Taking Your Business on the Road

Taking Your Business on the Road

If you’re considering the idea of starting a new business or relocating your current one to a new city, there are many factors to consider before making the decision. Spend some time asking yourself why you want to start or relocate your business. It’s important to know what you want and what your goals are for your future company.

Remote Control is a great resource for business owners and digital nomads to stay informed about life and work on the move. Through shared experiences, tips, tricks, and hopefully a little humor, we hope to inspire you to follow your bliss.

What City Is Best for Your Type of Business

Before deciding on where to start or relocate, it’s important to look at the market of that city, what kind of industry you’re in, how much competition there will be, and how much money you’ll need upfront. It’s also helpful if you already know someone who has started a business in that area before or has any connections there. 

You should already have a firm idea about what type of business you want to start or relocate. For example, if you want to start a restaurant it is best to look for cities with large populations that are underserved by restaurants. If you want to open a tech startup, it might be best to look for cities that have thriving tech scenes with access to venture capital and talent pools.

How you structure your business can help you when it comes to protecting your personal assets. An LLC will offer that, as well as being easy to set up yourself. Though you won’t need an attorney, you will need to check what the rules are in your new home since they vary from state to state. 

Funding for Your Business

The next step would be figuring out how much funding you need for your new endeavor and how much funding is available in your desired city. 

Grants are awarded to businesses with a great idea that will provide a public benefit or meet an unmet need. You can apply for grant money through the government, your state’s department of commerce, and other nonprofit organizations.

Loans come in many shapes and sizes, from SBA loans to bank loans to peer-to-peer lending. They’re all designed for different purposes and at different rates of interest. The key is finding a loan that fits your needs best.

Equity investments are the most difficult type of capital because you have to give up some ownership in your company in exchange for the funds you need

Crowdfunding is the practice of raising money for your business through small donations and investments from many people. It usually means you’ll ask people on social media or through an online platform like Kickstarter or GoFundMe for money in return for an incentive like a t-shirt or preorder.

Life in Your New City

If you are moving to a new city for business purposes, there are some things that you should consider before making the move. For instance, if you have children, you will need to consider their school and social life before making the move. Do some research into the cost of living in that city, too, since it can vary wildly across the country. Is there anything that you would miss from your old city and whether or not those things might be available in the new one?

Can you afford a home in an area you want to live in that will be best for your family? If you enjoy the fast-paced city life, can you afford a home in that city? If you and your family enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors, are those homes within your financial reach? 

There is home purchase down payment help for first-time homeowners and people who have already bought and sold one or more homes. This comes in the way of down payment assistance programs. This is especially helpful for families who have just paid for a move and a business start-up. Thanks to federal, state, and local programs, you may have options from several grants, loans, tax credits, and other programs available to you. 

Moving to a new city to begin an exciting business venture is the stuff of dreams. And asking the right questions early, like ‘will my business be well suited to the city?’ or ‘can I can get help to purchase the home I want when I get there?’ can set you up for great future success.

About the Author (Sarah Noel)
Sarah Noel and her boyfriend, both left corporate jobs to work as freelancers, chasing balance between the work they loved and the life they wanted. They’ve taught themselves how to work smarter, not harder. They’ve committed to separating work and home so that they can enjoy both. Now, with TaylorandNoel.com, they’re sharing their best practices with other freelancers, in hopes they can do the same.

Photo Credit: Peggy Anke

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Filed under Digital Nomads, Tips and Tricks, Work and Business, Working Remotely

How to Create a Home Office Space for Remote Work

With the increasing capabilities of internet connectivity, more and more people are embracing remote work and the digital nomad lifestyle. To optimize productivity, you can set up an office space in your home, even with limited living space. Start by considering these easy tips.

Visit Remote Control for tips and resources on how you can work or run your business remotely. 

Designate a Well-Lit Area

Your priority choice for an office should be the area of your living space with the best natural lighting. Research shows that access to natural light while working improves mood, mental health, and overall well-being. This can be a corner in the living room with windows or a space in the kitchen. Choose the area that gets the most light for the longest part of the day. For example, if you prefer to work in the early morning, choose an area facing the sunrise.

