Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Our Big Plans for 2013

Happy New Year, all! 2012 was a wonderful year for us. Really wonderful, in fact, a dream-come-true kind of year. We left our professional jobs in January and made the transition to "underemployment," or working below our expected employment potential. Instead of long hours, constant stress, and never-ending business travel, we traded our big fat paychecks for a big fat lifestyle. Now we feel like we're living our full life potential.

One of 2012's biggest lessons has been realizing that we can successfully live a frugal, nomadic lifestyle. It's actually easier than we originally thought; most days, it feels downright normal. It might seem like we're on permanent vacation (and compared to being chained to a desk, I guess we are), but much of our time is spent doing pretty uneventful things, like taking dogs for a walk, cooking dinner, grocery shopping, and reading books. It might be more fair to compare our lifestyle to semi-retirement than a vacation.

Coming back to the States after 7 months of traveling has been an interesting experience for us. Even though we've both lived in Phoenix for 10+ years, it didn't feel as much like home as we had anticipated. Sure, we know how to get around, have a great network of friends and family, and are familiar with the local hangouts, but it doesn't feel like we belong here any more than a "foreign" country. This visit has been another wonderful chapter in our nomadic journey, which is still very much alive and kicking.

Which brings me to some exciting news: our plans for 2013! It's going to be an eventful year for us, starting next week, when we board a plane for COSTA RICA!

But, wait, there's more... we're also EXPECTING A BABY! Yes, you read that right. I'm currently 31 weeks pregnant with a little boy.

If you count back the weeks, you might be surprised to learn that I've been pregnant since June. In other words, I've been pregnant almost the entire time that we've been traveling. Remember that doctor's visit in France? That was actually my first ultrasound appointment. Since that time, I've been receiving exceptional medical care all around the world, including France and South Africa.

We have decided that, rather than staying here in the United States, we would like our son to be born in Costa Rica. There are several reasons for this. First, Costa Rica is a well-known medical tourism destination, offering affordable, high-quality care to norteamericanos. There are also immigration benefits to delivering in Costa Rica. Our son will be a dual Costa Rican/US citizen (due to jus soli, or "right of the soil") and Jim and I will be eligible for permanent residency. This opens up many opportunities for us, not only now, but also in the future. Lastly, Costa Rica is a lot closer to home than you might expect. It's only a 5-hour flight from Phoenix or from New York. They're on Central Standard Time. And, most importantly, Costa Rica has a large, established expat community that's already paved the way for newcomers. Would you believe that there's even a website for having a baby in Costa Rica?

So, friends, I'd like to propose a New Year's toast for 2013: may you be blessed with new adventures, fulfilling life experiences, and the courage to follow your heart and your dreams!