I had just returned from Costa Rica when I read her book, Happier Than A Billionaire, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Nadine humorously captures the quirks of living in Costa Rica and will have you dreaming of going there with her tales of the beautiful moments she has shared with her husband, Rob.
In this interview, she tells of what it was like to move to Costa Rica, what the cost of living is like, and she gives advice about making the journey.
While I was working back in the states, I stopped every morning at a gas station to get a cup of coffee. We were a sorry-looking lot, stumbling around like a scene from Night Of The Living Dead. I could practically hear my fellow zombies moaning in the Krispy Kreme aisle. It was just a matter of time be we all turned and ate each other’s faces off. Mornings don’t feel the same here. Everyone looks happy.-Nadine Hays Pisani
1. Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from Linden, New Jersey. Known for its oil refinery and proximity to Rahway State Penitentiary.
2. Which part of Costa Rica are you living now?
I’m living in Huacas, Costa Rica. No oil refineries or prisons in sight.
3. How long have you lived in Costa Rica and how long are you planning to stay?
I’ve lived in Costa Rica for seven years and positively love it. I find the lifestyle is perfect for me and would like to spend many more years exploring the country.
4. Why did you move to Costa Rica and what do you do?
I’ve moved to Costa Rica for no other reason than to get out of the rat race. I worked too much and played too little. Now there are no rats, or races, and I get to play all day.
5. How did you find the transition to living in Costa Rica?
Moving is always stressful, but when you decide to move to a foreign country it can be quite the transition. But I made sure to come with the right attitude. I knew there would be some tough times so I kept a good sense of humor throughout. If you can do that, then you can live anywhere and be happy.
6. Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialize with other expats?
I have expat and Costa Rican friends alike. As long as you are not complaining, I’ll be friends with you too.
7. What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats? What do you enjoy most about living there?
Costa Rica is a playground, a great place to get outside and have fun. I would suggest for people to explore the country and find what place is best suited for you. Some love the mountains and hiking, others love the beach and ocean. It’s important to find the right place.
8. How does the cost of living in Costa Rica compare to the US (can you give some numbers for rents or home prices, medical care, food)?
Cost of living varies greatly. I know people who live on $3000 a month and others on $800 a month. It all depends on your lifestyle. I’ve learned that if you eat a lot of fresh produce, you cut down on your eating expenses greatly. Imported goods cost twice as much as they did in the states, so it’s important to try to find alternatives to them.
Rents and lots vary a lot as well. There is a development down the street named Mar Vista where lots start at $150,000. There are condominiums going for $125,000. Just like the United States, real estate varies depending on where you want to live.
9. What negatives, if any, are there to living here? What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
I can’t say there have been negatives living here. I would like to have all my utilities working at once, but what looks on the outside as an aggravation just turns into a good life lesson. I’ve never appreciated water like I do now, and when it come running out of the tap after I didn’t have it for two days straight, I’m happier than I ever was buying an Ann Taylor blouse. And I REALLY loved Ann Taylor.
10. Are you just making money from your books or do you have another business that you run?
The Happier Than A Billionaire series has blessed me with the gift of being a writer full-time. If someone were to tell me that I’d go from being a chiropractor to writing about my husband and I in Costa Rica, I would not have believed them. I love my life and found the perfect job.
I used to believe there was no such thing as a perfect job, but that’s untrue. When you get up to do something everyday, and not care about the money, then you definitely found something you are passionate about. I’ll keep writing, and if I’m lucky, others will keep reading.
11. If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
My next book, The Escape Manual, is coming out soon. It is the “how to” on moving to Costa Rica, from buying a car to getting residency, and lots of funny stories in between. I think if anyone plans to move here, it’s the perfect book to pick up. On the surface it can sound so daunting, selling everything and moving abroad. But the truth is there is a lot of humor and self-reflection in the process as well. I am not
the same stressed out woman I was when I moved here. Costa Rica has taught me to slow down, look around, and enjoy your life while there is still breath in your lungs. If that sounds like something you are looking for, well… welcome to Costa Rica.
It’s not just about moving to Costa Rica, it’s about understanding it’s never to late to pursue a happier life.-Nadine Hays Pisani
You can follow Nadine on her blog, Happier Than A Billionaire, and you can buy her books by clicking on the links below. Pura Vida!
I am always looking for the perfect escape, the perfect paradise, the kind of place that tosses your cares into the sea. Fortunately, I have discovered many! I created this site to show you where to go and how to get there. My goal is to show you that Paradise is only a plane ticket (or boat ride) away. I have inspired many others to travel and to create a better life. I am available for inspirational speaking, coaching, writing, travel planning, and photography.
This is a great interview. Totally understand the wishing all utilities would work at the same time! I live in Central America too and it seems like there is always one or more of them out 🙂
I already am 🙂
Great interview! It’s always interesting to learn a little bit about the story of those who travel, moved abroad, and found something they really love in life. Thanks for sharing!
She has the life! I’ve always been envious of those who pick up and leave for an exotic location. Cheers to her! 🙂