Use Functional Furniture and Fixtures

Ergonomic furniture is a major trend in office decor, and using functional furniture doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your aesthetic. People who work in an office setting, even at home, sometimes deal with repetitive stress injuries. Ergonomic furniture, such as a desk, chair, or table, allows you to work without developing any injuries over time. You can typically find pieces to match the look and feel of your home as well.

Prioritize Climate Control and a Functional HVAC System

Ensuring your workspace is comfortable is an important element of optimizing productivity, and climate control is an easy way to alter how an area affects you. Have the HVAC system in your home checked for any noise issues or heating and cooling defects to ensure it is working properly. A loud unit can be a distraction, and this issue is typically a problem with the motor that you can easily fix. Find local HVAC contractors to come troubleshoot problems and get your comfort back on track.

Start Organized

Being disorganized is a common time waster when you work from home. It’s easy for things to get cluttered when you live in a small space. That is why the minimalist approach to storage and decor is the best way to optimize the space and get rid of unnecessary distractions. Start by organizing your work desk and removing anything that takes the focus from your job. Place all your stationery tools in desk drawers so they are out of view but within reach. Keeping sentimental items, such as photos, is a great way to decorate, but avoid putting them directly in front of you on the desk. Instead, designate a shelf elsewhere for such items.

Rethink Your Entire Living Space

When you simply cannot find the perfect spot, it may be time for a small home makeover. Move the couch to the darker area of the living room so you can take advantage of the light coming through the windows. Move your bedroom to the spare room closer to the street so you can turn the quieter room into your workspace. When all else fails, you can start thinking about getting rid of items to make space for your office.

Creating a definitive work space with a functioning HVAC system is the best way to keep yourself on track. If you lose motivation when things become too familiar, don’t be afraid to apply these tips to a new space in your home. Sometimes changing things up slightly can help you work more efficiently.

About the Author (Sarah Noel)
Sarah Noel and her boyfriend, both left corporate jobs to work as freelancers, chasing balance between the work they loved and the life they wanted. They’ve taught themselves how to work smarter, not harder. They’ve committed to separating work and home so that they can enjoy both. Now, with TaylorandNoel.com, they’re sharing their best practices with other freelancers, in hopes they can do the same.

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Challenges for Women in STEM (and the Benefits of Overcoming Them as a Digital Nomad)

There are increasing numbers of women and young girls interested in entering the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. However, women are still vastly underrepresented in career fields such as pilot, mechanical engineer, vehicle mechanic, and computer scientist, among many others. Both genders are equally capable of performing well in science, technology, engineering, and math, but women face certain hiring, promotion, and equal pay hurdles in many STEM fields that do not affect men in the same numbers. Here are some of the challenges that women in STEM encounter. 

Lack of Confidence 

Lack of confidence is a normal reaction to going into a field where you are an underrepresented minority, whether it is due to your race, gender, religion, or another factor. The majority that men hold in STEM careers can easily become a self-perpetuating cycle as women lack the confidence required to become a trailblazer and possibly one of the only women to have a particular job title at a company. One way to overcome this is to have more visible female role models. Visibility gives impressionable young people especially the confidence to know that they can enter a particular sector just as well as anyone else. Having a mentor of the same demographic group is another way to help women in STEM to build confidence.

Negative Stereotypes

Stereotypes can be very harmful to underrepresented groups entering a STEM education or career. One of the negative stereotypes encountered by women in STEM includes thinking that they are quota hires. Another stereotype is that women who enter STEM fields are somehow less feminine than those who enter more stereotypically female jobs. This is harmful because masculinity and femininity have nothing to do with someone’s ability to do their job well. Although stereotypes can be deep-rooted in society, one way to overcome negative assumptions includes better education surrounding topics such as gender. 

Work Environments

In career sectors that have typically mostly had men, the work environment may have evolved in such a way that is less accommodating to women. One example is a company being inhospitable to the idea of taking time off in order to deal with sick children, which is a responsibility that often goes to women, even in two-parent households. 

