Not Working is Hard Work

Green iguana on lounge chair

What do you do all day if you don’t have to work? Don’t you get bored? I think that’s the point. It’s good to have nothing to do every once in a while. I only had a couple of goals when I retired. One was to play in the ocean. Sigh. The other was to read all the books. All of them! I even got a water-resistant eReader so I could read in the pool!

Even without work to fill my days, I still have plenty to do. I have this blog, which is turning out to be more fun than I expected. It gives me a reason to take pictures. Some people are really into taking photos. I just am not, so I’m glad I have something to motivate me. I still barely take my phone anywhere. I rely on friends for most things photogenic.

Sunset over Coco Beach
Playa del Coco, Costa Rica has the best sunsets. I try to walk down to the beach most evenings.

I am not on vacation… but it feels like it

I keep thinking I am on vacation and will be back in Seattle soon to see my friends and family. I miss everyone so much. But I won’t be back for a while. That is such a weird feeling. It’s nice to see peeps on social media, but it’s just not the same. I am very grateful for video chats. Those help a lot.

I still have to do all the medical things that I would do in the States. I need regular dental cleanings. I’m sure all need dermatology care as some point. I also need to get another colonoscopy (the prep is the worst!). All this takes time to research for care providers in the location where I will be. I still don’t know about costs or quality yet. It’s an adventure! I’ll let you know how it goes.

Besides medical research, I spend a lot of time searching for places to go next. This is a lot of fun, but stressful. I have to afford the places I stay. That obviously includes rent, but also getting there and getting around while there. I save a lot of money by not renting a car. Without a vehicle, the town needs to be walkable to grocery stores, beaches, and fun restaurants. I am learning a ton from all my fellow travelers along my journey.

But I want to go into the ocean!

I had grand plans of swimming in the ocean every day. It’s fun and really great mental and physical therapy. However, I had sargassum in Belize and red tide in Costa Rica so no ocean swimming for me. Yet. Luckily, I have the best pool ever here! My skin doesn’t like the pool water as much as ocean water, but it’s still really nice to swim. Without kids peeing in the pool, there is no chlorine smell. It’s lovely.

Mrs. ItchyFeet reading by the pool
Can you spot the green iguana!?! This is my favorite pastime. Reading by the pool and watching all the critters.

The other great thing about the pool is that it is a wonderful outdoor space to gather with fellow humans. I have met some truly fabulous people here. Thanks to my Seattle running/drinking groups, I have gotten good at just chatting it up with strangers. It’s fascinating to hear their stories. Where they are from. Where they’ve been and where they’re going. One couple I met turned us on to the Dominican Republic, and now that’s where I am heading after Mexico!

I spend an enormous part of my day hanging out by the pool. I drink coffee, read books (all the books!), swim, chat with people, drink rum, watch critters in the mango trees. It’s lovely and rarely ever boring. I know I am not on vacation, but sometimes it feels like I am. Right now I’m tippity-tapping away on my tablet by the pool while a thunderstorm slowly moves in. Life is good.

I don’t eat out much

A lot of time and effort goes into meals. I have to decide what to cook with the ingredients I can get in this location. The grocery stores are a couple of kilometers away (more because I like to walk along the beach!). Go in the morning or it’s just too hot, but not too early because then they can’t sell you alcohol. Timing is everything. Then to the pool to cool off!

Monkey paw print in the sand
This is a paw print from a howler monkey! I’m not sure what they were doing on the beach, but cool to find.

I hide out in the apartment during the hottest part of the day. It’s a good time for lunch and to prep everything for dinner. You don’t want to cook much as the stove produces a lot of heat. It’s better to cook in the evening when it’s cooler and I open up the apartment. Plus, cooking is always better with a beverage.

It saves money to eat at home and then I have leftovers for lunch the next day. Plus, I use less salt than most restaurants and I don’t have to worry about anyone adding a pinch of gluten to the sauce. Both of which contribute to achieving nice solid poops.

Broken sacks of meat

With my neck issues from an old bicycle accident, there are a lot of activities that I just can’t do. There are really great beaches all around me. The red tide is not so bad at some of them, so I have heard. However, riding in vehicles is painful. I try to keep those to a minimum. I haven’t been in a vehicle in months and it’s been lovely.

There are a lot of tours that I just can’t do. I used to do those fun zip-line tours. I love those! I’m fearful of heights, but still love the adventure of it all. No more zip-lines for me because of my neck injury. I tried a waterfall tour, but that was just too strenuous for my broken meat sack.

I am really hoping to do some snorkeling once I finally make it to a location where the ocean is healthy. Boat tours can find places where the ocean looks good. However, boat rides can be just as painful as car rides. That bouncing up and down is really hard on the spine. Though, once in the water, it’s all free floating.

Mrs. ItchyFeet under pink flowers
My grandfather gave me this hat on a camping trip to the Ozarks when I was about 20 years old. He got it on a trip to Costa Rica. I thought it would be fun to bring it back!

I discovered YouTube

So I always knew that YouTube existed because I would use it to get videos of how to fix crap around the house. Videos on fixing a leaky faucet. How to paint tile. How to level concrete. Cutting in while painting. Caulking 101. Do It Yourself videos are boring but very useful.

Did you know YouTube has videos for entertainment!?! I didn’t! Well, I found out and fell down a YouTube rabbit hole, hard. All the YouTubes! I found funny ones and news ones and ones where they find stuff underwater with metal detectors. So much fun! I’ve never had time to just enjoy the internet. That happened.

I have also been taking Spanish classes online. I think they are helping? Many of the countries I want to visit are Spanish speaking. Having at least a fundamental understanding of the language should help a lot. Plus, it’s fun to learn something new!

The bigger the house, the smaller the green space

This is the best way to see critters! I am living in a tiny apartment surrounded by vegetation. I have seen so many amazing species of animals (besides humans)… including loads of different bird species. Some are truly amazing, like the motmot and the frigate. Some are crazy loud, like the parrots (why are these pets?) and the white-throated magpie-jays. And some are just mundane like the morning dove.

Just last night, I looked out the back window while closing the blinds and saw two skunks. Skunks! They were so cute. They were way smaller than the Colorado kind, which makes sense because they don’t have to keep from freezing to death all winter. That skunk smell really smells similar to cannabis, so it was good to know that I hadn’t forgotten what actual skunk smells like.

I also finally saw bats. I love bats, but I go to bed so early that I rarely see them. After retirement, I’ve been sleeping in past sunrise. That makes it hard to glimpse these incredibly helpful creatures. They are like the super cute geckos I like. I’m just happy knowing they are out there eating those bugs! Get the bugs!

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  1. thanks for sharing. It reads like you’re rocking your adventure. We’re looking forward to sharing stories. You might really like it here. It’s always between 50-80 degrees,, usually 60’s-70’s never too hot or cold. Our ocean is clean but cold, you can be in it all day if you have the right wetsuit. Thailand also has good clean ocean which is warm, no wetsuit needed but like where you are it can get HOT.

  2. Mr. ItchyFeet

    Just wait until she discovers Twitter or Reddit… I am NOT setting up her Insta!

  3. What great motmots!!!
    I’m really enjoying your blog.

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