One of the Chapters in my wife Jen’s new book,  is titled, “Dreaming of 50 Cent Beer.” In that chapter our hero (yours truly) has his ah, ha moment when he learns that people actually live in foreign countries.

It’s not that I am dense, it just never occurred to me that living in a foreign country could be a solution to our dilemma. As I was surfing the internet one night, back in 2011, I came across a book which would plant the seed of our move to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica ChicaWorlds CheapestThe book, The World’s Cheapest Destinations by Tim Leffel, has since been updated and is in its fourth edition.

I was laying in bed on night reading this book and reading about 50 cent beers in Boquete, Panama and thinking, oh yah, I can do that. And really, this is the book that started me on the train of thought that moving abroad might be an option. Before reading this book my thought process was so much more ho, hum: buy a business… change jobs… move to a smaller town.. yada yada.

While I remember the book and its meaning to our move here, it wasn’t until yesterday, when I was reading through some travel blogs, that I was reminded of Tim Leffel and his book.

I try to read through a couple of blog posts a day, to see what other bloggers are blogging about, and I came across Nomadic Matt’s recent interview with, none other than, Tim Leffel. I loved the post and it brought back those memories of laying in bed and dreaming of 50 cent beer.

Here is the chapter from the book Costa Rica Chica, for your reading pleasure.


3. dreaming of 50 cent beer

Soon after Greg and I had started officially dating, Richard took me aside one day and said, “Jen, I want you to know, that of all my sons, Greg is the romantic one.”

I knew this. But now, after all these years, I really know that Greg is truly romantic – and kind, intuitive and, well, just a huge sweetheart.

As well as being romantic, my husband has always been a dreamer. Being a dreamer means you’re optimistic, always thinking of different things and new options – thinking for yourself and not just what someone taught you. Dreamers are usually very artistic and romantic, and Greg is all of these things.

Nobody is perfect, however, and we’ve had some trials and tribulations along the way, but I feel like we have something special that few people have. The older I get, the more I respect him. He makes me feel that I am truly the luckiest girl in the world.

Anyway (now that y’all feel warm and fuzzy), it is not unusual for Greg to tell me his dreams. And by dreams, I don’t mean the sleeping kind, but fully awake daytime dreams. I also have learned through the course of our marriage not to get too excited about these dreams or jump up and down and say, “Yes, that’s a great idea – let’s do that right away!” – because, trust me, he would take me at my word and be off implementing said dream in a heartbeat!

It’s not unusual for Greg to come home from work and start into a conversation right away with, “Jen, I’ve been thinking… ,” which is when I know to brace myself for a who-knows-what kind of dream. One time he was ready to quit his job and leave me for six months to hike the Appalachian Trail. Granted, that sounded pretty cool (I love hiking too), and he did ask me to come with him, but someone had to stay home and pay the bills. Luckily that dream faded away, and I wasn’t going to bring it up again. Another time he came home from work and told me all about his plan to quit his job and start a door-to-door mobile dry cleaning service. I was beginning to see a pattern here – all his ideas started with him quitting his job.

Greg and I are good for each other and tend to balance each other out. Sometimes I do go along with his spontaneity and dreams, and we have a blast. But more times than not we end up talking things through, the pros and the cons, and discover that the dream might be a good idea, but first, let’s see how things pan out and whether we really want to pursue it or not. In other words, maybe if we wait for a while, the dream will be forgotten.

One night, as we were lying in bed, each reading our own book, I asked Greg what he was reading.

He said, “Well, actually it’s an e-book by Tim Leffel called The World’s Cheapest Destinations. It’s quite interesting – about the best and cheapest places to live throughout the world.”

This didn’t faze me at all, knowing what a dreamer he is, but I proceeded to ask him the dutiful-wife question of why, and he told me, “I’ve been researching and reading different articles lately; and maybe, just maybe, this is my way out. Our way out. A way for us to retire early and not have to work… .”

I was perking up now. “Really? How could we possibly quit our jobs and not have to work? Not sure I’m following you.”

“I know it sounds odd,” he said, “but seriously, I think there is a way we could do it. But here’s the thing: we can’t do it in the United States. The taxes and healthcare are too outrageously expensive here.”

“Hmmmmmmm,” I replied (which is code for: ARE YOU CRAZY??).

Prior to this point, we had carefully thought through the possibility of Greg quitting his job and taking a job elsewhere or doing something different, but he felt like he would just be trading one stressful management job for another, and he wasn’t trained for any other type of industry. He would have to start all over again.

He had thought about starting his own business, but there is always a lot of start-up money needed for that, and also there is always a chance of it failing, as many first-time businesses do. That just seemed too risky at this point in our lives.

Hearing for the first time this “quit our jobs and move to a foreign country” from Greg, I treated it like just another one of his dreams that he is really into at the moment. I felt quite certain it would never come to fruition. I mean, come on! How could we quit our jobs and give up our income at this stage in our lives?

Just for grins, however, and because I didn’t want him to think I wasn’t taking him seriously, I asked him, “Okay, so where in the world are decent, cheap places to live?”

Greg replied, “It says here that you can get a 50-cent beer in Panama.”

“Oh, that’s a great reason, hon!” (code for: YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS).

Greg just smiled, ignored my sarcasm, and plugged on, “Look, it says Panama is friendly to Americans, ever since the U.S. finished building the Panama Canal in 1914. The form of currency is the U.S. dollar, and English is widely spoken, although Spanish is the main language. There is also Ecuador – I was just reading that rent and food are supposed to be very cheap there.”

“Hmmmmm,” I replied again (this time code for: YOU HONESTLY THINK WE COULD DO THIS?).

He told me to just sleep on it for a while.

So, I fell asleep that night dreaming of all the free time I would have from not spending forty-plus hours a week in my little cubicle.

Greg fell asleep dreaming of cheap beer.


Hasta Pronto,


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