While not easy, one way to overcome an inhospitable work environment for women in STEM is for a woman to start their own business in a STEM field. People starting a business should carefully consider which type of business structure would be best for their specific financial needs. In addition, new business owners should always check the rules and regulations in their state regarding company ownership. 

Professional Development

Another hurdle is that some women may be unaware of professional development courses available to them in STEM fields. Staying up to date with knowledge and skills is important to improving the chances of getting a promotion and having other career opportunities arise. Completing an educational course and passing an assessment at the end show that someone has certain skills and is willing to go the extra mile to learn new skills. 

Accessibility to Freelance Opportunities

Women in STEM may also be unaware of the freelancing opportunities available to them, such as becoming software developers for small businesses. Freelancing enables clients to work from anywhere with people in their chosen career fields. 

Consider these challenges if you are a woman in STEM, and take advantage of things such as freelancing to boost your resume. 

About the Author (Sarah Noel)
Sarah Noel and her boyfriend, both left corporate jobs to work as freelancers, chasing balance between the work they loved and the life they wanted. They’ve taught themselves how to work smarter, not harder. They’ve committed to separating work and home so that they can enjoy both. Now, with TaylorandNoel.com, they’re sharing their best practices with other freelancers, in hopes they can do the same.

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The New Nomad Life

Image courtesy of Unsplash

The New Nomad Life

When you can work anywhere in the world. When you look at a map to plan your next commute to the office. When your laptop and smartphone are your coworkers, you may just be a digital nomad. With the whole world as your workspace, you’re left with only one decision—-where should I go? Remote Control has a few ideas.

Rohnert Park, California

A ninety-minute drive north of San Francisco, Rohnert Park, in south Sonoma County has everything a digital nomad like you could ask for. It is business-friendly and has an educated workforce, good schools, and affordable rents. Rohnert Park has both apartments and long and short-term housing rentals that are significantly lower in price than most other California cities and towns. From vineyards to redwood trees, this section of California is a nature lover’s heaven. Outdoor recreation in the many state and national parks, upscale and moderate restaurants, easy transportation, widely available high-speed internet, and lots of local color make this town one of the top destinations for today’s digital nomad. 

Chiang Mai, Thailand

This city is at the top of most lists in the digital nomad world. It’s got modern coworking spaces, a low cost of living, and lush jungle beauty with breathtaking temples. The cost of living in Chiang Mai is under a thousand dollars per month with rent. It’s a vibrant city and has all the amenities you could want. Culture Trip notes that Chiang Mai’s Old City is a popular place to live for many reasons, including the ability to travel the entire city by foot with restaurants, bars, and shopping easily accessible. Nimmanhaemin is where you’ll find most of your fellow digital nomads, the culture there is famous for Avante-Garde coffee shops, galleries, and some spectacular bars. 

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Another city that consistently tops the list of best places for digital nomads, you’ll see very little of what you’d normally find in Mexico there. In fact, only a handful of people who live there were born in the country. With the Caribbean practically at your doorstep and a population of young professionals and artists, it offers all the comforts of home but with a far lower price tag. It has reliable and fast Wi-Fi and affordable coworking spaces. If you’re looking for a warm, beachy, upbeat city that’s affordable, this may be worth putting on your itinerary. 

Miami, Florida

An international hub in one of the most beautiful, temperate, and lively cities in the US, Digital Nomad World points out that Miami is fast becoming a favorite for digital nomads from all over the globe. An above-average educated workforce of multilingual professionals and a diverse culture makes for an exciting mix of people to network with. Add in world-class restaurants and entertainment and it presents a very exciting place to live, too. North Miami offers more affordable housing than South Beach while still being close to beaches. 

Digital Nomad Tips

Being a nomad doesn’t mean you aren’t still expected to follow the same business rules as more stationary entrepreneurs. If you structure your business as an LLC, your personal assets will be protected should your business finances fail. Appointing a registered agent as an LLC is strongly advised as they will receive all your legal documents while you may, at times, be out-of-pocket. First, learn how to start an LLC.

