I have a personal update to share. We are leaving London soon. I am moving with my family to Costa Rica for a year. I wanted to give you a peek behind the scenes of this move. The why and the how. Let’s get started.
When I was pregnant with my second child and sick with hyperemesis, I spent many hours in bed watching TEDx talks.
Designer Stefan Sagmeister’s talk changed my life. He argued in favour of mini-retirements every seven years while you are still young.
I loved the idea and sold my husband to it. He quit his job, and I took a year-long maternity leave from my job. We moved with a toddler and a baby to Koh Samui, Thailand.
I wrote an ebook about our adventures that year, which you can download for free here.
We had a lovely time in Thailand. I launched my business from there and advanced my Masters in executive coaching. We loved it so much that we decided to do it again in a few years.
When we returned to London, my husband joined a tech start-up and worked hard with the rest of the team to lead it to a successful exit. They did it and then worked hard during the integration.
My husband deserves all the rest and fun in the world if you ask me. He has been a rock for our family. He supported me in my entrepreneurial journey while being a present parent and having a high-pressure job.
For me, it is less about rest and more about adventure. I had already designed my business with work I am passionate about, 4-day workweeks and 12 weeks of holiday a year. I love my business, so I do not want to escape from it.
We are moving to Costa Rica to enjoy a unique experience with our family. While our kids are still young and want to hang out with us.
Also, with the kids being in years two and five of primary school, we thought it was the perfect time. Their school commitments are still manageable. Our next Sabbatical after Costa Rica will probably have to wait until after both kids have finished their secondary education.
As our previous Sabbatical was in Asia, we wanted this time to explore Latin America. Costa Rica is considered one of the happiest countries in the world, with peaceful people – they do not even have an army.
This year, we want to put love, health and play in the spotlight.
We plan to do daily outdoor yoga, swim and cook homemade meals.
We want to visit volcanos and waterfalls and see the wildlife of this amazing country. We are excited!
Let’s get now into the how of the move.
How we prepared for the move to Costa Rica
We created an investment pot dedicated to our Sabbatical. We have been saving money towards our goal for the last six years.
It was a separate fund from any other saving goals like our pensions or the kids’ college funds. We wanted to ensure we would have the financial resources when the time for the Sabbatical came. The Costa Rica dream gave us hope during the Covid isolation.
The kids’ school was the other big piece we needed to get right. My husband and I would be terrible homeschoolers, so homeschooling was not an option:-)
We applied to a private international school by the beach that was our first choice. The school teaches meditation and entrepreneurship. It also incorporates nature and local culture into the learning.
The kids needed to pass an interview and do an essay, and they were finally accepted. Once we had the school, we knew the Sabbatical was on.
The third big piece was for my husband’s employer to approve a 12-month Sabbatical for him, which they did. We are thrilled he will have a job in a company he loves when we return in 12 months. We were also ready for him to quit if they did not approve it. We take our Sabbaticals seriously. We work to live and not the other way around.
The fourth piece was the house. As we wanted something beachfront, the best option was to search on Airbnb and VBRO. We negotiated a long-term contract ourselves with the landlords.
We managed to find exactly what we were looking for. A beachfront condo close to the kids’ school with a swimming pool in the complex.
I can’t wait to enjoy majestic sunsets from my balcony, and sunrise walks by the beach. This is the place I will be hosting my 1:1 executive coaching LeaderRetreats as well 😉
Once we had the house, we booked our flights. I had dreamed of a business-class flight as I wanted to start this adventure in abundance.
We worked with a company that specialises in business class flights. They gave us a fantastic deal, almost what we would have paid for an economy flight.
We are moving to Costa Rica with a 3-day stopover in New York which was another conscious choice. My husband loves New York, and we wanted to show it to the kids.
The final pieces we worked on were health insurance, my work visa and a 4×4 car to be able to explore the country.
How I prepared my business for the move
What am I planning to do professionally while in Costa Rica?
My first professional goal is to write my second book about Life Vision. The concepts have been culminating for the last few years, and I am ready to give birth to a second book.
In terms of coaching, I will continue my 1:1 LeaderRetreats, this time by the beach. I may also organise a group retreat if there is interest. I plan to run my virtual group programs INSEAD Life Vision and VisionPath in 2024 from Costa Rica.
VisionPath was a 5-figure launch this year, and I did not even run any ads or do a webinar to promote it. The participants’ results were extraordinary. Next year I plan to go really big with it and help even more people define their life vision.
My other goals are consolidating all my tech platforms to add agility to my business. And finally, I would like to take my time and hire my first full-time assistant.
I decided that I will not be traveling to Europe to run team coaching offsites while I am in Costa Rica.
This decision was not easy as team coaching is a big part of my business. I have built long-term partnerships with teams I love.
Thankfully, I could trust my clients to my fellow team coach and colleague Petros Oratis. We ran together many of my team coaching assignments. Petros knows most of my teams and how I like to work. I know I am leaving my team coaching clients in great hands.
I was nervous telling my team coaching clients about my move, but they were so warm and supportive.
They felt that it aligns with everything I have been standing for in my teachings. An intentional and holistic life vision. Letting go of ego and fear to follow your joy-driven goals.
During the last year, I downloaded my expertise into three on-demand courses. My team coaching and successful meetings expertise is on Team Genius. My parenting expertise is in ParentPath. Finally, my writing expertise is in Thought Leader.
This was a conscious choice as I wanted to continue serving clients in a scalable and on-demand way while writing my next book.
Business Financial Health
I reviewed the business expenses and let go of all non-essential items. I consolidated all the work into a handful of suppliers, as I did not want to have to manage many relationships from the beach.
I also ensured the business had enough cash reserves to cover its overhead expenses for a year.
I worked hard in the last six months to make sure of that. I ran a different live course every month while leading many executive and team coaching retreats.
How we prepared to leave London
We have decluttered almost everything in our home during the last year. We gifted countless items and sold quite a few as well. The movers came yesterday, and all they took for storage was five boxes, a suitcase and a peloton. That’s all we own.
I love the idea of being light and not being weighted down by belongings. We will travel to Costa Rica with just three suitcases. I have always liked the minimalist lifestyle, and this move will help us make it even more of a reality.
We also needed to prepare the kids psychologically. As we have discussed this move for years, the kids are excited about it. They helped us choose the new house and school.
My son did Spanish lessons. My daughter decided that her school’s Spanish lessons would suffice; fingers crossed. My husband has a 1100+ day Spanish streak in Duolingo.
We have been doing goodbye playdates with the kid’s friends in London this week. We also did a farewell party for us on Saturday. The end of this chapter of our lives is emotional.
I built a life I do not need to escape from. Still, I know that ageing is the aggressive pursuit of comfort. We are about to get out of our comfort zone, big.
It feels amazing to manifest a vision we have had for more than six years. I love tropical weather, and I know it will give me more energy.
We are products of our environment. I am expecting this move to change me.
My last tropical adventure in Thailand turned me from a Google executive to an entrepreneur. I wonder what this move will bring.
I plan to continue writing this newsletter and bring you along for the journey.
Thank you for being part of my community.
Free: How a Family Sabbatical Boosted My Career E-book
You can now book your 1:1 LeaderRetreat with me in Potrero, Costa Rica, from September 2023 to June 2024. You can reply to this email to confirm your date.