Cultivating Mindfulness, Peace, and Joy

Tag: Costa Rica

Magical Minimalist Christmas

I walked a fine line this year with Christmas. And I walked it well. 

A big part of my intention with the life change I’m going through is to reduce my participation in consumerism and to increase my satisfaction and gratitude for what is already here. I also am the parent of two children aged 7 and 5, and Christmas is still a most magical time for them. So the mission this year was to thread the needle of creating the conditions for magical moments from the perspective of my kids while executing this mission within my minimalist values. 

Here’s how that looked. 

What we did not do: 

  • Burn fuel and time traveling away from our home
  • Host guests
  • Go out for parades, events, and light shows
  • Wait in long lines to visit Santa
  • Elbow our way through crowded shopping centers
  • Deal with the project of getting a family photo taken, printing up cards, licking many stamps and updating everyone’s home addresses on the mailing label file. 
  • Purchase any decorations or wrapping paper

What we did do: 

  • Used the handful of Christmas items that we shipped down with our move to decorate the house: a small reusable tree made of recycled material, four stockings, and a pine-scented candle. 
  • Practiced and played holiday tunes on our keyboard.
  • Played family board games, including the game of Clue that Kristyn purchased with her own money when she was in third grade, which yes, made the trek with us to Costa Rica. 
  • In years passed, we used a giant roll of craft paper as our wrapping paper, which worked great because we could draw designs on the paper as an additional activity. Without the craft paper this year, we used any materials in the house we could find–mostly the extra reusable tote bags we hadn’t been using regularly and a few odd pillowcases. 
  • On Christmas Eve night, we set out our final two homemade cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer. 
  • To fill Kristyn and my stockings, instead of buying a bunch of useless junk or stressing about finding legitimately useful gifts (that we somehow haven’t needed to obtain until Christmas), I just put two cans of our favorite adult beverages in each stocking. When we pulled out the cans, the kids, who know I like beer, reacted as if I’d just won the lottery. “I knew you’d get beer! How happy are you, Dad?!”  
  • The kids each received a few gifts from us (socks, underwear, water bottles, books, and fresh art supplies) and one gift from Santa (a pair of Crocs (which were on the wish list) and a friction-powered toy truck). 
  • The Crocs were worn all day, the trucks whir was heard throughout the house, and many artistic creations were produced. 
  • Instead of buying cinnamon roll dough in a can, I made this Cinnamon Coffee Cake recipe from scratch on Christmas morning. The activity acted as a perfect speedbump to slow down the frantic pace of gift opening, which was especially fitting since there were only a few gifts under the tree. 
  • One of the gifts the kids received was the book Children Who Dance In The Rain, a beautiful tale about privilege, gratitude, and learning the joy of giving and of simply living. It felt so good for the kids to be reading a book about people who have so few possessions. I could see the gears of understanding and compassion turn in my eldest’s head as we read the book a second time. 
  • FaceTimed with the grandparents and sent messages out to our loved ones. 
  • Went for not one but two family swims. 
  • Ate leftovers from our Christmas Eve Fancy Toast feast for happy hour and made a simple pesto pasta for dinner in about 20 minutes. 
  • We ended the night with a family snuggle in bed and each took a turn reading a book for the family–even the five year old! 

I’m proud of how our family celebrated the holiday season this year. When the kids walked up to the tree on Christmas morning, it was just as magical for them as any other Christmas. Their eyes were big. Demeanors were giddy. They didn’t ask to watch any screens. And clean-up was a breeze! 

There was a moment as the sun was setting on Christmas day, when my family had gone out for a walk around the neighborhood and I was home alone, staring out to the gentle glow of the Costa Rican sunset, that I realized how much I enjoyed my day. I wasn’t stressed. I didn’t have twenty jobs to do. No one needed anything from me. I was at peace. 

I had given myself the ultimate Christmas present, and all I’d had to do was try to do as little as possible and weave in just a pinch of magic. 


How do you keep the holidays minimal and magical? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments! 

The Best Beaches and Beach Towns in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

What’s the best beach to visit in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica? Which beach town is family friendly? Where is the best surf? All of these questions and more are answered below. 



The place to be in Guanacaste! Tamarindo is the most developed, highest traffic city in the area. It has the most restaurants, hotels, rentals, and bars, and thus it is the most visited area. 


The beach in Tamarindo is known for the surfing. It has reliable waves suitable for beginners and still plenty fun for more advanced surfers. Several surf shops offer lessons. 



The quiet sister to Tamarindo. It’s just a few minutes away from Tamarindo, so you can still enjoy all that “Tama” has to offer, but your stay will likely be a bit quieter with a little less nighttime noise. 


Playa Grande


“Grande” is a quiet surfer’s town. The RipJack Inn is an awesome hotel right near the beach with a restaurant, yoga studio, and a sand volleyball court. 


The surfer’s Mecca in Guanacaste. This is where the experienced surfers go to catch quality, consistent waves. Not recommended for first-time surfers. 


Potrero & Surf Side


The little town that has it all. Hot spots include Potrero Brewing and Hemingway’s. 


The surf can vary a bit at this beach, but it tends toward the calmer side for the beaches in the area. The water is not very clear, and the sand is fine and a bit darker (so it can get hot). The beach has easy public access. 




The town is very small and is mostly a town for the local Ticos; not many tourists stay here, although there are a few small hotels in town. There is a grassy parking area in front of the beach with a few sodas. Patagonia Del Mar boasts the town’s nicest restaurant view, and Masala serves up high quality Indian fare. 


The beach in Brasilito is not that great. The water isn’t very clear and there are very few trees or shady areas. The adjacent beach to the south, Playa Conchal, is known to be one of the nicest beaches in Guanacaste, and since Conchal has restricted access by vehicle (see Conchal below), people will often park at Brasilito and then walk across Brasilito Beach in order to access Conchal Beach. 




On one side of Flamingo you have the marina, and on the other side you have the beach. Marina Flamingo is a newly completed area with a large marina of boat slips and high-end shops on the mainland. It’s all quite posh. 


The beach is gorgeous, with mountain views on each side and fine white sand underfoot. The waves can be larger, not consistent for surfing. You will find several beach vendors offering crafts, massages, and even pina coladas served inside a pineapple! 



Conchal is a beautiful beach made of tiny white shells. The area around the beach is known as “Reserva Conchal” and is an exclusive, expensive place to get into. There is a golf course as well as a Westin hotel inside. You may be able to find a short term rental inside Reserva Conchal, but if you don’t have a tee time, a rental, or a room at the hotel, you won’t be able to get in. The other way to access the beach is by walking along the sand from Brasilito Beach, or by watercraft. 


