Saying Goodbye with Mixed Emotions


There comes a time when change is necessary.

Fran and I have reached that point.

Our Rationale...

It was just over five years ago, Fran and I pulled the plug on our life in the U.S. and moved to Costa Rica.  For us it was a matter of financial survival and the desire for a little adventure.  Having lost our jobs, the exorbitant cost of healthcare and its associated insurances forced us into making the decision to live our life offshore.

As you know, we did not come to this decision based on the flip of a coin.  Our research was extensive and that paid off handsomely given the fact that we did not experience many of the problems other expats have encountered. 

Over the last five + years we have met many people who wanted to (or actually did) retire here.  Some were so sure of their decision they even made plans for their eventual "final passage" to the next world.  Fran and I (on the other hand) never had any intentions of dying in Costa Rica.  It was always our plan to re-evaluate our life when we became eligible for Medicare.

However, since we made our initial plans back in 2008, changes to the United States' healthcare system have made it significantly more affordable for us to reconsider an earlier repatriation. 

So there you have it... our rationale for making the decision to return to the U.S..  But what you don't know is the whole story and that's what this article is all about.

Silencing The Rumors, Lies and Bullshit

There isn't a day that goes by we don't hear stories from friends and neighbors about what goes on in our little community.  However, most of what we hear is conjecture, rumor, bullshit (or sometimes) vitriolic lies. 

I am convinced that by now the rumor mill has already started and people are beginning to speculate, postulate and formulate why Andy and Fran are moving back to the States.  Some will say that we just couldn't cut it here... "we didn't have what it takes to survive and thrive in the land of Pura Vida."  The best story I've heard thus far has us being deported for operating an illegal B&B and tour business.

Let me set the record straight.  There are several reasons we decided to return home and none of them involve the above mentioned bullshit.

A friend recently made a comment to Fran when she said, "Don't take this wrong but is there something wrong with Andy?  He seems to be much more negative than usual."  At first I laughed when I heard this but then in retrospect she was right, I have been more negative (than usual).  I can see it in my newsletter writings, in my conversations and especially in the Facebook advice I give when answering questions about Costa Rica.   

While Fran and I have always tried to provide honest and straight forward information to anybody inquiring about Costa Rica, I admit recently my replies seem to have drifted to emphasizing the negative as opposed to a more balanced response.  I think I can chalk that up to the fact that (for me) maybe the "honeymoon" is over.

It All Boils Down To Healthcare...

Healthcare was the primary reason we left the US and healthcare is the reason we are returning for we have become disillusioned with the quality of the medical care we are receiving here in Guanacaste.  As I have previously written, medical quality is totally dependent on where you live

Unfortunately, Fran suffers from a chronic eye disorder called Uveitis that causes an issue called macula edema.  If not properly and aggressively treated, the results can be devastating.  Fran and I both agree that the care and attention she would receive in the States would be more up to date than what she is currently receiving in Costa Rica. 

The straw that broke the camels back occurred recently when her "eye specialist" changed her medication to something that "may" work better.  Sounding more encouraging, we took the script and went to get it filled at our local farmacia.  We were told that cyclosporine is NOT AVAILABLE anywhere in Costa Rica.  But the real question is, why would a medical specialist prescribe a medicine that is not available in their country?  This is what really drives me nuts about the practice of medicine here.


There are times for one to be tolerant. 

There are times to smile and say Pura Vida. 

There are times you say "it is what it is." 

But one thing for certain is... you don't fuck around with your eyesight! 


In a nutshell, that is the main reason we have decided to leave.  Secondary reasons include overall cost of living expenses are nearly on a par with the US, emergency services such as Police, Fire and EMS are virtually non-existent.  And we really want a closer relationship with family.

Parting Can Be Such Sweet Sorrow...

We are leaving here with mixed emotions.  You see, we really like our life in Costa Rica. The lifestyle we have built for ourselves will be difficult (if not impossible) to recreate back in the States.  Being able to go the beach any day we want, at any time we want and do (pretty much) anything we want without fear of repercussion, is a sense of freedom and liberty we can not replicate back home. 

We love the friendships we have made with our Tico neighbors.  The adventure of communicating in a second language, while challenging at times, has been fun and very rewarding.  Simply put our life is good but not complete.

So please disregard any bullshit you hear from people that portend to know WHY we have decided to return home.  Anybody who says otherwise is an ill informed idiot who gets off on spreading shit about others.

Our Next Port of Call Is...

