An Interview with Lisa Valencia, filmed in October 2009
by Andy Brown of Boomer’s Offshore
I’m Lisa Valencia, a writer and Costa Rica guide who has lived in Costa Rica’s Caribbean since 2007.
I believe following your dreams and living life to the absolute fullest. I believe in giving without regard to what you get. I try to find the balance between being in the moment and planning for the future. I work on keeping judgment in abeyance. And I am thankful, grateful and appreciative of almost every little thing in every moment of life.
One of my greatest feats, since moving to Costa Rica has been that of learning to reinvent myself. In the USA I worked as a mural artist and an interior designer. I’ve continued my art work in Costa Rica, but only to a minor extent. To my own surprise my creativity took a turn to the literary, as I recounted my Costa Rica new life experiences to my friends. In September of 2009, I wrote a book about my first two years in Costa Rica, coming here as a woman alone. My book, “If She Can Do It, So Can I!” is available as an AUDIO BOOK an EBOOK and the paperback version is available from Amazon.
Then my love for literacy and language sparked another idea. I became certified to teach English as a second language and taught locally for a year. As my writing continued it stimulated more reinvention. Due to readers extensive inquiries about Costa Rica living, I developed a Guide Service and a Consultation Service for those interested in Costa Rica.
Most recently life has brought another new way to share my Costa Rica experiences and to reinvent myself. I am now the happy hostess of a sweet little guest house in the jungle. Although I carry on my guiding and consultation, my realm of service has extended to providing lodging at Hidden Jungle Beach House. It seems things have come full circle. My book was written to inspire others to believe in themselves and follow their dreams. Now I can help those who dream of travel to Costa Rica by providing guidance and an economical place to start their own adventure.
Click HERE to see where I live.
WHY DID I MOVE TO COSTA RICA? There’s more of my story below these photos.
Here are photos of some of my art work done in Costa Rica.
WHY I LEFT THE USA AND MOVED TO COSTA RICA
Many people ask me why I left the States and moved to Costa Rica. My reasons can be seen in my values and beliefs which are evident throughout my writing. However, to give you a more direct answer, I am publishing the letter that I sent out to friends and family when I decided to make the move. The letter below was written in March, 2007.
Hello My Friends,
I am writing this letter to you, the people in my life who know me and care, to tell you about a big change that is in the process of occurring in my life. I am moving to Costa Rica! I am setting a departure date goal of September this year.
As you may know, I developed an interest in traveling about three years ago. I was invited to visit Mexico with my friends Nancy and George. I loved it! I was drawn to the Latino culture and began to learn Spanish. My next opportunity was an invitation to travel to China, Tibet and Nepal. After seeing the simplicity of life in these countries, I came to feel very disenchanted with life in the United States. This was the beginning of a growing desire to live in a foreign country. Last winter I was invited to go sailing on the Pacific coast of Mexico. On the same trip, I traveled alone, by bus, to many, lovely, little Mexican coastal towns. By this time I knew that I wanted to live in a Spanish speaking country. I love the Latino’s passion for life, their food, music and dance and I love Mexico but I felt it was not the place for me. This year I wanted to share my travel experience with my kids. They are at the age when they will be forming the patterns of the rest of their lives. I wanted them to see that there is more out there in the world than we see here in the U.S. Christian (my son) suggested Costa Rica for surfing and it just happened that I knew someone there to connect with. My friends from here in Montana, Hatch and Kim, had moved to Costa Rica eighteen months before and were happy to help. The month I have just spent in Costa Rica appears to be the culmination of these three years experience.
There are many great things about The United States of America. I grew up with my hand on my heart pledging allegiance. I have lived all over this country and loved it’s many characteristics. I have seen the beauty of the land from Pennsylvania farm country to breathtaking views from the Rocky Mountains. I have appreciated the diversity of the people – the Italian, Jewish, Syrian and Irish who were my friends in Allentown, PA. and the Native American culture here in Montana. I am proud of the advances made by sincere, hard working citizens for human rights and racial and gender equality. Woody Guthrie is my hero, with his songs of support for union workers and his example of a free and independent human spirit. This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land brings tears to my eyes. At one time that was for pride and the belief that his words were true. Now it is for sadness that they are not. Woody sang songs of times during the Great Depression when people were forced to live with little material goods, when men rode the rails, “bums” traveling from town to town hopping on board the box cars. There was a rebellious individualism and a fierce drive for independence in his words. “Not Big Brother, The Boss or The Man – no one – is going to run my life and tell me what to do!” These are romantic ideas that seem to have fallen by the way side, prey to politics and greed.
