Why I Moved My Family from the US to a Remote Location in Costa RicaJuly 6, 2020 | By Leah Freeman-Haskin
For Alexis O’Reilly, life in Ohio did not revolve around what was most important to her and her family. Her husband worked in the financial markets where he followed anxiety-provoking news 24/7. After some time, this negative energy wore on the entire family and they decided it was time to make a change. The racial tension in the United States also took on a different meaning after they had a child. They always thought that starting a family would deter them from moving abroad, but it ended up being a motivating factor in their decision to leave Ohio for the rugged shores of Costa Rica. Although it was a difficult decision deciding to move abroad, away from the support of their family, it was a necessary step in improving their health.
I connect with Alexis to learn more about her motivations, experiences, and new online business.
Why did you choose Costa Rica?
We started traveling to Nosara, Costa Rica in 2008, and fell in love with the holistic, surfer, yoga, hippie vibe of the town. Whenever we left Costa Rica to return to the United States, we always felt healthier than when we arrived. When it came time to move, Costa Rica was the only place we considered. At the time, our son was two and we knew about Del Mar Academy, a Montessori school in the Nosara Jungle, that had families represented from over 25 countries around the globe. We also knew that nature heals, and it was everywhere!
What has been the biggest change in your new lifestyle in Costa Rica versus in the States?
The biggest change has been seeing the sunshine every day. Ohio has a lot of grey days and I took daily Vitamin D supplements; living in Costa Rica, I get Vitamin D from the sun. Living in this culture and environment makes people generally happier and more relaxed. In the states, we would occasionally take hikes and go to the park, but in Costa Rica being outside is a way of life. We play in the ocean and watch sunsets as often as we can.
I wake to the sound of howler monkeys in the trees outside and I take a three-mile hike on a mountain to start my day. During the hike, I listen to podcasts until I get to the top, where I sit and meditate overlooking the ocean. This quiet time each day helps clear my head and creates an hour of uninterrupted mindfulness. I work harder than ever, but now I do it energized and rest peacefully afterward.
Do you feel you could have launched your current business in the States or was the move necessary for this new path?
I needed to be surrounded by nature and a more holistic environment in order to find the path of health and wellness coaching. The return to basics created the space necessary to fill myself up with new interests and possibilities; it was an unexpected gift resulting from decluttering my mind and our lives. I feel blessed that my practice can be done online from anywhere in the world. Living in a Blue Zone introduced me to the benefits of plant medicine. I became interested in clean beauty and began clearing my house of as many toxins as I could.
Currently, I offer relocation consulting programs. When clients have thoughts of moving abroad but do not know where to begin, I help them in their journey; navigating the logistics of a move including, arranging school tours, realtor introductions, and figuring out what to do with all your “stuff.” Clients’ biggest fear is leaving behind a job, but COVID-19 has proven that most work can be done remotely.
The prospect of becoming an expat usually seems daunting at first; this program is often done in conjunction with my Integrative Wellness Program. There are usually fears standing in the way of the lives my clients want to lead as well as actionable changes that need to be made. This is never the easiest decision to make, but I can say that it has been more rewarding than I ever imagined, and I want to help others who feel the calling.
In early 2021, I will be opening a multi-purpose facility in Costa Rica from where I will procure my herbal and botanical ingredients onsite, while hosting retreats in partnership with plant medicine practitioners and physical and mental wellness professionals.