Photo Credit: Leah Freeman-Haskin
Traveler Story: 'Why (And How) I'm Moving My Family Abroad'
Written by Leah Freeman-Haskin (@costaricalanding)
The TSA agent gave me a subtle side-eye while dragging our sixth suitcase behind the luggage counter and dodging our four-year-old son as he wobbled by on his scooter. I’m sorry. I know it’s a lot. We’re moving. I tried to sound confident while avoiding eye contact. However, the look on my husband’s face said it all: why are we doing this?
After six months of planning, here we were — boarding an airplane in search of adventure and change. We’d managed to pack our entire lives into six suitcases, shifted our careers and negotiated terms to convince our bosses (and ourselves) that we could do our jobs from anywhere. We found a beachside town with no paved roads and a jungle full of howler monkeys to call home. Even though the idyllic image of expat life seemed nothing less than magical, the question of why still resurfaced multiple times a day.
We’d lived in Los Angeles for almost ten years. Each morning I would wake up feeling more tired than the previous morning. I would run through my agenda for the day and drag myself out of bed to begin my checklist of tasks. I had a great job, wonderful friends, a family that I loved more than anything, but something was still missing. I was living life on auto-pilot. And at times, I wasn’t sure if I was really living at all.
Although my husband and I had talked about moving dozens of times, the decision to move to Costa Rica came quickly. We were looking for a Spanish speaking country with a stable government, happy citizens, clean air, and a health-conscious community. We were in search of Pura Vida.
People often ask us how we are able to make this move work. In all honesty, we’re not sure it will work. But we’ve gotten some of the major items in place: My husband is a personal trainer and will be training his clients online while also picking up some local work when we arrive. I run events for a media company in LA and was able to convince my employer to let me work remotely and fly back to the States as needed. We took two months to live with our parents to save money and spend time with family. We booked three one-way flights, a one month Airbnb, and we will figure out the rest when we get there.
Travel always changes you. How and in what ways Costa Rica will change us, we don’t know. Will it bring peace from a decade of the daily grind? Will it force us out of auto-pilot and into the type of discomfort and unknown that forces you to be present in every moment? Will it heal our bodies, renew our spirits, and bring us closer as a family? Only time will tell. But for the first time in years, I find myself jumping out of bed in the morning to dive eagerly into the unknown.