Ok, this book club book is a little unconventional. I tend to gravitate toward personal, spiritual, and creative life philosophy books especially for recommending on this platform, but this one was actually interesting and engaging enough that I decided to add it to my book club list. The Costa Rica Escape Manual although laced with very technical information, was a pretty fun read. The author, Nadine Pisani, is the author of the book Happier than a Billionaire which is about her and her husband giving up their “normal” life that made them miserable to throw all caution to the wind and start living in Costa Rica. I actually haven’t read that one yet and ended up instead picking up her how-to manual sequel that answers more technical questions her readers wrote to her asking how it’s done.
It’s a lot more nuts and bolts than you’d find in something like Eat, Pray, Love. There are actually links to real car services and mechanics, lawyers and specific departments with the forms you would need to fill out. Although that bit can be dryer or “more boring” than learning about the pick pocketing monkeys, it gives you a really strong sense of exactly what it takes to get yourself down there. She doesn’t BS her readers. In fact, the thing I really enjoy about her style is that she can even reach that point of basically over-sharing all the difficulties and personal emotions. She even writes about what it was like finding a doctor to help her diagnose her IBS. I would never have the courage to tell a friend about that whole experience, but she does, colonoscopy and all.
Ok, that might make you not want to read the book, but I swear she does it with great humor and doesn’t make it more crass than it needs to be. Her anecdotes really convey the technical experience of working with Costa Rican doctors versus private care physicians, dealing with translation problems, the whole darn thing.
But she does this with everything, from broken AC repairmen, to the shadiest of car dealers she details her experience and gives her advice on the right~ish way to go about it. Her tag line is “Costa Rica: Results May Vary” to really emphasize how it’s a bit like organized chaos out there. While she appears to enjoy her new life she is upfront with her reader about what pot holes or hiccups someone may stumble over or find difficult.
If you’ve ever daydreamed of escaping to Costa Rica or any other picturesque part of the world this book is a fun reality check. Not necessarily dissuading, just realistic in a way that was enlightening. I feel like moving is both more obtainable for knowing and more difficult than I had previously imagined in my perfect daydreams.
I’ll definitely be checking out her first book Happier than a Billionaire soon, which she self-published while out in Costa Rica. (Look at this lady go!) But for now, Having read the Escape Manual even non-sequentially was a very fun time with practical advice. Even if it only ends up making my daydreams a little more detailed, I’m happy I read it.
Get your copy and let us know what you thought of the book and Nadine’s adventures in the comments below. Would you ever risk it all and move to your dream part of the world? Where would it be? ❤