You’ll be constantly meeting new people and finding a place to print new business cards can be a hassle. Use a tool that allows you to create your own on the go. With the chance to choose how they look, you can create a design to suit your present surroundings with colors, fonts, and style. With loads of pre-made templates to choose from, you can create an elegant and attractive business card.  

The digital nomad may be the wave of the future for the new way we do business, but finding a place to put down roots, no matter how temporary, is still an important need we all have. 

About the Author (Sarah Noel)
Sarah Noel and her boyfriend, both left corporate jobs to work as freelancers, chasing balance between the work they loved and the life they wanted. They’ve taught themselves how to work smarter, not harder. They’ve committed to separating work and home so that they can enjoy both. Now, with TaylorandNoel.com, they’re sharing their best practices with other freelancers, in hopes they can do the same.

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South Surf School, Costa Rica: The Witch’s Rock Surf Camp of the South

Best place to learn to surf in southern Costa Rica (Dominical, Playa Hermosa, Uvita)

Hot and Dry in the North
I just got back from a fun trip with the family up north in Guanacaste. I’m not going to lie, it’s super dry up there! At one point while swimming (the surf isn’t great up there now, waves are super small on the pacific side during the summer) someone pointed and said “look! A cactus on the side of the hill.” Tamarindo and Nosara are super popular, many more tourists up there. That said, my body and my skin seemed to like things a lot better as we drove south to Uvita.

With Surfing, the Learning Never Stops
The summer months in Costa Rica not only produce less rain, they make the water more clear and, for better or worse, smaller waves. That’s not good if you aren’t a strong paddler like me, but it’s definitely great for learning. My favorite waves are somewhere in between: not small, but not too big. We were blessed recently with a little bump, so I decided it was a great opportunity to get a few lessons (I prefer to call them coaching sessions, it makes me feel better), so I messaged Jossue from South Surf School to check their availability. I know Witch’s Rock Surf Camp is super popular and if you find yourself up north, I can understand why. If you’re further south in the Osa Peninsula area and looking for a great Surf Holiday in Costa Rica, I highly recommend South Surf, here’s why (South Surf on TripAdvisor)…

South Surf Camps are good for all ages.

Get on Your Feet Fast (Catch a “Green Wave”)
Paddling is great, but depending on how long you are in Costa Rica for, you have one goal: SURF. Jossue and the South Surf Costa Rica instructors seem to be very in tune with helping clients/students achieve that goal as quickly as possible. If you’re staying in Costa Rica for a longer period of time and want to work on other surfing skills, you may view your learning curve differently. But if your goal is getting to your feet and surfing as quickly as possible, these folks help you make it happen.

Super Safe Learning Environment
I always felt safe with Jossue in the water. Not only is the guy a sick surfer, he’s a certified lifeguard. On top of that, he’s clearly friends with the lifeguards at Play Hermosa (Osa Peninsula), so I always felt like there were extra eyes on us. Maybe not, but feeling safe is psychological and it’s important to have a good head space while learning to surf.

Fun and Positive Atmosphere
Maybe this is a standard thing in lessons or camps, but there’s a lot of whistling and cheering when you catch waves. I even saw Jossue whistling and cheering on students/beginners that he wasn’t giving a lesson to. They say surfing is all about “sharing the stoke.” Sometimes surfing isn’t fun. It’s hard. So having a positive person with a huge smile saying positive things while learning is a huge plus.

Amenities for Non-Surfers (and close to Envision)
My wife isn’t a surfer. No judgements there, it’s just not her thing. South Surf also rents super comfy lounge chairs and umbrellas. Playa Hermosa is a beautiful beach, it’s just north of the Envision Festival grounds. If you’re in Uvita for Envision, even if you don’t want a lesson, you can rent boards or chairs from South Surf and relax on your own terms. If you have a special request for a group coming in, let Jossue know. I have some friends coming down next week for a trip. All are of different levels of surfing. We’re going to have a photographer there with some extra snacks (and beers if we can talk him into providing those as well), so we can create our perfect surf school experience.