Las Catalinas


Las Catalinas is a newer development that is quite unlike anything else in the area. It had a Mediterranean vibe, with brightly colored townhomes and walking-only paths. There are some spendy, trendy shops scattered throughout the development. There’s also a robust hiking trail system that starts at a trailhead in Las Catalinas, leading to various beach and mountain destinations. It’s a fun place for a day trip, and in general is a bit more expensive than other places in Guanacaste. 


Playa Danta is the nearby beach at Las Catalinas. It’s a beautiful beach. A moderate hike along the trails will take you to Playa Dantita, the little sister to Playa Danta, which is more quiet and secluded. Dantita is a gem if you’re looking to take a couple hike and picnic lunch on a beach. 



It takes a little effort to get there, but Playa Avellanas is a beautiful area. Lola’s is an awesome spot to post up for the day; it’s a beachfront restaurant with many different types of seating areas, included a lofted 2nd story dining area. 


It’s a pretty good surfing beach. Nice sand. 


Guanacaste has so many beaches and beach towns, and they all have their own character. Have a suggestion of another beach or beach town that should be in this article? Let us know in the comments! 

Now get out there and enjoy the surf! 

Finding My Purpose, One Volley at a Time

As I mentally prepared to move to Costa Rica, I knew things were going to change for me. In fact, I was planning on it.

I was moving to a new country with many intentions, one of which was leaving behind certain parts of my old life. I wanted to strip away the clutter, the physical clutter of the many items that had amassed in our too-large home, the mental clutter of a challenging job in a busy life, and the overall soul/being/belief/understanding sort of clutter one accumulates from 37 trips around the Sun. The idea was do less chasing after stuff and to create more spaciousness. Space for what, exactly? I couldn’t say, exactly. 

As I would journal and contemplate and do many mental exercises, thought experiments, and soul searches to help me determine my life purpose, to help me figure out what I’d want to pursue in this next season of my life, what I yearned to do more of, who I wanted to become, who I wanted to be right now… the same smattering of ideas would emerge, in no particular order: music, blogging, meditation, volleyball, strength training, gardening, hiking, more time with kids, creating a podcast, writing a book, learning more wilderness skills and bushcraft, volunteering…

I intentionally left it open-ended as we completed the move, because I knew I was going into the unknown, into a new place with a different climate, landscape, and culture. I didn’t want to be attached to any singular narrow vision too tightly; I didn’t know what effects this major transition was going to have on me and my family. I just knew I wanted to live with more space. I wanted to give myself the freedom to do and to be whatever felt right and leave any notion of what I’m “supposed to be” and “supposed to do” in my rear view mirror.

Now that three months have gone by, I’m noticing that, perhaps unsurprisingly to some, it has been volleyball that has emerged as one of the primary endeavors I’m pouring myself into in this first chapter of my life in Costa Rica.


What started out as a casual offer to the school Movement Director during New Family Orientation Day, that I could “pitch in where needed” with the volleyball program, has turned into a Head Coaching position of a multi-school youth volleyball club. I started my first day as Coach with 28 kids, one decrepit net with an archaic, rusty crank system, and a cart of volleyballs. I had no whistle, no clipboard, and no help, other than the handful of notes and drills I’d scratched into one of my kids’ half-used Five-Star notebooks earlier that day. Three months later, I work with another co-head coach, we’ve formed two competitive teams of 15 kids each, started an “open gym” night for all youth from the area to work on volleyball skills, and we’ve even played (and won) our first match against another club team. And I now don’t forget to bring my whistle to practice. 

One of the best experiences of coaching this youth club team so far was the night after our first match. It was a nailbiter of a match, where, in a best-of-five competition, we won-lost-lost-won the first four sets, so it came down to the fifth and final set, where we did ultimately emerge victorious with a 25-23 final score.

Our team and fans celebrating after our first match

The best part of this, though, was not that our team won, but how I felt that night. As I laid in bed getting ready for sleep, I could feel an energetic hum circulating through me. It felt familiar. I realized I’d felt this way many times before, in high school and in college, on the nights after I’d played in a sanctioned, refereed volleyball match. My mind would be reviewing and replaying the various rallies from the match that afternoon, reliving particularly enjoyable spikes or blocks and learning from unforced errors. This time, as post-game coach instead of post-game player, that electric current running through me was more subdued, not quite as consuming as when I was a young lad, but it was still there, and it felt good. For a few moments, I got to feel like I felt when I was 18. Magical! 


I’ve also gratefully been welcomed by the small group of advanced beach players that live in my area, who turn out to be totally rad, generous, and kind people. We gather sporadically, several times per week, at either Tamarindo Beach or Playa Grande, the two closest spots with sand nets in our pocket of Guanacaste.

The volleyball sessions are organized in a small group message thread, not unsimilar to my old group text chains coordinating 2-on-2 pickup ball with the guys at the sand courts around Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis. The only difference is, in Minnesota, we’d plan things out a few days in advance, to give everyone time to finagle ducking out of work early or to “work remotely” that afternoon or to “need to pick up their kids from daycare” that day. Here in Costa Rica, the group thread to schedule a pickup session always starts with someone sending out the same one-word message: “Tomorrow?” At first this lack of advanced planning frustrated me, as it felt like it thwarted my attempts to be a good partner and dad, to communicate to my family when I’d be missing the morning get-to-school routine. However, I’ve come to learn that the reasons we don’t plan things further out here are part cultural but also part practical – sometimes big rains come for days on end, disrupting everyone’s schedules in myriad ways. If you don’t make plans, then your plans can’t get ruined. 


I’ve also now started playing indoor volleyball, through an introduction from someone on the sand courts. They had been lamenting how that, for weeks, they’d been trying to organize a group of advanced indoor players, but were having a hard time bringing it all together. After connecting those I’d met at the beach to the indoor crowd, we now have enough people to have epic, high level volleyball going once per week at a gym in the nearby town of Huacas. 

Amidst all of this, the school our kids attend is nearing the completion of building a new gymnasium. This is a huge deal for the school and the surrounding community. Currently the school leases a gym space down the road in order for students to be able to play volleyball or basketball. This space is hot, dusty, hot, far away from the school, and really stinkin’ hot. The new gym is being built on the school grounds and will have a roof with an open air design, which will protect everyone from the sun and provide air flow at the same time. Basically, the basketball and volleyball programs at the school are about to get a major upgrade, and I happen to have moved here right before that all gets going. This feels like yet another sign that I’m meant to participate. The volleyball-loving entity within me has taken action, and I now am on a small committee of parent volunteers to raise funds for the new gym so that it can get equipped with a proper roof, floor, and sports equipment. 


