A Canadian in Costa Rica

Meet Nadene Tipper, transplanted Canadian and realtor in Costa Rica. In a short interview with My Silver Years, she outlines her career path, her philosophy in life, and love for her adopted country.

1) Describe briefly how you came to be living in CR, all the way from Canada.

It all started with the honeymoon.  In late January, 2002 after a blizzard swept wedding, we travelled to Colombia and Costa Rica on our honeymoon and fell in love with Costa Rica and the people. We went home, like most people, and life continued on as normal with Costa Rican memories swirling around in our heads.

We eventually sold our trucking company to our business partner and started travelling again (mostly to Spanish speaking countries).  As luck would have it, friends of ours sold everything they had in Calgary and moved to Playas del Coco to sell real estate.  In 2009 we decided to follow them down to see what had attracted them to this part of the country.  Needless to say, we fell in love with Costa Rica all over again and decided to make the move. We simply didn’t want to leave but back home we went. This time with a plan in mind.  It wasn’t a matter of CAN we move here, it was only figuring out HOW we can do it.  Not long after that, we had our bags packed and haven’t looked back since.

2) When you look back, what would you have done differently?

Generally, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Over the last few years, we started purchasing rental properties as we planned for our eventual retirement.  In hindsight, we may have purchased a few more condos to rent out if we had the money available when deals presented themselves. We are slowly adding to the inventory so that when the time comes to wind down the real estate business, we will have some good rental income coming in.  Besides, I love the short term renters. They are so excited to visit Costa Rica.  It’s wonderful to share their excitement!

3) Give us an idea of a usual day in your life.

My day starts at the crack of dawn sometimes before the sun even comes up.  I never use an alarm unless heading to the airport early.  Letting the body wake up naturally in time to see the sunrise is awesome.  My husband enjoys another hour or two in bed so I have the time to myself.  I sit on my patio drinking in the ocean view as the sun rises over the mountain to my left.  The sun slowly starts to touch the boats in the bay ….one by one they start to sparkle.

Occasionally the monkeys are heard in the trees with their good morning calls to each other.  The variety of birds singing their morning song is endless.  Every once in a while a flock of 10-20 green parrots fly by squawking at the top of their lungs.  And it’s only 6:30 in the morning.  The day has just begun!

I sometimes get on the computer and work from home or head into the office to be ready for someone to step through the door asking about life in paradise.  The best of all is when I have clients in town who want to see what living here is really like.  My work day could start with a breakfast meeting with clients at a beachfront restaurant, then off to tour some properties and then I find another cool place to share lunch or a happy hour cocktail.

The sun sets at 6 pm most days so property touring is over and the real fun begins.  Friends and/or clients will be waiting at one of the local bars to share their day with us.  We enjoy listening to live music in the outdoor bars and have been known to get up and dance to the rock and roll or country music on occasion. It really feels like I’m living my youth and that finally, as a woman, I am doing what I want to do – not what I am supposed to do.  It is a very freeing experience and I would encourage anyone who wants to make a change, find a way to make it happen.

4) What advice would you give to mid-life women who are looking to change their situation in life?

Many years ago I did a talk in front of over 5000 people (mostly women) who were thinking of going back to school.  They were all looking for some way to change their life for the better.  Sometimes the answer is to go back to school (as I did as an adult) and change your career, or sometimes you just need to change your environment and the social influences that surround you.

The advice I would give any mid-life woman is to remember that whatever you decide it is not a forever decision.  Stop analyzing it to death, just DO IT!   Making a big change seems like a forever decision but it’s not!  It is just putting you on a new path that leads in a different direction.  Earlier, I lived my life thinking I didn’t have a choice about pretty much anything.  I was wrong.  Women have be raised to care for others before themselves. Once a woman is empowered and decides to make decisions that affect her life, others around them start to notice.   Do they get some backlash for it?  You bet!  Should they still do it?  Absolutely!

5) Since you live away from your family (kids), how do you bridge the distance?

As much as I truly miss my family, kids, grandkids and great-grandkids, I manage to keep in touch with them through Skype, phone calls, Facebook and emails. My kids were brought up to be independent. Safe in the knowledge that I will be there in a flash if needed, we communicate in whatever way works for both of us and continue on.






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