When it comes to learning to surf in Costa Rica or choosing a Costa Rica surf camp, there are many different options. You can choose intense all inclusive, a little more relaxed “2 hour session” approach or something in between. I feel like South Surf Costa Rica provides you with the flexibility, knowledge and focus on customer service to design how it is you’d like to learn to surf. Whether that is on your own with a few hour surfboard rental or a more dedicated private lesson from a certified professional.


Private, 2-Hour Surf Lesson

Playa Hermosa Lifeguards

South Surf School on Instagram

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India Motorcycle Tours with Two Wheeled Expeditions

India Motorcycle Tours (Photo Copyright TWE)

Photo Copyright TWE

Ever since college, I’ve wanted to go to Nepal. It’s definitely a bucket list item and at this point it may be my wife and I going after the kids leave the house (which is fine by me). When we lived in San Francisco, I rode my Ducati Monster everywhere. I put 1,200 miles on it the first week I bought it. I love riding motorcycles.

I recently found out that an amazing group of people started running India motorcycle tours (as well as Nepal) through an outfit they call Two Wheeled Expeditions. I think it’s an incredible idea and looked into it a little more.

Along with having great experience with motorcycles and travel, a massive plus is how they approach capturing the experience. Personally, I suck at remembering to take photos, so the idea that TWE handles those details, professionally, is a huge plus. I know two of the staff through creative (ad)ventures, so I know that aspect of it will be super professional, that my memories of the expedition will be collected and presented in the best way possible.

Adventures are nothing without the stories that follow and the TWE site had enough to make me stoked about considering this as an add-on potential to an already existing trip. As you’ve noticed from videos long ago, trip stacking is a favorite strategy for getting more out of your travel. In fact, trip stacking has us back in the U.S. about 1-2 months out of the year, we end up seeing a lot of friends and family members while we’re there. I don’t know what our specific plans for Nepal will be, but the idea that we can make a trip there, then add a motorcycle tour in India (and/or Nepal) as part of the overall trip sounds absolutely perfect.

The best thing about being a digital nomad is choosing where you go, when you go, and how you get there. I haven’t met any on motorcycles (a few on bicycles), but riding a motorcycle is the ultimate freedom for traveling through a place at a decent speed, while feeling you are part of the surroundings. With Nepal and India on the list, experiencing them on two wheels sounds like a dream.

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Filed under Digital Nomads, India Motorcycle Tours

Featured in Forbes: Remote Control (Running Your Business From Anywhere)

Featured in Forbes

Noel, Featured in Forbes

I am humbled and thrilled to have been featured in a Forbes article about running my company remotely. I’ll save the specifics for the article itself, which can be found here, but suffice it to say that our move to Costa Rica has been wonderful on so many levels. Coupled with the fact that the year before our move was one of the most stressful and difficult in my life (except for the birth of my son, which was amazing), I now have a better work/life balance, literally everything is better, even through a family tragedy that took place while we were here.

My company, struggling through growing pains the year before we left, is thriving, showing 25% growth last year and on schedule to grow 50% this year. We’re approaching 2 years as a 4 day work week company, with a happy and hard working team.

Whatever move you’re looking to make in your life, whether it’s making your company remote, keeping your company in the same place, but working remotely yourself, or some other version of living the life you want, take additional steps in making that happen. In the words of the late, great, Wayne Dyer:

“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.”


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Filed under Digital Nomads, Expats, Location Independence, Motivation, Working Remotely

Remote Working, Distributed Teams and Bali


Image Copyright Evan Lovely – Flickr


A quick post about a few recent articles that came across my radar, both are definitely worth a read. More and more companies are seeing the benefits of distributed teams, through cost savings and the ability to hire great people without requiring them to uproot their lives. Plenty of people have reasons for staying where they are: family, school, jobs of a partner, etc.

If you’re considering a location independent lifestyle, time is on your side, the business world is moving in this direction. Why not make the move now and start living the life you want to live. We’re only here for a short while. Forget the commute, the stress of getting to work every day.