And now, because of my position with the youth team, my avid playing at the beach, and my general disposition of being passionate about the sport, more and more people are getting connected. It seems like not a week goes by now where I don’t receive at least one message out of the blue from someone who got my info from someone else. In referring to my ability to bring people together, someone told me, “We need you!!” It all is making me feel like this is part of why I’m here, this is part of what I’m meant to do here, an ideal use of all my skills and past experiences that have put me in this position in this time and place.


It feels like, and this feels scary to admit, that being “the volleyball guy” down here is my first taste of what it feels like to actually be living out my purpose. It feels like I might actually be offering one of my ideal, optimal gifts to the universe. That feeling is a feeling I’ve been searching for over the last year and a half. 

There are exercises one can do to help hone in on one’s purpose or one’s next move in life. I have done many of them. For example, Josh Steimle’s way of thinking about this is to find your “Genius Zone.” You write down a list of all the things in which you are an Expert. This can be anything from speaking English to sales to raising a five year old to the behavior patterns of chihuahuas in Minnesota. Then you identify which of all of these things is your One Big Key Zone, the one that you are a deep expert in. If your whole career has been in real estate, then real estate is probably your One Big Key Zone. Lastly, you identify your Secondary Zones. Then you make a Venn diagram. In the middle of that Venn diagram is your Genius Zone. So let’s say your One Big Key Zone is real estate, and two of your Secondary Zones are speaking Spanish and writing. Plot those three zones on a Venn diagram, and boom – writing a blog in Spanish for how to purchase your first home is your Genius Zone; it’s a project you could undertake that brings your special talents together.

Another way I’ve journaled to try to get to the root of what I’m meant to do with my life is to free write on the following prompts:

  • What do I care about deeply? What do I value? 
  • What am I good at? 
  • What do I really enjoy? 
  • Imagine it’s ten years from now, everything has gone “right,” and I’m the best version of myself I could possibly be. What am I doing? What’s important to me? 
  • How can I feel more fulfilled?

The idea after free writing on all of these questions is then is to take a step back and look at what’s on the pages, to see if any patterns or trends emerge, if, in reading any of my own answers, I feel a particular gravitation or aversion to any of them. All of this work was ultimately pointing to my underlying desire to be able to get to a point in my life where I am giving my best offerings to the universe. I’m fortunate to feel like I have several areas of passion and expertise, but it also has presented a quandary; if I pour myself into one area, let’s say writing a book, then yes this is taking advantage of one of my talents but is this really the best endeavor I could pursue? What if I get deep into a book writing project, spending countless hours of my life on it, when all that time and energy could have been better spent creating a podcast or producing a funk album or selling more solar panels? What if one of those projects would ultimately have a bigger, more positive impact on the world? How can I know what is truly the best thing for me to pursue? 

And so, with that fixation on perfecting this thought experiment, I then loop back into more analysis. Welcome to the loop I’ve been on for the last year and a half. 

When I mentioned all of this work and mental acrobatics to my unofficial life coach, he advised that I not focus so much on getting it “perfectly,” “optimally” right and simply to do three things: experiment, live in gratitude, and know that if the path feels right (if my vitality or life energy is up) then it probably is right. 

And what I have now noticed as I look back on all of those purpose-seeking exercises is that “volleyball” was in every one of those journal entries. I would always write down “volleyball” at some point as one of my genius zones or something that brings me joy. And as I reflect on the most recent three months of my life here in Costa Rica, I also notice that I’ve been prioritizing volleyball without intentionally doing so. It’s just happening. The 24 years’ worth of experience and pleasure playing this game is like its own entity within me acting on its own. I find myself raising my hand to coach a team, to drive 30 minutes to find advanced beach players, to guide a “parent’s volleyball night” at the kids’ school. It all feels so natural. It feels like it’s what I’m “supposed” to be doing here and now. 

And admitting that, saying out loud that it feels like volleyball might be my purpose right now, feels silly. Trivial. Dumb. A voice creeps in saying, “Really? VOLLEYBALL is the best you can do? A game?! You have all this privilege and good fortune and a sound mind and you’re going to use all of that for a GAME?!”

Whose voice is that? Who knows? But yeah, I am embracing this game. Why?

  • it’s a need in this community
  • it’s good for my body
  • it’s a built-in way to grow my network of familiar people in this new place
  • there are signs all around me pointing me in this direction
  • I get to access feeling like a teenager again
  • I get to help and add value to this area right now
  • I love to play

Volleyball actually is the thing I’m way over my 10,000 hours on. It is the thing I can do and do and do and never get bored of it. The thing I happily pay money to do (to pay for the indoor gym time). It’s the activity I have dreams about; I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve dreamt of spikes inside the ten foot line and of straight-down block kills. It’s the one sport I’ve been playing for more than half of my life. It’s the only thing I set my alarm for in Costa Rica.  It’s the one movement practice I’ve stuck with consistently for over 20 years, without any effort or discipline or grit. It’s been easy because it’s the one thing I truly do love. 

So why do I need to question it? To doubt it? To continue to search and chase and strive to level up to something greater? Can’t it be enough that I love a thing and it makes me feel happy and it’s good for my health and I can help the people near me with my talents, all while embracing the notion that it doesn’t have to be forever, it can just be enough for right now? Well gosh darnit, I think it can! 

If you spend a bunch of time searching for your life’s purpose, you might just find that it’s been hiding in plain sight all along. 

Reflections After One Week of Life in Costa Rica

We made it. Ten years ago, Kristyn and I were talking about what it would be like to start a family, and we agreed that, at some point, living in another country with our kids would be a good idea. Five years later, we took our two tiny humans on a vacation/research trip to Brasilito in Costa Rica, and we decided on the last day of the trip that this place would be our future home. Five years after that (which is right now for those who haven’t been doing the math), we’ve arrived at our new home in Costa Rica. So, in a big way, we made it. As I type this, I can see the Pacific Ocean, I hear dozens of tropical birds singing, and I can feel the warm, salty breeze of a Costa Rican morning on my skin. 

An onlooker might think, “Wow, you’ve made your dream come true!” In many ways, that is true. We had a vision and have taken many steps, both big and small, to turn that vision into reality. And yet, despite having “made it” here, the sense of “dream come true” hasn’t landed. Sure, I’ve had moments of bliss over the last few days, such as watching my kids splash around in ocean waves or taking an early morning hike up the nearby mountain to a majestic view of a tropical valley with two gorgeous beaches in the background. In between these moments, though, I’ve had this underlying sense of stress and anxiety. It takes work to set up a new life! And when you have kids in the mix and school hasn’t started yet, efficiency is but a myth. The vision isn’t fully realized yet, because in order to live the lifestyle I’m hoping to live, a life with the freedom of time, time that can be spent however I want, I first have to figure out how to eat, sleep, and survive in a new place.

