Michael Crowther has been working for the same company for years now. Last year he was able to persuade his employer to let him keep his job…but work remotely from Costa Rica.
Now every weekend is an adventure in a tropical paradise. In the past month, the family went zip-lining in Manuel Antonio on the central Pacific coast…peered into the crater of Poas Volcano…sat in the hot springs in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano…and went snorkeling in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
Michael, 38, is performing the same duties and keeping much the same hours as he did previously in Utah…although he now works 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to allow for the time difference.
“I work that schedule so that I can take advantage of the way the light is in Costa Rica…so it’s nice,” says Michael.
As he looks out the window of his rented house in Puriscal, it’s another perfect day. The temperature is ideal year-round here in the Central Valley, one of the reasons he and his wife, Hannah, chose to live in this part of Costa Rica. A toucan perches on a branch of the mandarin tree outside as Michael heads into his home office to begin his workday.
It was three years ago that Michael first had the idea that he’d love to have an international experience with his family. He and Hannah have four children, and she agreed it would be rewarding for all of them. For the next two years they researched destinations and considered whether or not Michael would leave his job.
The Crowthers picked Costa Rica for several reasons. Living in Central America, they would be on the same time zone as Michael’s company (or close to it). He also had some background in Spanish, which would be helpful. And the country is a tropical paradise, with a lower cost of living than the United States.
After choosing a place, it was time to approach his boss to see if he could keep his job while abroad—a job that involves customer support, account management, and building online surveys.
“About a year before we were looking to go, I brought it up with my boss,” says Michael. “We didn’t have a great setup for working remotely, so this was a pretty new idea, and I wasn’t sure how it would be received.”
He was surprised at how open his boss was to the idea. However there were concerns. How would Michael access files and servers located only in the office? How would they ‘meet’ if needed?
Michael was able to come up with solutions to every concern raised by his boss.
It’s been several months now since they made the move. Work has continued as it did back at “home.” Many of Michael’s co-workers hardly even notice that he’s gone. He keeps in daily contact with them as well as with clients. It’s almost as though he’s still working in the office back in the States.
But at 4 p.m. Michael’s workday is over. He leaves the “office”/bedroom and walks out to his outdoor patio. The temperature is perfect, as usual. As a family they spend some time before dinner planning their weekend. Swimming with dolphins on the Osa Peninsula on the southern Pacific coast sounds like the next great adventure.
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