Welcome to Relocation Recap, a regular feature on the Health & Wellness Revolution blog – sharing the relocation experiences of people from across the world.
Feeling alone is a common challenge of relocation.
This interview series aims to shines light on the many ways you can feel more connected, inspired and capable when moving from your comfort zone to somewhere new and unfamiliar.
You may well read about someone who faced similar challenges to your own, and surmounted them. As you can too.
If you, or anyone you know, would like to be featured in this interview series, please contact Kylie here.
Welcome Jason, thank you for joining us!
Where do you live now, and where have you lived?
I have lived most my life in central British Columbia otherwise known as “The Cariboo”. I also lived in White Rock and Vancouver for a few years. I moved to Costa Rica 2 years ago but I arrived in Mexico 2 weeks ago, it is still to be decided if I will make Mexico my third home but I will say I am liking it here.
What do you do, what ‘hats do you wear’, how do you spend your time, paid and unpaid?
I am an entrepreneur at heart, I started a ropes course canopy tour in Jaco, Costa Rica when I moved there and I am looking at opening a wakeboarding and Water Park in Mexico. I also am helping a good friend with his business that specializes in shipping cars internationally overseas, I handle the international accounts and like to write as well. Most of my time is spent working in some form or other but in my spare time I like to go to the gym and stay active with sports like surfing or mountain biking.
What have you gained by relocating?
I have gained a lot but probably the biggest gain is getting to learn about a different culture. I always loved to travel and was fascinated with how different cultures function and how different they really are. It has been great to submerse myself and really soak it up. I have also gained some really good friends and became a lot healthier since relocating. Learning Spanish has been a great experience and the learning experience of opening a business in a foreign country, I don’t think you can get much more life experience than that.
What have been some of the challenges?
Plenty, at first the language barrier was a little tough but I think I am lucky because my business partners are locals. Dealing with some of the differences in the way business is done has been the most difficult part. In North America if someone tells you they will deliver on a certain time they usually pull through or at the very least let you know if they won’t be able to, in Costa Rica the common courtesy is thrown out the window and things are almost always not done on time, we say “Tico time” or “Tico tiempo”. Ticos are what the locals are called, ticas for girls.
What have you learned, about yourself and others?
I’ve learned that not everyone does things the same way and we should accept that. I’ve learned that you can have a happy life without having all the materialistic things that many people work so hard for. I have learned that I can create my own happiness and do whatever I really want to do with my life.
What would you have missed out on, had you stayed in one place?
I spent 2 years setting up the business in Costa Rica and didn’t travel much up until a few months ago. I have missed out on some good times with my friends and family from Canada but I have had visitors. One of the biggest things I felt like I missed out on is watching my nephew grow up, when I was skyping with my family over Christmas he wouldn’t even talk with me but I just visited Canada so he knows Uncle Jason better now. I also really miss the snow because I love to snowboard, ski and snowmobile.
Did your physical and emotional health improve or decline after relocating?
It improved drastically thankfully. A friend that I met is a health freak and he educated me about all the processed foods and everything else that is unhealthy for us. Since then I have done a detox and I am much more aware of what’s really healthy and what’s not. I love the fresh organic fruit and vegetables that we get in Costa Rica, the flavors are so much more profound. In Costa Rica I was trying to make fresh juice everyday which can be a challenge but I am really loving Mexico because you just pay $1 to get a big glass of fresh juice. My mental health is similar but I would say that it has improved, I definitely notice a difference in my mental health when I eat healthy and exercise.
What did you do to feel as healthy, capable and happy as possible while relocating?
Eating healthy is a huge part of it for me and also getting the exercise that I now know my body needs. I kept my self busy with work so I didn’t think much about missing my friends or family, there is always Skype as well to stay connected. I had a lot of help from my business partner handling everything in Spanish and I try to learn the language every day to make me feel capable.
When and if you experience self-doubt, fear or stress, how do you embrace these feelings and move on?
I pump myself up a lot with motivational videos on Youtube, they really help me to stay focused when I come to roadblocks or forks in the road. There is some good stuff out there by Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas, Jim Rohn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, even Jim Carey and Will Smith. I try not to dwell on things and always try to take away something positive from every situation even if things didn’t work out the way I wanted, you can’t live in the past.
Invariably the first week or month of a relocation yields a really funny story – sometimes only in hindsight. Do you have a tale to share?
Not sure how funny this is but before I officially relocated to Costa Rica I took a few trips there to decide if I liked it there and it was where I wanted to move. Anyways 3 days into my first trip to Costa Rica, on my birthday, my friend and I met a fellow Canadian. The plan was to go to her hotel so she could get ready to go out for the night. On the way to her hotel, on a dirt road she pulled out and passed us, just to fish tail out and we watched her do a few flips in front of us. I jumped out of the car before my friend could stop and she had flipped right onto a fence, her hair was all tangled up in electric barb wire fence. I hadto take strands of hair and rip them so she could get out as we were getting shocked. The fence post just missed her, she really did get lucky. She ended up getting screwed around by the rental car company for not reporting the incident despite the police being there but I think in hindsight everything worked out, happy she walked away.
The first time ordering chicken (‘pollo’ in Spanish) was hilarious. We’d walked in to a place that serves nothing but chicken, pointed and said POLLO, really emphasizing the l’s, receiving the strangest look and ‘como??‘ (what or huh in Spanish). You see in Spanish, two l’s make a unique sound like a y, more like poyo. The workers had a good laugh at me and I learned something, but had a hell of a time pronouncing ‘pollo’.
What would you say to others contemplating a relocation?
Spend some time doing research on the area you plan on moving to beforehand and spend some time there. Don’t expect everything to be the same as your home country, always remember that you are a guest in their country, and no they don’t have to speak English.
What would you say to yourself if you were contemplating another relocation?
Funny thing is I am, LOL. I would say ‘have fun bro and follow your heart’.
Anything you’d like to add?
Pura Vida! Which translates to pure life, in Costa Rica everyone walks around saying pura vida. Todo Bien? (Everything good?) PURA VIDA. I think this mentality is one of the reasons why this was named the happiest country to live in the world.
Thank you Jason!
Now back to you, dear reader – are you contemplating relocating?
Check these out:
Relocation Ready: a mini-course, FREE to join
Relocation Health Resources: articles, recipes, tips, FREE
Your Relocation Solution: be healthy and happy wherever you are: a guidebook for women wishing to feel connected, inspired and capable when moving from their comfort zone
Healthy Relocation Coaching: one-on-one coaching program, tailored to your situation and needs
And please comment below, your thoughts, ideas, experiences and challenges are welcome and appreciated.