These have been the themes of my first week in Costa Rica:


There’s a lot of puzzle energy in this first week. I love puzzles, but this is a bit much even for me. I imagine this is similar to what it feels like to be a young kid, where so many of life’s experiences are new and need figuring out. It’s exhilarating, confusing, and frustrating all rolled into one. How do I navigate these grocery stores with new items in a foreign currency and language? Once I’ve bought stuff, how do I use this kitchen to prepare food in a way my kids will tolerate it? What are our rules around the pool? How do you get gas into your car? How do you buy a car? Why doesn’t our hot water work? What does this red button on the garbage disposal do? Are the pots and pans going into this drawer or that drawer? 

It’s fun having the opportunity to make these choices and set things up the way I want. It’s also daunting and draining having to make so many decisions about every little thing.

Remember when COVID first happened, and all the things you used to do on cruise control – going to work, taking your kids to school, buying groceries – suddenly got disrupted, and a whole new set of decisions needed to be made about how to do all those things? I do. And what I remember about all of that was, among other things, decision fatigue. Am I supposed to wear gloves to the grocery store? Do I need to disinfect these oranges? How do you disinfect oranges? How are we going to work with the kids at home? How can I fix my back after I wrecked it from sitting on this dining room chair to do work all day? There are tons of brand new decision trees to navigate here in Costa Rica, and while my current set of forks in the road are a bit more fun to deal with than the COVID ones, it still has a flavor of that decision fatigue energy. 

The way I’ve been getting through the puzzles and the fatigue is to remind myself of two things. One- the decisions aren’t permanent. They aren’t forever. Just because I put the cups in this cupboard today doesn’t mean they must now reside there for all eternity. Remembering that things can be changed, and in fact all things do change, has really helped me at many steps of this journey, from making the leap out of the workforce to choosing where I want to store my toothbrush. Two- there is no “right” answer. I couldn’t list all the ingredients that have gone into the personality programming cocktail that’s led me here, but man the desire to get things “right” is deeply embedded in my fibers. But when you’re trying to decide between two different brands of refried beans, neither of which you can pronounce, the truth is there is no right choice. When you’re deciding whether the shirts will go in the middle drawer or the bottom drawer, neither one of those is the correct option. Either choice will work, they both just come with a trade-off. There are no wrong choices; there are only trade-offs. 

This is a lesson that cemented itself for me on a canoe trip I took to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, where my companion and I took a wrong turn and had to choose whether we’d double-back or charge ahead into the wilderness to the next lake beyond. We chose the path less traveled (a story about which I’ll be writing more fully in the near future), which was extremely difficult and presented many hard choices about how to get our heavy packs and canoe through a trail-less forest filled with thick brambles and hidden snow patches three feet deep, but through all of it I learned that no choice we made was the wrong one, it just came with a trade-off. 

That I learned a lesson in my past life which is helping me in my current situation leads me to the next theme of the week. 


I have no clue what I’m doing. There’s no book for how to do this. Sure, there are blogs and YouTube channels and Facebook groups and people in my network that have all explained how to move to another country, but there’s no book for how to move my family in my situation to my exact place in Guanacaste. I’m in way over my head.

And yet, I feel oddly prepared. It feels like my whole life has been preparing me for this week. All the camping trips I’ve been on have taught me: how to get by with little, that I need to bring my water bottle everywhere, how to use rope, one can always use more rope, and what to do when you run out of rope. Driving my first car when I was sixteen, a manual VW Jetta, prepared me to drive my new (used) stick-shift truck on these pothole-ridden, hilly Costa Rican roads. When I was in my 20’s and running my own business I first encountered Google Sheets, and with all the house projects I’m trying to keep track of now, I knew exactly how I’d keep the work organized. Every meal I planned in Minnesota has helped me to identify which foods in this foreign grocery store I can prepare in an agreeable way for my kids. The couples therapy sessions Kristyn and I have done have enabled us to get through the many stressful scenarios of the move not by biting each other’s heads off but by making little micro-moments of affection and contact nutrition. I’ve never navigated this pool before (we have a pool), but I’ve dealt with my kids bickering before, so I knew that once they started bugging each other in the pool, it meant that they just needed a new spin on their activity. Grab a couple plastic cups from the kitchen and BOOM – a new pool toy, and another half hour, is found. After I burned my hand on the roasting pan in this new kitchen because we don’t have any hot pads or oven mitts yet, I knew the right course of action was to hold some ice cubes because of the time I was a pre-teen waiting in the car for my mom to run into a store in the middle of winter, and I decided it would be a good idea to see how hot the cigarette lighter got after just a few seconds of heating up by touching it with my finger (and then immediately opening my door and shoving my hand into the nearby snowbank).

I have no clue what I’m doing here, but I know what to do. 


One evening, as we returned to our neighborhood from an afternoon at the beach, one of our neighbors had set up a lemonade stand at an intersection. Their sign read “Free/Libre Lemonade!” We stop, accept their free lemonade, and strike up a conversation. Our kids offered them the couple of coins they had, but the neighbors wouldn’t accept money – they were just having fun giving out lemonade to people. After a few more minutes of chatting (the adults through the driver’s window and the kids through the rear window), our kids offered to give the only other thing they had in the car – their very prized iPod Touch (that has never had a battery charge because we don’t have the charger. They just like pretending it’s a phone/camera). They unhesitatingly gave it to kids they just met. Our kids have spent countless hours playing with this dead iPod Touch. They’ve “talked” to their best friends on it, they’ve jammed to “music” with it, they’ve bickered and fought over who was getting the next turn with it. But in this moment, this moment where they had received something for free, their response was to give back. 

I noticed how this act, this giving away of (what I thought was) a prized possession, triggered me. My mind immediately went to thoughts like, “You’re going to regret that” and “Don’t you realize how much you play with that?” and “You do know how few toys we have right now, don’t you?” I kept these thoughts to myself and traded them for a deep breath. And in the space of that one deep breath, I realized – my kids probably do know how few toys they have, and they do remember how much they’ve played with it, but the thing that’s more important to them in this moment is being able to give. It’s having the ability to do a kindness to their new neighbor, to begin a new friendship, to get that warm fuzzy feeling one gets after sharing with someone else. 

