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Shannon Enete, Central Pacific Coast

Who are you?

I’m an outdoor enthusiast from San Diego, California who loves to meet new people from around the globe. I absolutely love kayaking, hiking, camping, surfing, and exploring. I am married to an extraordinary woman, Cammy Enete whom I met here in Costa Rica. She was the daughter of my property manager!

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica about a year and a half ago. After a back-injury ended my career as a paramedic, I founded Enete Enterprises, LLC a video and print publication company. This new venture granted me the freedom to move about the globe!I have enjoyed travel ever sense the bug bit me my freshman year of college. I found a great deal to the Bahamas on Travelzoo and pounced. Ever since then, I have discovered more about myself and the people that fill this world with each glance.

What challenges did you face during the move?

When I first arrived I was ecstatic! After about 5 days my mood drastically shifted to lonely and I pondered regret. I moved here all alone without knowing a sole at age 32. I was scared that I wouldn’t make friends or meet my match. These fears were quickly squelched by the outstanding expat community. I grew a great deal, and have never been happier.

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How did you find somewhere to live?

My first trip to Costa Rica was purely one of exploration. I was in-country for five weeks and travelled from end to end. Once I decided to move there I narrowed down the potential cities to my favorite beach locations: Montezuma, Manuel Antonio, Domincal, and Playa Bejuco. Ok, Playa Bejuco wasn’t on the radar until I found it on Craigslist, but I knew what the areas 30 minutes to the north and south were like so I figured it would be good as well. Craigslist was an excellent starting point because it helped me gauge pricing.

Granted, if I wanted the most modest, tico-styled home then word of mouth and spanish newspapers would have been my best bet.

Once I had arrived to Costa Rica, the biggest challenge in seeing properties was communication. I hadn’t obtained a sim card yet, and therefore was solely reliant on wifi, Skype, and email communication. Sometimes advanced planning in Costa Rica doesn’t pan out. I was an exception to that rule, however, since I found the house I wanted to rent without assistance, it happened to have an unlocked wifi that I used to call the landlord to come let me take a peek! I was asked to place a substantial down payment because the house was fully furnished complete with flat screen TV. I also signed a six month lease. The entire process was down in one day, easy breezy!

Are there many other expats in your area?

Yes, I live in an international community. There are Americans, Canadians, Indians, Australians, Costa Ricans, and Austrians that rotate in and out of the community. Many people live here part-time.

While I love my expat friends, I’m hoping to move to a community that is full of full-time residents that I can become active in community projects with.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

I enjoy speaking with the locals. On my daily walks on the beach I say hello to the fishermen using a simple fishing link and hook with a lasso-styled cast. My spanish is intermediate, so I am restricted in what I can say. Also, at times I have a hard time knowing what conversation to start other than, “Any luck? How is it going? Gorgeous Day” and so on. Locals have always been friendly, open, and patient with me and my spanish.

What do you like about life where you are?

I love the amount of life per square-inch in this gorgeous country! Plus, the pace here resonates with something deep inside of me. Even though I enjoyed my “first life” rushing to 9-1-1 emergencies, swinging the pendulum to opposite corner has nourished me in a way that I had yet to explore. The people are happy, healthy, and friendly. Plus, I could never afford to live 400 feet from an enormous empty beach in Southern California.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Accessing goods it’s a love / hate relationship. I am a gadget junkie and love to buy the next best thing off of Amazon. Shipping to Costa Rica is challenging and expensive. Sometimes, this is an excellent problem to have because I save money, and refocus on people and what I have versus what I can buy, or think that I need. The downside is ever so present when I need to send a device back for replacement through the warranty program or when I needed to replace my driver’s license because I lost mine when I jumped down a 35 foot waterfall with it in the pocket in my board shorts.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Be patient. Allow yourself to laugh at yourself and the predicaments that you find yourself in. Evaluate what you want out of life and what you want to contribute to life today as the man/woman that you are, then set out a plan to achieve it. Ask a lot of questions and rent in many regions before you put any skin into the game. Focus on the good and let the other stuff float on bye! Love your life, wife, your husband, your neighbour, and Costa Rica for exactly what it is without trying to change a thing. Don’t take life too seriously, have fun!

What are your plans for the future?

Alongside the book I plan on implementing an App that will supplement the content in the book with informational videos, and expat testimonials. I also plan on creating a tourism app with a heavy video presence. I hope to implement both apps before summer 2014.

I will be expanding Becoming an Expat™ guidebook series to include: Panama, Mexico, Belize, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Brazil with a deadline of 2016. Enete Enterprises, LLC is seeking experienced expat writers that reside in the countries previously mentioned to accomplish this goal. To be considered please email your interest complete with experience

Shannon is the author of Becoming an Expat: Costa Rica. She can be contacted by email and via Facebook or her website www.EneteEnterprises.com.

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