from suitcase) in two different creative fields!
I’ve always had a car. I never considered NOT having a car. My parents had multiple vehicles when I was growing up. I purchased my first car when I was 17 and sold it a couple days before I left for Costa Rica. Since then, I’ve been living without a car.
Not having a car in Las Vegas would have been a whole lot different than not having a car in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. This is a small beach town, and there is much to do within walking distance.
It’s still been inconvenient at times.
Like when it rains, and we’re a 15-minute walk away from home. Or when we needed to move from our temporary studio into our year-long apartment. Or when The Boyfriend’s paints got held up in Customs hours away. Or when I needed to go somewhere by myself……. Or when I’m too lazy to walk to buy myself ice cream. The hard stuff, ya know.
These instances made me realize how often I took a car for granted. I’ve seen contradictory facts, but if I averaged it all out, we could say that about 8% of the world’s population owns a car. That’s it. The fact that I’ve always had access to a car means I was incredibly privileged. Choosing to live in Costa Rica and choosing to go without a car also speak of my privilege. I’m fully aware of that, and I bow in gratitude.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned without a vehicle. They’re all 100% true, but before I try to sound too wise and observant, let me reiterate: I really really like not having a car here! It makes me feel super rugged and fierce like a true wanderer. Or maybe a gypsy nomad.
1. I’m strong
Physically. I can walk up and down hills, I can walk long distances. I am physically capable of touching my feet to the earth and walking.
2. I’m independent
I can walk alone. As a woman, this often scares me. But I am capable of facing this world without a chaperone. Even in a foreign country. Wisely, of course.
3. I’m innovative
When I need to get someplace that’s too far to walk, I can figure out a way to get there. This gypsy nomad is not stuck at home. I can make things happen!
4. I’m aware
Slowing down from the mad freeway to a slow stroll on dirt roads opens up plenty of opportunities to notice all the things around you. You see people and nature; you have more time to be in wonder.
5. I’m human
Sometimes humans walk. Sometimes we don’t use modern technology. Sometimes we simply need to be grateful for mobility and not worry about anything else. Feeling the sand on my toes is enough of a reminder that I’m blessed.
6. I’m humbled
We’re currently choosing to live without a car. But for the first time in my life, I’ve had a glimpse into what it must be like to have no choice but to lack transportation. I have a tiny view into what it’s like to go without. And I’m struck with compassion.
My Minimalist heart is loving the opportunity to walk everywhere. I don’t need to take care of a car or spend lots of money on gas. It is in the plans to get one car soon, so we can do more country-wide exploration! But as for now…. We walk!
Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time – Steven Wright
I’ve been posting cool travel pictures to Instagram lately. #travel #travelblog
Mostly because I’ve had some really cool experiences over the past month of living in Costa Rica. I’ve gone swimming in the Pacific Ocean most days, watched incredible sunsets, held an octopus, eaten delicious local food, watched dolphins a few feet away, met some awesome people, and started communicating in a different language.
Best part? I’ve done that ALL while working from home, doing what I love. Taking breaks when I need them, exploring when I want to.
But that’s only a part of the story!! A great, exciting, dreamy, large part – but still only a part.
When we look on travel instagram accounts, we often miss out on another side of the story. The not-so-perfect side. If I posted Instagram photos of what it’s really been like to live in a new country in Central America, the FULL story, I would have to include these:
Photo 1: Enter big-ass tarantula and scorpion that welcomed us on our first night here. You would see me standing on our bed, jumping up and down, pointing at a massive spider right by The Boyfriend’s foot, and uttering a guttural “AUGHHH! AUGHHH!”
Photo 2: Enter a boyfriend and girlfriend living in a studio apartment and working from home together. We are very close these days. Very, very, very close. You would see us picking fights about really serious things of monumental importance like dinner.
Photo 3: Enter sweat. I mean just so much flipping sweat. Sweat pouring from sweat. I’m not talking about my manly man. I’m talking about me. You would see sweat all over the place. Not like hot, steamy, glowing sexpot sweat. Droplets fall from me.
Photo #4: Enter the disappearing internet. Normally, Costa Rican internet is strong and capable, like a good horse. But sometimes it enjoys the “Pura Vida” lifestyle and takes a vacation during storms. You would see us bored out of our minds pursuing archaic pastimes like playing cards and actually conversing.
Photo #5: Enter toilet paper in trashcans. Not new toilet paper, loved ones. Used. Used by me. It just sits there and collects. You would see me learning not to care that my bodily secretions sit in the bathroom that my boyfriend uses too.
Photo #6: Enter bug bites up and down my legs. For some reason all the bugs in Costa Rica love me, but for some reason my body really does not love their bites. They swell into large, hot, bright red lumps of pain and scratching. You would see plenty of expert level avoiding mosquitoes like the plague.
As you can see, a life of travel is not always as glamorous as you see on social media. It’s not so much that the greatness isn’t so great. It’s that there’s also moments that are weird, gross, stressful, and awkward. Is it worth it? Um…yes.