We live in a time of such abundance, and I live such a fortunate life to want for nothing, and yet I still have such strong attachment to material things. I can’t let my pre-programmed, learned scarcity mindset get in the way of my children’s innate generosity. If I can just trust my kids’ instincts, they will show me the way to live a richer life.  


We only have one more week until our kids start school. In a “normal” year, this would be our family vacation time. But it’s not a normal year. We have a whole life to set up. Yet at the same time, we have to get through, and hopefully enjoy, each day as it comes and goes. Striking this balance is proving difficult. I wake up every day not with the joy of living in a beautiful place nor with a sense of pride or achievement for having made it here, but instead I wake with a pit of anxiety in my stomach and chest of the overwhelming quantity of projects that need tackling. It’s an exercise of prioritizing and balancing. Which projects desperately require our immediate attention and which ones can wait until school starts? How can I start living the carefree Costa Rica life I’ve been dreaming about for years even amidst a long list of to-do’s? 

How many of my “needed” projects, though, are simply for seeking more comfort? Do we really “need” a rack for our shoes? How elaborate does that shoe rack need to be? This is one of the gifts and challenges of my experience moving to another country. Some of my project goals have more practicality than others, but it’s worth asking myself how useful these wants of mine really are. 

The kids are such helpful teachers in this exercise. They offer constant reminders to enjoy the moment right now, not to worry about the times ahead, to sink into the bliss of presence and play and connection with each other. 

There are two guys cleaning mold out of my bathroom cabinet right now. There are five other guys building a guest bedroom addition to our house. I can’t communicate with them without the help of Google Translate. I’ve got five different lists of projects I’m trying to populate. And meanwhile my kid is entertaining herself in the pool, using the resources she has at her disposal, and, with a pool noodle, a cup, a pair of goggles, and a leaf, created “Mr. Noodle,” her new pool friend, and she’s giggling hysterically. 

Kids find ways to play no matter how much or how little you have. 

On that note, it’s time to go play. 

On Sabbatical – Week 24: Improving Communication With My Partner and With Myself


Monday of this week was Halloween. Due to my bushy, unkempt sabbatical beard, I slapped together a last-minute costume and attended our neighborhood Halloween driveway get together as the cross-country-running version of Forrest Gump. I still hadn’t done anything with the beard in the days after Halloween, which you can see proof of in this week’s featured image. 

Ever since enrolling our children in Spanish immersion childcare, pre-school, and public school, and being more exposed to aspects of Latin culture, we have grown an admiration of the traditions around Día de Muertos. We have made it a tradition to create our own ofrenda (home altar) in the entryway of our house around this time of year, to remember loved ones who are not with us any more, particularly Kristyn’s dad. She wrote a great piece about this on, which I encourage you to check out. 

The Carlow Moravetz Ofrenda, 2022

(I realize I’m a white American man that’s now talking about a tradition that is not exactly of my own lineage, and of the trickiness that brings, but at the end of the day, I know how I feel, I know my intentions, and I know that the way we acknowledge the spirit of it in our house feels right to us and is done in an honorable way, so for me, that’s what counts.)

It was also quite adorable this year to observe how my children, while Trick-or-Treating around the neighborhood, cared much more about petting the animals of the homes we visited than about snatching up their candy. They would’ve stayed and pet the 9-week-old kitten all night if we’d let them. 


On Tuesday I had a lengthy conversation with my partner about food. In many aspects of our relationship, we find a balance that works for us. With any given task, though, a “balance that works” does not always mean we split the task 50/50. We each have our own strengths and our own chores that annoy us less than other chores. She doesn’t hate folding clothes, I don’t hate cleaning out the fridge. Over the last ten years or so, we’ve been tweaking and refining how we tackle all of the responsibilities of home ownership, adulthood, and life so that, on the whole, things feel balanced to both of us. 

Food is one of those unavoidable aspects of life. We need it to survive. But when it comes to food, there’s more to it than just cooking the food. Someone has to plan what food is going to be acquired. Someone has to get the food. Someone has to organize how the food is stored. Someone has to prepare and cook the food. Someone has to clean the dishes used to prepare and to eat the food. And, if you care about food waste (we do), someone has to monitor the aging of all the ingredients and factor in how and when the leftovers will be eaten and/or incorporated into future meal plans. It’s a job with a bunch of sub-jobs underneath it. 

On the whole, I get less stressed about food than Kristyn does. I like cooking, and I like being intentional with the ingredients used to nourish the bodies of myself and my family. I don’t want to speak too much on Kristyn’s behalf, but the short version is – years ago one of my roommates had said that he wished he could just take a pill and it would satisfy his hunger and his nutritional needs so that he didn’t need to think about food at all, and upon hearing this, my reaction was, “Oh that sounds so bland and boring, and think about all the flavors and connection to your fuel you’d miss out on,” while Kristyn’s reaction was, “YES absolutely me too.” So, the balance that works for us is that I am the primary food person in our house. 

Before I go on and get myself into a heap of trouble, I want to be clear – she does make food and does get groceries and does do many dishes. It’s just that we’ve come to an understanding that I am the primary food person. And, like with any big job that has one person shouldering a larger share of the job, it can get to be a lot. There are times where I feel “kitchened out.” In those times, a break from the kitchen would feel great. The problem is, I feel resistance to ask for help. I’m terrible at asking for help in general. When I worry that the favor I need or the assistance that would really make my day is in direct contrast to my partner’s wiring and preferences? Forget it! I know that meal planning and prep can be more stressful for her, so I tell myself this story that I’m putting an “extra burden” on her by asking her to take over making dinner for a night. 

What I learned through the course of this conversation, though, is that by not asking for help and trudging through another slog in the kitchen, I’m not actually helping the situation. I’m not resourcing myself. I’m operating from an imbalanced place. This has downstream effects, and those effects aren’t positive. 

What is especially great about not only this specific conversation but also the general state of our relationship is that we are having these conversations, we aren’t leaving things unsaid, and we are having them in a calm, constructive way which leaves both people feeling better than when we start. I’m really grateful to have Kristyn in my life to teach me and to practice with me communication and attunement to others. 


From 2:30pm-5pm Monday-Friday, we have our eldest child at home with us (before the younger gets picked up from Spanish pre-school). We try to mix up how this time is spent, with some togetherness as well as some independent work and play. 

On Wednesday of this week, she and I headed down to our ramshackle “music studio” in the basement to mess around with the funny sounds we can make on the microphone. She immediately requested the “robot voice” (a sound setting in Garageband). As soon as she started talking in that voice, we got the idea to make a song about a robot. Over the next fifteen minutes we created a super simple track with two verses and a bridge. We didn’t write the verses, though; she improvised them on the spot as a basic musical accompaniment played in the background! It was such a cool experience to watch as my kid’s brain came up with clever things a robot would say and sing them on key and to a beat. 