I see a lot of “view from the office” photos promoting digital nomadism. Many of them show an umbrella drink in hand, which I believe paints an incorrect picture of what it takes to make this work. You don’t wake up and start the day with a margarita in your normal job (maybe you do, but that’s none of my business). My point is that behind every digital nomad umbrella drink photo, there is a person who hustles every day to keep their dream alive. Those that don’t hustle, don’t last. The hustle is real when you have beautiful beaches and friends asking you to surf every day.

This is not to say you should make the leap to this new way of living only to be shacked up in an AC office and never enjoying your surroundings. Reframe the way you look at work and you can reap the benefits most people dream of. More people and companies are reframing what success looks like in the real world and I am consistently in awe of and applauding the Buffer team’s moves in shaking up the ideologies of what it is to be a successful start up.

Sidenote: I’m loving my life in Costa Rica, but Bali is looking pretty damn good after the piece below. 😉


Buffer ditches its offices to go 100% remote, startups should too

Why working from the beach in Bali is the new cool

I wouldn’t change my digital nomad life for anything: Jacob Laukaitis


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Overcoming the Fear of Surfing Bigger Waves (and Everything Else)

Don't believe it.

Don’t believe it.

I’m no expert on overcoming fears, but since I started surfing, there are very few things in my day to day at work that elicit the same response as seeing a large outside set wave heading towards me. I recently spoke at a conference in front of a group of intelligent, scientific people. Never once in my preparation or during my presentation did I wish I was somewhere else until it passed. I can’t say the same for plenty of moments during surf sessions.

I’ve linked to several free articles and would recommend reading the Fear Project (also below), but here are a few things that have helped me. I am hardly fear-free, I have “fight or flight” kicking at some point in 2 out of every 4 sessions, but I’ve changed my relationship with fear when I’m out in the water. And, when it comes to fear or nervousness relating to situations outside of surfing, I have big waves as a reference point to help me downsize whatever situation is in front of me.

Repeated exposure to safely uncomfortable conditions

Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it…that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear. ~ Dale Carnegie

I really want to be good at surfing. Not to win competitions or to impress anyone, I just want it to be an activity that I continue improving and excelling at in my life. I end up thinking about it quite a bit and because I’m able to paddle out almost every day, I can have some days where I work on specific things without the risk of wasting one day out of seven while on vacation.

I periodically go out in less than comfortable conditions for me personally. This isn’t to say I’m intentionally unsafe, but I’ll go out a low tide, for example, knowing I’ll catch less waves and probably be humbled, simply because I want to feel what the ocean is like when the waves are faster and more hollow. Recognizing what has to be different involves a reconsideration of existing habits (“I REALLY need to paddle faster to catch these”) and an improvement in form. Any regular surf day after a low tide session is met with more confidence. The same goes with wave size.

Become an expert at duck diving

Duck diving is one of the most powerful functional moves in surfing. Not only does it help you conserve energy, but doing it the right way, consistently, reduces your chances of getting hammered unnecessarily. Not only that, but nothing is better than ducking under a giant oncoming wave, popping out the other side unscathed, energized and ready for the next one.

Not only does it provide you more options (tools) while you are in the water, it is safer and works with the flow of the ocean. I still ditch my board sometimes. I don’t like to, but it happens. When you duck dive, you are hanging onto your board with more control, so even if you don’t go deep enough and get sucked backwards, the thing you are hanging onto is bound by physics to be your quickest ride to the surface. I realize this isn’t possible for all board types (long boards, for example), but if your’e on a board you can technically push under the water for a second or two, work at perfecting that shit, you’ll thank yourself later.

If John John Florence duck dive the length of his pool, you can learn to duck dive your board for 1-2 seconds…

Learn to love wiping out
I’m no spring chicken. My injuries take longer to heal than when I was in my twenties and thirties. That said, I’ve found that many of my surfing injuries are from fighting the energy in the waves rather than going with the flow.

I started noticing friends who were great surfers laughing after they wiped out (or at least giving a “whoooo!” sound afterwards). So I started laughing at myself, how ridiculous I must have looked yelling “don’t kill me, I’ve got kids!” to an uncaring wave while rag dolling over the falls. In laughing at myself, I’ve changed the association with wiping out into a positive experience and have found that I’m now significantly more relaxed during a wipeout (opening your eyes under water helps as well).

