We came to Costa Rica by chance. Open to house sitting anywhere in the world, Luke and I were fortunate enough to find a temporary home in the mountains overlooking San José. We don’t have much – a close to empty bank account, a backpack each, and just a couple of ideas between us. After 10 days living in Costa Rica, we’ve realised that we don’t need much more than that. We’re living a good life for much less than you would think.
Incredible Views on your Door Step
When the sun rises at 5 AM, we wake up to incredible views outside the bedroom’s wooden double doors. It’s green season at the moment, so the mornings are lush green with bright blue skies. In the afternoon, the whole picture is swallowed by rain clouds rising up from the valley. At night, the scene is pitch black, but the lights twinkle across San José below.
Organic Food Fresh from the Farmer’s Market
We buy a whole weeks worth of fruit, veggies, and beans from the Saturday Farmer’s Market. All organically grown, each little stall has only what that farmer has planted – nothing imported, nothing mass-produced, all natural. The mangoes are juicy, the avocados are gorgeous, and the rice and beans sure are filling. We first went with the family we’re house sitting for, and they told us that buying food there actually works out cheaper than buying from the supermarkets, so it’s best to stock up once a week.
The Neighbours are Friendly
In our little barrio, the milk comes fresh from the cow and the eggs come straight from the chicken, brought to our doorstep by our neighbour, Ester. There are always far more eggs than two people could ever eat – but sharing is caring. Another elderly neighbour grows bananas in his front yard. Yesterday, when we were walking down the road, he practically jumped over the fence to give us some.
Doing the Simple Things
When you’re house sitting, making sure that everything is perfect around the house becomes essential. You care for someone else’s home, their garden, their pets. Simple things in life, like tending to a garden and feeding the fish are fulfilling. Whilst Mary-Lou, the lovely local lady comes to do laundry and tidy up, Luke and I have been making ourselves useful elsewhere. Luke has been re-potting plants and watering the herbs. I, on the other hand, have been clambering up onto a hot tin roof with a wooden stick and a bag to clear out the gutters. Who’d have ever thought it? Turns out I’m capable of much more than I realise.
Never Stuck for Company
Sure, we’re house sitting in quite a rural area. We don’t have a car, it’s a half-hour walk to town in the heat, and we only have a few neighbours – but it doesn’t matter. We’re looking after eight dogs and a cat, and that’s enough to keep anyone company! When we wake up, they jump up. When we walk (away from the road), they join us. When we work in the house, they sleep at our feet. When we sit on the porch, they sit with us. When we get up, they steal our seat.
I Don’t Need Much to Lead a Good Life
The more I travel, the more I realise that I don’t need much to lead a good life. When I was interning in London, I remember someone just a few years older than me saying to me:
I know people say it’s materialistic and that things don’t matter, but to me they do. I want nice things, good clothes, a swanky apartment – and that’s okay.
And it is okay. In fact, for a long time, I thought that’s what I wanted too. When I started travelling, I realised that I can live well without those things. I don’t want to be tied down to a house, I don’t want to fill it with nice things, and I certainly don’t want to work more than full-time in London to get there. I already feel like I’m living well for much less here in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica: Less Stress, Less Worry, Pura Vida
The biggest worry I’ve had in the past 10 days is running out of wine. And if that’s you’re biggest worry in life, then you know you’re onto something good. We work for a British-based company online, so we don’t have to worry about taking away local jobs. We may not earn a lot, but we earn enough to eat local food, do a little travelling when we can, and enjoy living in a Costa Rican barrio for now. The beginning of our indefinite travel adventure is going well, and we really are living well for less.