“I Am A Robot” is not quite ready for release yet, but when it does make its way to the web… you’ll know. 


On Thursday, I once again fed myself a prompt in my journal. The day’s prompt: What is my dream? When I give myself journal prompts like this, I try to write with a brainstorm mentality, to free the mind and the pen to write without filter or direction. Anything goes. Any thought counts. If the though enters my brain, write it down, no matter how ridiculous or (seemingly) off-topic it might be. This particular day, even with the brainstorm mindset, I was stuck. Like, majorly stuck. I couldn’t quite picture anything concrete. Then I started judging myself for not having a solid dream. “How ridiculous is that?! I don’t know what I want? What I yearn for? Even kids know what they dream of. Why are you having such a hard time with this? You don’t even have a job right now. This is all you’ve been thinking about for months and you can’t even write down one stinking dream?”

It was time for a hike (see featured image). Not only did I have exhilarating encounters with two different sets of deer partners (buck and doe) mere feet off my trail, but I unlocked an insight while thinking on the prompt “What is my dream?” and talking out loud into my Voice Memo app as I walked. This insight came after 20-30 minutes of fruitless pondering. My mind was easily distracted. It was looking for any excuse, any thought to pull me away from the discomfort of sitting answerless to this question. Every time I noticed my mind following another train of thought, I re-centered on the prompt “What is my dream?”. 

Eventually, when I finally was able to just linger in that question, really embody it, I realized that, for me, in this moment, the question was too big. It needed a time constraint. What if I broke the question into small time increments? What if I changed the prompt to “What is my dream for today?” and then expanded from there? This approach was game-changing. 

In breaking this big question down into tiny chunks, I was able to figure out the following (these are the notes as I wrote them on that day):

  • My dream for today is to simply be doing what I was already doing – hiking outside. Eating delicious food for supper with my family. Spending quality time with my family where we are making each other laugh and enjoying each other’s company. Have an easeful time putting my kids to bed where I am in lock step with their desires of what they need to have an easeful bedtime. And then connect with my partner, have some mutually incredible sex, and close the day with an effortless meditation. That is what would make today a “dream day,” and I’m already on the path of living it. 
  • So, then, how is my dream for any other longer stretch of time any different than stringing a bunch of those exact days together in a row? Wouldn’t I just repeat this day again tomorrow? And the next? In a way, yes! But also, life has certain requirements; not all minutes of all days can be play, unless you happen to have access to unlimited resources. Ok, so let’s zoom out a little.
  • I then inquired “What is my dream for the month of November?” … My mind immediately gravitated toward Thanksgiving, a holiday landmark in the month of November. I dreamt of preparing delicious, crowd-pleasing dishes and of delighting in the joy they bring to my family. And I then felt compelled to think of a prayer to offer before the meal. I went on a twenty-minute tangent writing out a Thanksgiving prayer that flowed effortlessly out of me. 
  • And finally when I returned again to my question about my dream for November, and I finally stopped the many distracting thoughts my mind was taking me in, in the split second that I finally cleared my mind and just left space for that question, the feeling rushed in that I want to be making more progress toward our move to Costa Rica next summer. It is starting to feel like time to be tackling that project more enthusiastically and prioritizing it at the tippy top of the list. This is broken into three parts: learning Spanish, completing the project of building out our property, and getting rid of our unneeded possessions. 
  • I quit the exercise here. This seemed like far enough for now. Let’s make November my dream November. And that starts right now. 

If I can live out my dream day, and my dream week, and my dream month, all I have to do is start stringing those together and I will be living my dream life. 

On Sabbatical – Week 5: A Week In Costa Rica, Seven Years In The Making

In order to properly write about this week of my life, I need to take us back. Back to the year 2015. But before that, I need to take us back five weeks, to the start of my sabbatical.


When I left Corporate America in May 2022, one manager told me, in a farewell email, “your super power of breaking down goals and achieving them is beyond impressive.” It’s funny, the power it can have when someone tells you something about yourself. As I reflect on it now, I am someone that has set goals for myself throughout life, but I didn’t particularly consider myself a “goal-oriented person.” Yet, when I look at my track record, I have had the tendency to set up and knock out goals for a good 20 years. I really wanted to go to the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Got in. When graduating, I had the goal of going into business for myself. Did it. One lofty business idea I had was creating a large-scale event, from scratch — a free university welcome event to kick off the school year, paid for by sponsors. We estimated 5,000 students would attend. 15,000 students showed up, and our profit margin on the event was about 65%. Later in life, I knew I had the personal life goal of starting a family. Made that happen. During the pandemic I set the goal of running a marathon. Completed it. Each year in my career in sales, I had corporate quotas and personal sales goals. Most years, I either met them or smashed them. I know what SMART Goals are and try to use that framework when writing down lists of goals in my journal. But until the note in that last email from my former manager, it hadn’t really clicked for me as a label, as a trait of mine.

I had never considered myself among the class of people I admire, the “true” goal-oriented legends you read books about, visionary businesspeople or world class athletes who set lofty goals and stop at nothing until those goals are achieved. I read about people who have had success in their pursuits: the ultra marathoner who ran a marathon in every country in the world, the musician who locked himself in his home studio and didn’t come out until the song was fully produced and mastered, the young businessman who turned his tiny magazine into a global media enterprise, the athlete who set their sights on Olympic gold and won it — and I think to myself, “Wow, those people are impressive. They know how to set goals and achieve them, and it’s taken them to incredible heights. I’m just a normal person. I’m not like them.” And while it’s true, I’m not destined for Olympic gold, I now believe I am like them, insofar as I have an ability to set a goal and complete it. This is one of my super powers. How can I be putting this skill to its best use? I guess we will all have to stay tuned as the magic unfolds!

And if that farewell email wasn’t enough, it became evident on our recent visit to Costa Rica that this goal-completing ability really is one of my super powers. And with that, we go back seven years, to the year 2015.


Kristyn and I were discussing the topic of children: whether or not to have them, ideal time, ideal age gap between siblings, and so on. We agreed that one idea we both liked was, at some point down the road, to live, with kids, in a different country. It would help them gain a more global perspective on life, and it would be one heck of an adventure for us all. The details were foggy, but the overall mission was clear — at some point, live with our kids in a different country. Over the next year or two, we had our first child, and then, two years later, our second, and we continued the conversation of where and when we might want to live outside of the United States. A Spanish-speaking destination made the most sense, since Kristyn already spoke decent Spanish, so from the get-go we had our kids in Spanish immersion pre-school. Kristyn had visited Costa Rica with her family as a teenager, and she got her second visit to the country with my family on a Christmas vacation in 2015. We had a most excellent time. So, from our positive experiences in the past, we looked to Costa Rica first as a possible destination for our eventual journey abroad. As I clocked hours of online research about the country, I was not turned off by anything I read and, to the contrary, was only lured in more.

