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What to Take When Retiring Abroad to a Third World Country Like Costa Rica

bring things you use everyday like stuff for hobbies


[continued from page 2]

Remember to Pack Essentials for Your Hobbies (continued)

and if your life will be lacking without it, bring it.

  • A friend of ours is a hobby woodworker. She moved a huge table saw and planer and table router and other special tools. She wishes she would have shipped some wood!
  • We moved an entire yarn stash (knitters will know how much this is) two spinning wheels and seven, yes seven! mechanized sewing devices.

Because of Arden's book and our own research (Boomer's Offshore list of items to move is here) we did pretty good on stuff we need in Costa Rica.

Stuff I Wished We Didn't Bring

We brought a few things that we could have lived without:

  • Warm Clothes: Since we have moved I have worn long sleeves and long pants a handful of times. One of those times was to President Obama Needs Me I've Been Summoned to the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica with the U.S. Ambassador. The other times were when I got just a tiny chilly stepping out of the shower. I have packed away WOOL shirts and heavy hooded sweatshirts! Nancy has NEVER gotten a chill. She has six plastic bins full of cold weather clothes that will never see the light of day, I'm sure.

what to bring when moving to costa rica

  • Knick Knacks: My wife, Nancy, has a different opinion, thus we have a lot of breakable knick knacks in earthquake country sitting around gathering dust.
  • Photo Albums: We loaded up the kids with photo albums of when they were young, but we still brought a couple plastic bins full of photos and albums that are still packed away.
  • Pillows and Blankets and Quilts and Rugs: We brought 'em all because they are great for filling in the spaces when loading the container. They take up a huge amount of storage space once they were unpacked.
  • Fancy Dishes and Serving Pieces: Again, a woman will feel differently but we have a lot dishes and serving pieces still packed away.

Good luck with your downsizing. You will become a yard-sale and Craig's List expert. You will become a known face at the local Goodwill (or equivalent.)

You will find stuff you should have thrown away years ago. You will find stuff you won't want to part with, but won't want to move. You will reward lots of friends as you give away things they want and need. You will make some family members sorry you are leaving as you load them up with family memorabilia that you don't want to move but don't want to throw away either.

It's a stressful time. But remember Arden's advice: BREATHE and my advice: LAUGH.

More Articles About Baby Boomers and Retirement:

Costa Rica Retirement: What's it Like Retiring to Costa Rica?

Retire in the Texas Hill Country: The Natives Are Friendly

Intentional Community or Retirement Community: Could a Hippie Commune Be the Answer?

Baby Boomers Want to Retire in Southwest Florida

More About the Van Pattens:

What do you think of this article? Leave comments or questions at the bottom of the page.

Mark and Nancy Van Patten are in their mid-sixties and retired to Costa Rica in July 2011 to live on their social security income. He blogs at GoingLikeSixty.com about baby boomer stuff and living in Costa Rica and she blogs at KeepingYouInStitches.wordpress.com about knitting and other stitchery as well as her "adventures" in Costa Rica. If you have questions, please put them in the comments and they will respond - eventually. After all, they are retired... In friggin' COSTA RICA!

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1 Comment

  1. Tina


    I can't believe the taxes on automobiles. Are they trying to discourage you from importing cars? Are they trying to discourage you from putting wear and tear on their road system (infrastructure) in Costa Rica? That's just so bizarre.

    Am I reading it correctly?


    Tina Boomerina