From Denmark to Costa Rica: A Family's Journey of Discovery

Published 25 Jun, 2024

Our new brand ambassador Maria Kusk (@ma_hoola) is sending us plenty of sunny-weather inspiration these days. Based in tropical Costa Rica with her young family, this Danish-native spends plenty of time at the beach enjoying the "pura vida" lifestyle.

With her three active boys, Arthur, Frodo and Johan and husband Mathias in tow, travel, adventure and the great outdoors are a real focus for this tribe, and we love their free-spirited, living-in-the-moment outlook. We asked Maria to tell us what it's been like to relocate from her much cooler, often rainy, homeland of Denmark to a Latin American haven.


Escaping Cold and Rainy Scandinavia

We come from a culture where people are pretty busy and striving to be more and more productive. As a family of five, we were racing against time. But in Denmark, I think most people would consider us a very normal family.

We worked two full-time jobs while our kids were in school and in daycare all day, participating in after-school activities that required a lot of dropping off and picking up kids.

We lived for the weekends and vacations, escaping the cold and rainy Scandinavian climate to spend time outdoors in the sun, near the ocean.

The Vacation That Changed Everything

A trip to Costa Rica in 2021 became a big turning point for us.

We traveled to Costa Rica for four weeks and randomly met families who had moved there from other countries to start over in a warm and exotic place. Families who felt that family life was too busy where they came from. We were inspired by these people and started thinking, we could actually do this too.

The country had just opened up a new type of Visa that made it possible for people like us to come live in Costa Rica.

We came back to Denmark with this idea in our heads, that we could actually go live in Costa Rica.

The idea of moving would constantly pop up in our heads for the next few winter months.

Summer went by, and as fall approached and it got darker and colder, our thoughts of Costa Rica intensified.

"I don’t like the idea of always waiting for summer, for the weekend, or the next vacation. And I feel like I was not just put on this earth to work. I wanted to spend more time with my children while they are still children, and I dreamed of doing this in a culture where it’s normal for a woman to choose to stay home with her family. This is what I love about Latin American culture. Family comes before everything, and they are really good at enjoying life and living in the moment."

A serious conversation between my husband and I one night ended up with the decision being made. We both dreamed of this and realized that it was now or it would likely never happen. Our oldest son was 9, so we felt the window was closing.

Big Decisions

We knew there were so many practical things we needed to sort out. Luckily, the practical things were all things we could figure out. It seemed big at the time, but when I look back, the practical things were just little things. The hardest thing was making the decision.

Our biggest worries were about finding the right schools for our boys in Costa Rica because they didn’t speak a word of Spanish, and neither did we.

During Covid, we learned that most of our work could be done online, and my husband continued doing that.

Whenever people ask us about this now, we always say, "If you can work online, everything else is figure-out-able."

We discovered that the area where we wanted to settle is full of little international schools, each with its own unique learning philosophies. We just had to choose the one we liked.

Arriving in Costa Rica

Four months later, the five of us landed in San José airport, with only a suitcase each, really nervous but ready to start a new life here.

So how did it work out?

It turned out to be the best decision we ever made.

Our lives have changed in every way possible. Even though there have been challenges, the move has been so much easier than I imagined

The Simple Life

The biggest cultural difference we have faced is the “Pura Vida” lifestyle. It’s so different from what we came from. Pura vida means something like “pure life,” “enjoy life,” and “live in the moment.” Ticos, as Costa Ricans are called, say “pura vida” all the time! It’s a manifestation that really works!

Because people are so chilled and time goes slower here. We spend almost all of our waking time outside. We swim in beaches or rivers every day. Everything grows so well here, so there are SO many exotic fresh fruits and vegetables.

It turns out that our children are like little sponges that soak up new languages in no time. It also turned out that making new friends is very easy if you live in an area with a lot of other newcomers. Everyone is in the same boat. They left friends and families and are open to making new friends.

We live a simpler life now, with more time and fewer things.

We just have fewer plans in general and need fewer things. We are renting a little fully furnished Tico house, and it’s really good for our family to not own a home at the moment. We are the type of people who will instantly build and renovate everything. We are practicing to be more present and not necessarily being productive all the time.

And as we look to the future, our hearts are filled with excitement for the endless possibilities that await us in this beautiful country we now call home.


If you enjoyed this blog post...

...stay tuned! This is just the first in Maria's three-part series, written exclusively for Tom & Teddy.


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