We Left America


We left America. 

More precisely, as reminded by our local friends, we left the United States. We still live in America, Central America. Playa Grande, Costa Rica, to be exact. Our home sits atop a mist shrouded mountain in a dense jungle above the Pacific. We wake with the sun to a symphony of Congo monkey roars and birdsong madness. Sip our coffee gazing out over dense green into endless blue beyond which nothing exists. At dusk, the sky drops its golden pebble into the sea to the west. Ours is a truth spoken in future tense for decades … now manifest. Every moment a mirror into which we stare. And looking back at us, the words … You. Are. Alive. 

Welcome to our bucket list year.

It is a curious thing to capture what you chase, for once the butterfly is in the net, what do you do? We cannot keep it, for a butterfly kept is tragedy. Instead, we must recognize that the butterfly was illusory, simply a pretext to run on a hill in the wind … because running on windy hills is good for us. A thing we should do always. 

I am literally now living on a windy hill. And so, it is time to let the butterfly go and take pleasure witnessing each moment of it’s unfettered flight. But, I have a confession to make. Instead of watching the butterfly from a state of perpetual awe, I’ve wasted precious time these inaugural weeks looking over my shoulder in worry at faraway things I could be doing elsewhere. Vanity-driven nonsense that won’t mean a thing in a hundred years and will actually detract from the exciting art projects I currently have in motion (more on these in the weeks ahead). That grind will be right where I left it when I return. And, as my wife so astutely points out, shame on me if I waste another minute in paradise fretting about the stateside hustle.

So, I am stating this aloud, with you as my witnesses. That self-imposed, little bitch, stress session stops now! I am here for one year, in Costa Rica, with my beautiful wife and magnificent boys, wrapped in the warm embrace of the purple/blue/grey/green hillsides and the buttery Playa Grande surf … with nowhere else to be but where we are. 

Pulling back the throttle right now. New surfboard’s in the truck. Just ordered War & Peace and Brothers Karamazov which I never read. Heading off to Spanish class shortly. Eyes wide open. Eager to fall deeper in love with my self and my family. 

I’m all in!

Gonna be magical. Already is. And I’ll be sharing occasional bits and pieces in this blog. if you’d like to see more regular pics and posts, follow the journey on FB and Instagram @stuart_sheldon.

Pura vida!

60 thoughts on “We Left America

  1. Your powerful yet gentle words describing your life, your family, and your adventures are symphonic to my mind. I am reading with every breath of adaptation to your ‘Zen’ world; and I look forward to each page you turn.

  2. We were just wondering how you were all settling in to your adventure in beautiful Costa Rica. The pictures say it all. Sending big love your way from 47 and the Golden Triangle!

  3. My family and I will be visiting CR in April. Seeing you and your delicious Bucket List makes me feel old but still young. As I told you, many times in Second Grade, have dreams and make them happen. Perhaps you were listening to something I said to you!.

  4. When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come. – Leonardo da Vinci

    Good luck standing in the now…

  5. It’s all about perspective and what’s important in life….seems like you’ve found it! Life is good. Enjoy the ride and can’t wait for the stories!

    1. G. Goody. Rock!!!!!!
      You, my brother, always put a smile on my face and always will. Give your lovely amazing kids and gorgeous wife a big squeeze from the whole squad down in the jungle.

  6. Live in the moment. It only lasts a moment. Love, laugh and grow. And write and paint. Ps. you have my permission to fret a lil too, it’s ok.

  7. You guys feel too far away….damn that means I must get closer. Love to you all 🙂 Oh by the way is there a Shart House there?

  8. Heck ya brother!! You are my hero already, now this… Definitely gonna be following your journey, may even cross paths with you as I have boat work in Costa, and Bele and I are now living in Brazil (come visit)… Love your ways Stubaby!

    1. Cam, my bredren!! So good to hear from you. Would love to rendezvous in Central or S America. Hope your life is flowing like crystal clear Tongan water!!

  9. So great to catch up with you guys. Beautiful photos. Enjoy every minute!!! Love to you all we miss you guys. Xoxo steph & Michael Rosen

  10. Congratulations!!!! Your father is here at the bank picking up your paintings and is so happy for you and your family. I enjoyed meeting him. Soak up every minute.

    Diane Delorey

  11. Ever since our first trip there 5 years ago, we’ve said that Costa Rica should come with a WARNING sign!! It is HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!!

    So happy to see you all are enjoying the flow in your new paradise. Your words & photos perfectly capture the pura vida magic, and are so inspiring! Keep listening to your very wise & beautiful wife, & enjoy every stinkin moment of your bucket list year in the happiest place on earth!:-)

  12. Stuuuuuu! This is utterly amazing and I am so happy for you guys. We miss you big time out here in Cali. Say hi to Jodi and teach those kids how a howler monkey howls!


    1. Ed, my friend!! Jodi lit up when I showed her your note. Yes, we finally checked out after decades talking about it. Are very satisfied w our choice. And lovely affirmations like yours only make us more so. Hope u are living the dream in SF w your gorgeous girls. We sincerely miss you and hope to cross paths sooner than later?

  13. Looks so beautiful. What an amazing year you and your family have ahead of you!

  14. Beautiful words and pictures!! Looks like Jody has traded the bicycle for a horse! Look forward to hearing of your adventures!

    1. Hey Bonnie. Funny, the roads here are so sketchy we wouldn’t even think of mounting our road bikes. But want to get back to Toscana stat!!!

    2. Maravillosa! If we can figure a way, perhaps a Skoke or two can journey to your blessed abode in 2019. Stay well, remain inspired, and tell those piglets that bacon isn’t always the answer (just on occasion). 😉 Jeff

  15. So cool! Muy bien. Amazing experience Stu! No looking back dude. Come and visit us in the United states of California. Enjoy every minute. Live life. Love to the family.

  16. I am thrilled for you guys!! Hope to come and visit. All the best to you and the family. Looking forward to seeing your art projects.

  17. “Why sometimes I believe more than six impossible things before breakfast!”
    The Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland

    Enjoy it all Stuart!

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