Because of this:
What are your hashtags looking like these days? Leave a comment below and let me know! I always love hearing from all of you
As many of you know, The Boyfriend is an incredible oil painter. (SEE HIS WORK HERE. AND HIS INSTAGRAM HERE). When we began our packing process for Costa Rica, we thought it would be easier to pack and ship his paints than it would be to find a place for them in our already-stuffed suitcases.
Long story short: a few days in and his paints hadn’t arrived. A few more days turned into a couple weeks and a VERY bored boyfriend. Finally we discovered they were held up in Customs in an industrialized city called Puntarenas, 3 hours away from Tamarindo.
We made a little road trip out of rescuing the artist’s paint!
With a cheap rental car waiting for us, we woke up at 5 AM worried that something horrible would happen causing us to miss our rental car return at 5 PM. Groggy and grumpy, we set out for our first Costa Rican road trip.
If you haven’t driven in Costa Rica, well, you haven’t really driven. It’s organized chaos. Heavy on the chaos. Rules are more like guidelines. Even the largest shipping trucks will pass a slow car by going into oncoming traffic and coming back in the nick of time. Dogs and pedestrians and bulls and bicyclists all coming and going. Frankly, sometimes driving in Costa Rica kinda reminds me of this:
And yet it manages to look like this:
The sky was cloudy and grey, the perfect juxtaposition to the bright greens that surrounded us. I’ve taken road trips in the East Coast; there is a lot of green there too. But Costa Rican greens are various and special, you’ve never seen so many different greens.
We arrived to Customs with no hitch thanks to the $10 wi-fi box that kept our GPS going strong. Now, I assumed nobody would speak English. But when I assume nobody speaks English, it’s an incredibly half-hearted assumption. Like “You don’t ‘speak’ English, but you probably magically understand me, right?”
Despite the fact that I hated every second of every class of my college Spanish 1&2, I was blessing those lessons when it came time to explain to the employees of Customs that The Boyfriend’s paint supplies were not dangerous explosive materials that we were smuggling into the country. Google Translator saved the day and convinced the kind gentleman that they were indeed the tools of an artist.
(NOTE: I will NEVER ever ever be annoyed by somebody in America who cannot speak English. I promise. There is so much anxiety, frustration, and even embarrassment that comes along with being unable to adequately speak a language. You bet your ass I’ll keep “Pressing 1 for English” if it makes it easier for a Spanish speaker. It’s freaking hard!)
After all was well, Customs sent us to the bank to pay taxes on the package. A whole 15 cents. They gave us The Boyfriend’s paint. But really they gave us our sanity. My go-go-go boyfriend had his job back!
We had a lovely drive back and stopped by a soda (an outdoor cafe/restaurant that serves authentic, “typical” food) and each had a plate of Gallo Pinto. We drove back in the rain. I slept some. We listened to Spanish songs on the radio to practice our Spanish. Then, suddenly, Whitney Houston came on which made total sense.
A small Mamon Chino (a weird-looking, delicious, small red fruit that appears to have plastic strands coming out of it!) stand stood on the side of the road. Three little girls were anxious to serve The Boyfriend our road trip snack while their smiling mother smiled and watched.
We made it home with enough time to veg out to When Harry Met Sally before returning the rental car. Success.
The Boyfriend and I are here in the lovely Tamarindo, Costa Rica. We arrived with absolutely zero problems. I couldn’t believe our luck! No trouble/delays leaving the US, no problems entering Costa, no baggage issues (with the tiny exception of an exploded jojoba oil – the cost of being an all-natural lady!).
This is all we brought. Ready for the kicker? We already know we brought too much. It’s amazing how little you need when the beach is right next door. The good life doesn’t require many THINGS:
Anyway, I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled life in no time, but I thought a quick update was in order. I’m writing this for you on Labor Day. I may be in Costa Rica, but I’m an American and believe in doing as little work as possible on Labor Day. Also, this beautiful country is making it even harder to produce. This is the view from our patio. See the ocean?!
Kyle and I went to breakfast Sunday morning at a little outdoor cafe we fell in love wth last time we were here, Cafe Corazon. The man working there was new to us, so we introduced ourselves and told him we would be staying in Tamarindo for awhile. He took our order, we ate Gallo Pinto (rice, beans, plantains, and eggs for breakfast – THE BEST), and I went up to pay. He took my colónes and stared at me for quite some time.
“You need sunblock,” he said.
“Oh, I have some on,” I replied with a giggle.
Concerned, he retorted, “No, no you REALLY need sunblock. You are just SO white.”
I laughed. He walked me over to Kyle and warned us that I would turn into a lobster with my white skin in the Costa Rican sun.
“Eventually, you’ll get in touch with your inner Latina and have tan skin. But for now, you are so white and need sunblock.”
I informed him that, in fact, I already had a bit of a base tan. Needless to say, he did not believe that was true. I laughed and laughed about this exchange all morning.
Also, I reapplied sunblock.
Also, I’m anxiously waiting to get in touch with my inner Latina. That sounds fantastic.