Two people
Together in Costa Rica – December 2015

So, in 2018, we took a reconnaissance trip to Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region, where we visited multiple locations, met with realtors, and toured schools. We rented an AirBnB in a developing area that, from what we could tell on the internet, seemed like it might be a good location for us. But this was our first recon trip. There was no expectation of making any sort of big decisions. The loose idea was that, in the following months, we’d return to Costa Rica, but in a different region, to compare and contrast it with Guanacaste. Or perhaps we would do this recon trip to Guanacaste, realize it wasn’t for us, and plan our next info-gathering excursion to Mexico, Honduras, Spain, or elsewhere.

It was our last day of Guanacaste recon, and some other-worldly intuition, some knowing came over Kristyn, like the ocean washing up on the shore. Inevitable. Confident certainty. Which is particularly odd, since she has been, and still is, the less decisive person in our partnership; when we come to life’s many little crossroads, like what meals we should make for the week or should we wear the blue or the green to our friend’s wedding, I am usually the one to speak up with a quicker decision. But this time, the decisiveness was all Kristyn. She felt a deep sense of clarity. Further recon was futile. This was the place. The time was now.

Guanacaste Recon Trip – December 2018

Over the next four years, two of which were COVID-19 pandemic years, we worked toward the details of where exactly we would live. A plan was coming together, but due to pandemic travel restrictions, we could not return to the country, and even once restrictions were lifted, with vaccines not being approved for children under five (which just changed last week), we weren’t able to go actually see the location where we hope to live in 2023.

And then, in Week 5 of my sabbatical, we saw it. It was everything.


It hit me on the initial walkthrough of the house, not as much on the interior, but outside, on a covered deck, gazing out at a tiny distant sliver of visible Pacific Ocean, with a lush jungly hillside to my right and a rushing river flowing through the tropical forest behind. I felt an onrush of emotion.

Being a man that’s grown up in a patriarchal society, I have a deficiency in emotional intelligence. Feelings are hard. Society did not equip me with the tools, behaviors, and skills to talk about and express my feelings freely. It’s one of the areas of life I have the biggest room to grow. And so, even feeling and being aware of and being able to name “an onrush of emotion” is a starting point. But I’ve practiced some, and in that moment I was able to sit with the emotion, not panic but sit in it enough to allow space. Space for actual tears to form and roll down my cheeks, and space to be able to search the true feeling and name it. And the feeling was… relief. Relief that now the uncertain future is a little more certain. I had less fear of the unknown. This is where we will be living. This is where I will be drinking my daily mug of delicious, Costa Rica-grown coffee. This is the mountainside we’ll wake to every day. This is how the neighborhood howler monkeys sound. Up until then, the steps we had been taking to get closer to moving to Costa Rica all felt a bit like an upside-down, pandemic-infused dream, but in that moment, it all transformed from dream into reality.

So it was this feeling of relief from the ambiguity and fear of an unknown future, and also, after that, a feeling for which I didn’t have a word. So I sat with that, too. And it dawned on me – I was feeling happy, proud of my past self, proud of my past decisions, satisfied with the judgments and vision of the younger me. And it made me think of this phrase – Foresight 20/20.

You know how they say, “Hindsight is 20/20,” meaning that it’s easier to have complete knowledge and understanding about an event after it’s happened? Well, this feeling felt like our Foresight was 20/20, like the younger version of me was smack in the middle of the bullseye of knowing what future me would want. It was an extraordinarily rewarding sensation to have. I want to cultivate more 20/20 foresight.

Along the way, we’ve had moments of doubts. Many. “This is crazy.” “Are we really doing this?” “Are we robbing our children of some ‘better’ education or opportunities?” “How will we know if we still want this 4-5 years from now?” Countless questions more. Doubt. Uncertainty. Fear. Wicked cousins of emotion. I believe the ideal way to handle these feelings is not to avoid them but to go toward them. Stare them in the face. Learn from them what you will. And have the courage to push through them and press onward.

And through faith in those around us, a hint of that courage, more than our fair share of privilege, and a bit of luck, we got to see the result of the vision we’d had seven years ago, in living color. It was an affirmation that the old versions of ourselves could see our future. Something deep within us felt right about this spot, this plan, despite all the reasons why it might not work out. It’s validating and relieving that our old vision has not only come to fruition, but also feels so perfectly in alignment with the four-year-older version of me. To be happy with your past self is one of life’s best feelings, and I now aspire to impress my future self when making decisions. When at a decision crossroad, I ask myself, “Will this make my future self proud? Happy? Satisfied?” My intuition can take it from there.

Together Again in Costa Rica – June 2022



We took a tour of the kids’ future school. We had already toured this school once on our 2018 recon trip, but now we could take the tour with our school-aged kids so they could see it and understand it for themselves. The school is one of our biggest draws to the area. It’s a bilingual school with half of the students being local Tico’s and the other half being international students from 30 different countries. Classroom sizes are capped at 20-22. They use project-based learning. The school year operates on trimesters with three different breaks throughout the year, rather than one big long break which can cause a mental “summer slide” in the developing mind of a child.

They put on a weekly “Feria” (market) every Wednesday for local merchants and students to sell their goods. We enjoyed being there to experience the Feria; we even had a First Grader give us his sales pitch for the homemade jewelry he had crafted.

Many nearby parents teach at the school. If you are a parent and aren’t a full-time teacher at the school, you are still required to contribute a minimum of 18 hours to the school’s activities throughout the year — a requirement I’m happy to abide.

Oh, and the school has gardens. And chickens. Many chickens! The curriculum includes an annual anchor project, which varies by grade. These anchor projects tend to model sustainability and self-sufficiency, and many anchor projects revolve around the chickens. Fifth Graders learn about and manage the compost at the school as their anchor project. The compost is used in the gardens, which is the Seventh Grade anchor project. The Sixth Graders are in charge of maintaining the chicken coops and feeding the chickens, while the First Graders are in charge of egg collection. Other grades work on recycling, water, and so on.

Everything about this school promotes a more communal integration with the community and with the school’s natural surroundings. This is what school should be. Everywhere.