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” ― Jim Morrison

Watch videos of people wiping out
When I first started surfing, I was so intent on getting good fast that I didn’t want to “poison” my mind with visions of people wiping out. Somehow, I figured, if I didn’t watch people wipe out, I would do it less.

That’s a laughable thought now, but as soon as I started, I learned a few key things:
1. Everyone wipes out, even the pros. It’s part of moving quickly across the top of water on a liquid slope.
2. Nearly 100% of wipeouts you see online are not fatal. The people in those spine tinglers lived to tell their story and surf another day.
3. Watching people wipe out shows you new ways to wipe out. What better way to learn to love something than to get better at it?

I love watching videos of The Wedge. It is amazing to me that so many people love to surf a wave that so clearly hates humans.

Wait for your will to catch bigger waves to outpace your fear of them

This is one of the most important parts. You need to play it “safe” and should always know your limits, but until you have the interest to ride bigger waves and that interest outweighs your fear of some of those that come in, you’ll stay where you are. That’s just fine. Once you catch a few larger waves, see it goes very well and get the buzz that goes along with the ride, they won’t seem as big.

My will to catch bigger waves lead to me doing quite a bit of research, including watching videos, reading blog posts and reading The Fear Project. I’ve listed some of those links below. Whether it is surfing or anything else you’re trying to tackle, my sincere wish is that something in this post gives you the motivation to go for it.

The Fear Project by Jaimal Yogis


Your Brain on Fear

How to overcome fear of bigger waves/how to paddle out?

The best surfing advice you’ve ever been given: Feel the fear and do it anyway

Surfology’s “Who Knows?” Q&A Question about Mental Exercises to Overcome Fear

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Fun Things to Do With Kids in Dominical and Uvita, Costa Rica

I recently had someone ask me what they could do in Dominical with kids for a week and a half. Having young children, I know this question is somewhat loaded, in that the real goal is what can be fun for both parents and kids. It’s the reason so many children’s movies these days are filled with inside jokes only adults will get. So it goes with travel activities.

The list below is what I offered, so I figured I may as well turn it into a post to be referenced the next time we have friends ask about activities here.

  • Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary: We went with some friends and I was really impressed (wasn’t sure what to expect, but I would go back for sure). They take in rescue animals, so many beautiful birds, monkeys, armadillos, sloths. Each animal has a story and the people who run it are super passionate about saving them. As many animals as possible are released back into the wild, but some have to stay indefinitely because they wouldn’t survive in the wild. The tour is long enough to be worth the visit, but short enough so kids don’t get too antsy (we had ages 3 months – 6 years between four kids).

    Copyright Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

    Copyright Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary


  • Friday Feria (Farmer’s Market): It’s on the north side of Domincal off of the main entrance road, near Mono Congo and Mama Toucan’s Natural Food Store). There is another feria on Tuesday mornings in Tina Mastes (you have to go early, be there by 9am at the latest because much of the good stuff is gone by then). The one on Friday in Domi lasts longer, you don’t need to get there early and I’ve seen vendors there as late as 2pm.
  • Surf Lessons: Surfing in Dominical is top notch. The water is very warm, you can surf year round and no sharks. The #1 rated Costa Rica surf camp is Sunset Surf Dominical. The coaches are super positive, they make it safe and easy and have a kid/family friendly approach to learning how to surf. Fun for the whole family.
  • Cafe Mono Congo: It’s a great little cafe that is a hub for a lot of people, tourists and locals alike. The staff are super friendly and there are plenty of places to sit down, either in the main area, on swings at a “bar” or at a table overlooking the Baru River. You can sit down, relax and the kids can run around a bit, write with chalk on the walls, etc. We go on Fridays or Saturdays because we’re not in a hurry and they can run around while we wait for breakfast.