Where is that individual now – that unique person in each of us? Look around and everywhere you see a huge consumerist eating machine. It tells you what to wear, what to do, what to think and look like, what to want and what to be. Thinking for ourselves is no longer necessary, in fact it is discouraged. Our educational system prefers conformity. If you rock the boat, thinking for yourself can prove to be anywhere from unhealthy to deadly dangerous. For some, that’s OK. There’s always the new car, bigger house, latest fashion. I am not impervious to this experience. It is tempting. Cool things are fun to have, but at what price? The conditioned desire for more stuff has put most North Americans in debt to the point where they are like hamsters running on a never ending wheel. And when you work that hard, who has time to notice our rights and freedoms being taken away, who has time to write their congressman, who has time to think? So while we are not looking, we are being conditioned and controlled by “Big Brother, The Boss, The Man.” While we, in this country are just working hard trying to get by, trying to obtain that “better life,” the powers that be – politicians, mega corporations and such are running their tanks of exploitation into every corner of the world. Do all the North Americans who drink Coca-Cola know (or care) that the company kills (yes, assassinates) union leaders in Colombia? This is what we support, living in this country and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Am I a traitor for leaving? Should I stay and fight? To be honest, I just don’t have it in me. I think my country was sold out from under me before I even had a chance. And I truly believe that I can better contribute to making the world a better place on a one to one basis in a simpler society.
The people of Tibet are the sweetest and most beautiful I have ever seen. But over their simple and happy life, hangs the huge dark cloud of Chinese communist rule. Nepal is a tropical paradise with Maoists that terrorize the countryside and lovely people with a monarchy who’s prince killed his father, the king. Most of South and Central America is run by corrupt officials. Europe is expensive and a lot like the U.S. Where to go????? There is no where to go to escape the tribulations of government.
Costa Rica has a stable government. As tourism is their bread and butter industry, they promote positive environmental laws. It is a beautiful place where I can have a fairly simple lifestyle. I have met like minded people from the States and from all over the world, in Costa Rica. People seem to do pretty much what they want without lots of laws and regulations. My friend, Hatch, calls it the wild west! And I just like it there. Really it can all be summed up in the song, made famous years ago by Danny Kaye and much requested at parties when sung and played on the ukulele by Kim and Hatch:
Bongo, Bongo, Bongo
Each morning the missionary advertise with neon sign, Bongo, bongo, bongo I don’t want to leave the jungle, I looked through a magazine the missionary’s wife concealed. So bongo, bongo, bongo he don’t want to leave the jungle, They hurry like savages to get aboard an iron train. So bongo, bongo, bongo I don’t want to leave the jungle,
He tells the native population that civilization is fine.
And three educated savages holler from a bongo tree,
That civilization is the thing for me to see.
Oh, no no no no no,
Bingle, bangle, bungle I’m so happy in the jungle I refuse to go.
Don’t want no bright lights, false teeth, doorbells, landlords. I make it clear,
That no matter how they coax me, I’ll stay right here.
I see how people who are civilized bang you with their automobiles.
And at the movies they have to pay many coconuts to see,
Uncivilized pictures that the newsreels take of me!
Oh, no no no no no.
Bingle, bangle, bungle he’s so happy in the jungle he refuse to go.
Don’t want no penthouse, bathtub, streetcars, taxis, noise in my ear.
So no matter how they coax him, he’ll stay right here.
And though it’s smoky and crowded they’re too civilized to complain.
When they’ve got two weeks vacation they hurry to vacation grounds.
They swim and they fish but that’s what I do all year round.
Oh, no no no no no.
Bingle, bangle, bungle, I’m so happy in the jungle, I refuse to go.
Don’t want no jail house, shotguns, fish hooks, golf clubs, I’ve got my spear.
So no matter how they coax me, I’ll stay right here.
Each morning the missionary advertise with neon sign,
Bongo, bongo, bongo I don’t want to leave the jungle,
I looked through a magazine the missionary’s wife concealed.
So bongo, bongo, bongo he don’t want to leave the jungle,
They hurry like savages to get aboard an iron train.
So bongo, bongo, bongo I don’t want to leave the jungle,
They have things like the atom bomb,
So I think I’ll stay right where I “om.”
Civilization, I’ll stay right here!
You all can come out and visit me any time but be warned, you may end up like many others myself included and turn your visit into a permanent stay!
MORE ART WORK DONE IN COSTA RICA: