What the hell are we doing?

Why would a Pittsburgh couple in their late fifties/early sixties think of giving away all possessions and consider moving to a foreign country? Why would they give up all this awesome American exceptionalism for strange languages, funny money, and stodgy foreign bureaucracy? Why leave behind family and friends and embark on a journey into such an unknown future? All valid questions.

The contemplative monk Thomas Merton once said, “What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.” Translation: the grass is not greener over the fence; it just looks greener at this low angle. (This has been proven!) Moving halfway around the world will not make your problems go away; you will only take them with you if you don’t deal with them.

We are not considering this move because we are in search of paradise or a more fulfilling life, and we are not running away from disappointing circumstances. Our lives are in a good place. If anything, our inward spiritual journeys have created a hunger to experience new cultures and people that we could not experience here in the US. We are tired of the material and economic focus of the American experience and yearn for a simpler and more laid-back existence. Granted, there are places in the US where this may be found, but it can also be found abroad and for a fraction of the U.S. cost of living.

We are well-aware that given the current global health realities, we many not be going anywhere for several years. This blog will be a way for me to process our decisions of where to go, when to go, how to go, and, ultimately, whether to go. It’s all just a pipe dream at this point. It is also my hope that by blogging about our process, we will meet others who are considering the same leap and perhaps learn from those who have already done so. I really look forward to forming some bonds of community around this decision.

So let us gather as much knowledge and wisdom as is available and approach the abyss together. As D. H. Lawrence said, “Life is a traveling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken.”

Published by Tom Cox

Tom & Jean, a couple of contemplative ex-pats from Pittsburgh, shed all their earthly belongings and move to Costa Rica. What could possibly go wrong?

One thought on “What the hell are we doing?

  1. Sorta/kinda have a similar dream. For a lot of years I had it set in my head that we were going to retire to southern Spain. We fell in love with it and have visited several times. Last year was the trip to see if we really wanted to do this thing and I came back wondering if I really want to do it. I speak Spanish, hubby does not. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to be the only communicator. you know, to set up utilities, talk to landlords, etc. I’m also not sure I want to leave our daughter. And during last year’s trip I was suffering from injured shoulders so it wasn’t the best trip due to that. We were going to have a “do over” this year and while we got all our money back from the deposit we had put down…….I really wanted to be in Spain. But the pandemic being what it is, it obviously wasn’t in the stars. Anyway, still cogitating what we’re going to do so would be interesting to read about your journey too. Nice to meet you!


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