Although I have never met them, I feel somehow connected to Greg “Sunsets” and Jen Beck “Chica” Seymour. Darwin and I were first introduced to them when Jen sent Darwin his first video question. In part of her question she discloses she and her husband are living in Costa Rica. I remember being intrigued… Little by little I came to learn more and more about Sunsets and Chica while following them on their thru-hike via their YouTube Channel. Interested in how they took the initial first steps into a life of travel and simplicity, I picked up Chica’s book Costa Rica Chica: Retiring Early, Simplifying My Life & Realizing That Less is Best.
I should first say that you do not have to be moving to Costa Rica or planning on retiring early to enjoy this book. There is a lot to be taken away from it as Jen treats the reader as though they were a close friend. She gives her personal history, insight into her marriage, and describes her honest feelings as only a friend would do. This quality of openness in Jen’s book allows the reader to feel as if Jen is talking directly to you over a nice cup of coffee.
Jen and Greg started out as most couples do in a relationship full of love and dreams. They lead a life of success filled with friends, family, cars, a house, a dog, a busy schedule and lots of stuff. Although their life seemed ideal, a realization that something wasn’t quite right surfaces. Jen describes the warning signs as overwhelming work stress, the feeling of meaningless tasks, a husband on medication, nights alone, and exhaustion. Eventually, curiosity for something more leads Jen and Greg to an in person exploration of Costa Rica on a “research vacation” if you will. While enjoying the natural beauty around them along with some coffee and a few drinks, the couple openly discusses the idea of moving to Costa Rica.
Needless to say, the more they researched the more the thought of possibly moving to Costa Rica seemed to make sense. After listing out the pros and cons, the final decision is made and the couple starts taking steps to start a new life in another country. Ultimately quitting their jobs and retiring early, they start simplifying their way of life.
Jen takes the reader on a very honest journey throughout an almost two-year process of saving, moving, and downsizing. I found her descriptions of her personal fears and heartache very relatable. She gives an amazing perspective on the harder side of making such a life changing decision that I have never found discussed before. The attachment that humans have to inanimate objects is throughly explained with her easy narrative along with the decision of re-homeing a beloved pet and saying goodbye to family and friends. I found this part of her book exceptionally heartfelt. Jen very sincerely explains that although she and her husband are gaining much by stepping out of the American Rat Race, they are also choosing to leave behind a lot.
With nine pieces of luggage packed and ready to go the couple finally hops a one-way flight to Costa Rica. From here Jen continues her book with humorous stories of adjustment. From Greg’s first encounter with a scorpion, banking issues, dealing with a language barrier, to Jen’s many “trips” you will be unable to giggle as you are taken along on their first experiences in Costa Rica. The reader learns along with Jen as she explains Costa Rican customs. “Pure Vida” is a common idea that is brought up numerous times in explaining the Costa Rican way of life and a mantra Jen uses in somewhat frustrating times as she and Greg try to become more than just American Tourists.
Jen does not give a direct “How To Guide” on simplifying life, retiring, and moving to another country and her book should not be looked to as such. I feel however this book is a fun perspective on taking on a new lifestyle and the misadventures that come along with it. Jen is very cordial throughout the entire book, which only adds to its charm. She allows the reader to visualize themselves in the same situation or at least prompts the reader to ask “What would I do in this situation?”
Overall I immensely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. Costa Rica Chica empowers the reader to challenge their comfort zones. Jen is you and she’s me, a person trying to lead a more fulfilling life beyond chasing the “American Dream”. She relays to the reader that identifying that a change is needed then taking the steps towards that change (whatever that is) can be easily done with a little time and the ability to laugh.
Check out this book on Amazon by using the following link http://amzn.to/2A2CnP5 or to learn more about Jen and Greg, look at some of Chica’s other books and or to check out some “arm candy” visit costaricachica.com!
(From Left to Right: Book Cover, Jen & Greg, & Jen At A Book Signing)
Pictures Taken From CostaRicaChica.com
Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Other Doings:
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I recently put up a new Trip Report on an overnight Darwin and I did while in Sequoia National Park. Check it out Here!
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