We love our life here in Costa Rica.  But as a gringo, we always seem to want it all.  In our case, we want to live the Pura Vida lifestyle, but do so from a place where we have better healthcare opportunities.  Is that possible?  If so where?

Our basic requirements are fairly simple... we want to be close to the ocean and beaches.  Warm weather is paramount.  If I never have to shovel snow for the rest of my life I would die a happy man.  Of course I'd love to live in Southern California, in fact places like Laguna and Dana Point gives me the equivalent of a geographical boner.  But moving there would cost us 7-10 times what our current costs are. 

We ruled out the northern Gulf coast of Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, because (for our taste) that area seems to NOT coincide (socially) with what we would like.  We are focusing on Florida's Central Gulf coast between Sarasota and Englewood, specifically the Venice area. 

While home ownership is not out of the question, we will adhere strictly to the advise we give to others when they are looking to relocate to Costa Rica... RENT BEFORE YOU BUY

It appears that what we want out of life is achievable, but like everything in life, some concessions will need to be made.  The key for us is we need a town that can be easily navigated by bike as well as on foot.  And since Fran is a zealot when it comes to independence, given the fact that her eyesight may not improve, her biggest fear is that she will be dependent on me to chauffer her everywhere... a.k.a "Driving Miss Daisy."


The Logistics Of Bailing...

We came to Costa Rica with a half filled 20 foot container and hope to return with less than 2 pallets.  We have no plans to bring home any big items such as furniture, kitchen appliances or TVs.  It is actually cheaper to replace them once we are established.  However, important things like computers and their associated software will come back. Most everything goes, so be on the lookout for many upcoming For Sale notices. 

Our biggest item for sale will be our car, a 2007 Daihatsu Terrio, attractively priced at $11,000.   The only thing we will ask of the buyer is to allow us to hold on to the car until we are finally ready to leave.

Our return dates are not yet chiseled in stone but August 1st. is looking to be our targeted departure date.  The biggest challenge facing us will be the transfer of our dogs Úpe and Ashka.  The time of year coupled with ground temperatures are the biggest challenges facing us in arranging for their safe and timely departure.  Thankfully, with the help of a few close friends, we found a local cargo company, affiliated with Avianca Airlines.  For a flat fee of $750, they will pick up both dogs from our house and take them to San Jose, four hours away.  From there, they will be checked through Costa Rican Customs and shipped in an air-conditioned cargo plane to Miami.  Once in Miami, they will be cleared through US Customs.  Fran and I will travel on a different flight arriving a day ahead of the dogs.  All we need to do is collect them from the cargo company. 

Again, all the misinformation you hear about transporting animals is just that... a load of CRAP.  By the way, there will be a Boomers Offshore Newsletter article on this topic after all is said and done.

Current Timeline...

Now that the cat is out of the bag, we can get on with our life.  Life for us in not going to change significantly.  We will still be hanging out at the beach with the "girls" sucking down a few cold beers whenever the opportunity arises.  I will still be hosting three more Open Mic Nites at Robertos (April 24, May 8 and May 22) and Franny will still be sea kayaking.

In June, we will be sailing the British Virgin Islands for a week and then off to Florida to find a place to live, buy a car, apply for health insurance and all the other minutiae needed to start a new life.

Upon our return on June 24, it's going to be "balls to the wall" selling stuff, packing, shipping etc.

The Future Of Boomers Offshore...

When we started our little adventure we chose the name Boomers Offshore for a specific reason.  We are Baby Boomers seeking an offshore adventure.  We did not want to be pigeonholed as Andy and Fran in Costa Rica because we knew things would probably change.  Boomers Offshore will continue to survive and we will continue to publish articles that both substantiate and challenge the norm. 

Repatriation brings with it new challenges and hopefully you will be interested in reading (and viewing videos) about those subjects.  When we came to Costa Rica, we shed many of our old destructive ways and even shed a bunch of weight.  But returning to the place of our transgressions puts us squarely in the middle of temptation heaven.  We can't cave in and regress to the way things were.  Staying in the limelight by continuing to publish Boomers Offshore forces us into maintaining our fight to indulge in the excesses of the US

Although we may not be writing about Costa Rica, hell for all I know it might be the Ukraine!  Regardless of where we are, you can count on me and Fran on pontificating about something. 

In closing...

To all our friends, we value your friendship. To those who felt Boomers Offshore was offensive, or controversial . . . we always tried to be unbiased and honest in expressing our opinions. We will remain so as Boomers Offshore will continue to exist as we venture into the new.

We look forward to hopefully seeing many of you before we leave and in the years to come. It has been a terrific journey so far.

See you on the other side!


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