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how we planned this trip.

Costa Rica_Jan 2016

We stepped foot on this beach and my daughter said, “It’s like we never left.”

After a week of visiting our favourite haunts, re-connecting with friends, and even going back to the same little store where boogie boards are sold at a bargain, we are settled in.

What made us choose to come back to the same beach in the same town in the same country?

When my husband and I start planning a trip, we ask ourselves a few questions:

How long can we go for?

When is the best time for him to work online totally (i.e. no teaching or speaking gigs)?

What is our intention for the trip?

These conversations are between the two of us.  We never consult the kids.  Sometimes we don’t even tell them about shorter trips until the week before.  Not only is the surprise element fun but there are less questions that need to be addressed for months on end prior to the trip.

I take into account who they are right now.  I look at their vision boards.  We talk about our travel dreams and what interests them.  For example, I knew how they were disappointed that they didn’t get to surf for a longer period of time last year.  We talked about how it would be great if they could spend most of their time surfing the next time we came here.

Last year we spent a month here.  We returned to our home right in the middle of February, in fact, right in the middle of a cold snap.  It was a shock to our bodies and our minds.  This year, if we were to go away again, we wanted to make sure we came back in the spring.  Because Ever-Patient works online, we are able to stay for 2 months while still being able to afford our house back home.

This year we wanted to go away again for many reasons.  One reason was to spend a lot of family time together before my eldest daughter embarked on her own travel journey.  Another reason was that travelling for an extended period of time always reminds us of what is truly essential.  Wherever we went, our intention was to slow down, disconnect with technology, and spend lots of time together just living somewhere else where normal the constraints of scheduling don’t apply so much.

And wherever we decided, I knew that all the places we haven’t been to yet will still be there waiting for us when the time is right.

We knew that we wanted to come back to Costa Rica but we weren’t sure if we wanted to come back to the same little town.  Why Costa Rica?  Because flight costs are a consideration and we were already acquainted with the country.  My children, especially my eldest, are learning Spanish and we wanted to be able to continue to learn the language abroad.

A tip:  If you have a large family, use a travel agent.  We use my husband’s aunt and we asked her to keep an eye out on seat sales for Costa Rica.  A sale for direct flights popped up in the summer with an amazing price and we jumped on it.  We still weren’t sure where we were headed in Costa Rica but we now had a flight.

With a large family, you really can’t wing it with travelling.  Rental cars, homes, and flights book up fast. We were on the look out for deals since early summer.

As soon as we booked the flight, we were all in.  That was it. Without hesitation or overanalyzing, we were booked for a 2 month trip.  We didn’t know where we would actually stay yet but I had faith that we would find a place.  We had to.  We were flying in on January 25, 2016 and leaving on March 23, 2016.

I started to plan the trip and research different places.  As I researched, I realized that we would be starting from scratch.  If our intention was just to live normally without wasting time with a learning curve again then it would make sense to simply return to the town we already were comfortable in.

By late summer, we decided to return to the same town we visited last year.  Now was the challenging part:  finding a house that fit our family on our budget.  No one will rent us a 6 person house so we have to find a house that sleeps at least 8 people which really isn’t that cheap wherever you go but because of the relationships we cultivated last year, my husband decided to inquire about a house that wasn’t actually a rental.

We were able to rent it within our budget and it sleeps 8 people and it is right on the property that we lived on last year and it is close to the beach.

CR2016_The house

How do we justify the cost?  That deserves a whole post in and of itself.  As I thought about the answer to this, I read a friend’s amazing inaugural blog post and she described the answer for me.  We can either choose to feel guilty for spending this money now or simply feel gratitude for being able to have the money to even do it at this moment.  It comes down to personal choice.

So here we are in almost the exact same place that we were in last year.  To my kids, it feels like we never left.  To the friends we are seeing again, they seem to think that we were only there a few months ago.  In fact, one person emphatically denied that it had been a year since we had been there!

He said, “This place is a like a bubble.  Time stops.  It feels like we saw you yesterday.  Not much has changed.  But we are happy you are back.”

Yes, so are we.

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