When we were in Costa Rica, and we were at a private house, with thick trees all around, not another human in sight, with tropical temps — we were naked. A lot. The kids mostly, but us grown-ups too. We saw how happy the little ones were to be free of their soggy bottoms. We wanted that same happiness. And why not? Because it’s not the norm? What’s not natural is putting clothes on when it’s 90 degrees and you have your own pool. It’s sad all the “rules” we think we have to live by. When was the last time the sun kissed your bare bottom? Answer: too long ago.


In our family, I am the planner, especially when it comes to travel. Even though it takes a lot of hours, I enjoy it. I enjoy the tradeoff of doing the work so I can arrange for the travel that I most want. This was a complicated trip, since we not only had international travel with children, but we also had life planning to attend. Meetings to set up. Tours to take. And while 99% of my planning was executed flawlessly, I had one small hiccup. When we finally arrived to the rental car lot (roughly 12 hours and two flights after waking up at 2:30am), I realized I had left my driver’s license at home. My license, which always stays in my wallet, had been removed from my wallet. By me. The day before we left. So that I could bring it to the nearby community beach as ID for our annual summer membership. I knew exactly where it was, sitting in a board short pocket in my bedroom hamper. That information was not especially useful at the current juncture. Kristyn was going to have to be our driver.

I dreaded breaking this news to her. I don’t think it’s most people’s idea of a good time to figure out driving in a foreign country. I felt bad to be burdening her with this responsibility. But it turned out to have the best silver lining ever, because there was actually something more stressful than driving around potholes and helmet-less cyclists biking on shoulder-less roads — handling the simultaneous navigation of those roads with spotty 2G cellular data and the management of two tired, hungry, hot, and curious children. Now that was some sweaty work!

Kristyn has already called “dibs” on driving next time.


I thought I would be writing nonstop while we were in Costa Rica this week. Writing down notes about the location and school. Journaling until my hand cramped up from all the inspiration I was feeling. Freewriting incessantly from my creative synapses firing. Instead, I barely wrote anything. I lived. I swam. I cooked. I laughed. If you don’t spend part of your life just living it, you have nothing to write about.

Choosing a Life of Mindfulness, Authenticity, and Less, and Letting Go of the Culture of More

It’s official! As of yesterday, I am no longer an employee.
I am now simply an untethered, wandering organism of the planet. After 7.5 satisfying years selling TV and Digital advertising for KARE 11, and after a total of 15 years selling advertising for a living, I’m getting out of the game.
  • Because I am accepting that what I have is, for now, enough.
  • Because life is too short and can end at any moment.
  • Because life is made up of chapters, and a new chapter is starting right now.
  • Because all my children want me to do right now is play with them.
  • Because I don’t believe in striving for more, more, more, just for the sake of having more.
  • Because I want to do more to make the world a better place for future generations.
  • Because I believe in listening closely to and trusting my instinct.
  • Because there is value in living slowly.
  • Because times change, and I’m not the same person I was when I was in my late teens and early 20’s and chose Marketing and Sales as my career path. 
  • Because, and let’s just be honest here, do any of us really believe deep down that we need *more* TV commercials in our lives?
Ok, so… What now?
Along with my partner, I am embarking on a 2-year mini-retirement. A sabbatical. A reshuffling of life’s typical timeline, where, as opposed to allocating all my retirement years to 65+, I am time-shifting two of those years to right now. Exactly what we’ll do with this time, and when, is largely unknown. What we do know is that we are going to attempt to strip our lives down to the essentials and reassess, from the ground up, how we want to live our lives.
What else do we know?
We know that in summer of 2023, our plan is to move to the beautiful country of Costa Rica, indefinitely. This gives us a little over one year to take all the necessary steps to get us from Twin Cities suburbs to Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste. It’s exciting, it’s overwhelming, it’s a dream, it’s a wild and crazy adventure that I’m feeling all the feelings about, and I’m thrilled to be able to share our plan with the world!
How am I able to do this?
I freely admit I am a beneficiary of privilege. I’m a white man in America. I come from a supportive family. Things have generally been working out for me. But I do believe that taking a break, even just a small break, from the minutiae of Corporate America is viable for more than just the super-rich.
My process has mainly involved asking myself hard questions in a journal and not walking away until I’d written down some answers. Questions like, “How much is enough?” and “What do I value above all else?” and “What visions do I embrace?” It was in the reflective process of answering tough questions like these that I realized I value the simple, fundamental things life has to offer, many of which don’t require material wealth, like: spending time with loved ones, being out in nature, exercising, cooking a nutritious and scrumptious meal from scratch, meditating, and creating stuff. When you value low-cost/no-cost activities, you don’t need as much.
The consumerist culture we live in is designed to convince us we have many more “needs” than we actually do. Part of my quest is to shed wanting and embrace a mindful, minimalist life.
What’s the Goal?
One of my top priorities for this time is to put my privilege to better use, to harness and hone my true inner super powers to unleash their maximum value for the benefit of humanity. My intent and hope is that the world sees a net payoff by me pointing my best strengths to the things I care about and value most.
Also, my partner and I believe that spending time as a resident of another country will be an informative, enlightening, and enriching experience for ourselves and our children. There are ways to live a great life that are different from the “standard suburban America lifestyle,” and we want our family to gain this perspective. We plan to do our best to learn the culture of Costa Rica, honor the land and its people, and foster a strong connection with our new community. 
What else is on the top of the priority list for the next few months?
  • Declutter (physically and mentally). Strip away all but the essentials. 
  • Live each moment as mindfully as possible, being present in that moment and feeling grateful to be alive to experience it (even if that moment is washing dishes).
  • Practice high-value activities, which for me are things like: hiking, learning Spanish, playing volleyball, running, cooking, and creative projects (music, writing, podcasting).
  • Invest time and emotions into my relationships with family and friends. When I’m going to bed at night, if I’ve spent quality time with loved ones at some point during the day, it feels like I’m closing out a high-value day. I want more high-value days! And the days feel even juicier when I’ve opened up, been vulnerable, and gotten into my feelings with someone I care about, so… more of this too! 
  • Develop consistent practices that align with my values and bring me joy, excitement, and contentment. Daily or weekly practices of meditation, Spanish, guitar, piano, exercise, and others. These practices will compound over time to bring me to a new state I could not achieve without a steady commitment. It will take some trial and some more error to hone the balance of practices that feels right, but then again, it’s an ever-evolving journey that will shift over time, so trick is to also practice tuning in to my mind, body, and spirit to hear what they need. 
  • Regularly ask myself, “What would truly excite me right now?” And then do it. 
I’ll be publishing more about this journey in the days and months ahead. I look forward to sharing it with you.
“The formula of happiness and success is just being actually yourself, in the most vivid possible way you can.” – Meryl Streep


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