    Mono Congo Chalk Art

    Copyright Cafe Mono Congo


  • PorQueNo?: This is a popular restaurant a little south of town, near the water. It’s beautiful, waves smash against the rocks. They have awesome pancakes for breakfast and are kid friendly. Sidenote about Costa Rica: Ticos (Costa Ricans) are very kid friendly, it’s really a noticeable difference from other countries, so when going into many restaurants, you’ll notice that feeling exists even in places of business. PorQueNo? has a little “kids corner” in the lobby, so while you’re sitting at your table, they can play with toys or grab some and bring them back to the table, no worries.
  • Dominical Beach Frontage Road: I don’t know what this is technically called, but it’s the road that Tortilla Flats is on, behind the lifeguard stand at Playa Dominical. They have a lot of vendors there selling gifts and souvenirs. That won’t take you too long to do, but if you’re by the beach or in town, it would be cool to check out. A vendor named Alex is usually there (out in front of Tortilla Flats), he makes cute toys out of found objects in nature.
    Dominical Toys by Alex
  • Family Beach Day: Playa Hermosa. Playa Dominical is great, but many families we know of (and ours) go to Playa Hermosa for family beach days. You can sit under trees, the ocean is close and depending on when you go, there will be lots of kids there. They have a few vendors selling ceviche, pipas (coconuts), etc. We take snacks and beer in a cooler and then buy pipas and ceviche for the novelty. I’ve lived here about a year and a half and sharing a cold pipa with my kids on the beach never gets old.
  • Ponzo Azul (Waterfall) in Dominicalito: It has been raining, so i’m sure the waterfall is going strong, but there’s a little pond area there where you can swim in fresh water. You go through the Dominicalito pueblo, cross the bridge on the left and you’ll see it up about 500 meters on the right (car park on the left). There are bigger waterfalls in the area, but that one is easy to get to without a hike. 1 minute of walking from your car and you’re there. Tip the older guy sitting there, he watches cars for tips (and beers, which is what i usually give him when I pass by).
  • Costa Kids Yoga: I think this is Mondays, but check out their page. It’s in a beautiful place (Manoas Luxury Camping and Villas) and the kids have fun, my daughter loves it and where she learned one of my favorite pre-bedtime phrases to calm down and go to sleep: “Peace starts with me.” 

    Costa Kids Yoga

    Copyright Costa Kids Yoga

  • Community Carbon Trees (aka Tree Jenny): I don’t know how often she does these, but kids LOVE her, my daughter is a huge fan. She runs an organization that plants trees. Her energy is great (she was dressed up like a bee when I went) and teaches kids about the environment, planting trees and you can sponsor/plant trees to make your trip “carbon neutral.”
  • Uvita/Ballena National Park (the Whale’s Tail): A little further south than Dominical, but also a great place to go to the beach. Uvita is slightly bigger than Dominical and has two big supermarkets (called BMs), so you’ll likely go there anyway for groceries. There’s a toy store across the street from the BM in Uvita (just FYI).
  • Catarata Uvita (Waterfall): I haven’t been yet, but this one is bigger and apparently beautiful. It’s $1 per adult. Take a left at the BCR bank in Uvita (you’ll see the big square sign) and follow the road, you’ll see it or people driving/walking to it.
  • Manuel Antonio: This is a great little day trip, it’s fun to go there to “get away” from Dominical. There’s an awesome breakfast place called Emilio’s (we pretty much go every time we head to MA).
  • Villas Rio Mar (in Dominical, along the river past Mono Congo): It’s almost like a little country club, but they have villas there. We go because if you eat lunch there you can swim in the pool while you’re eating and the pool is big. A fun place to relax for a couple of hours (they have a little playground as well).
  • Ice Cream (Delicias on the main road in Domi): Ice cream. It makes kids and parents very happy. 🙂 In Uvita, there is a new place called Lick It (yep). It’s on the main highway in a little shopping area next to the Uvita gas station and next to Wing It (same owners).
  • Tours, Rentals and Activities: There’s a great organization here called Costa Concierge. They run some of the popular community Facebook groups and local events calendar. All around, they pretty much know everyone and everything going on in the Dominical and Uvita area. If you’re looking for tours, rafting trips, surf lessons, yoga or spa services, they’ve got you covered.

I hope this is a helpful list of things to do and if you have any more ideas or suggestions, please add them in the comments.

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