Do you remember my last post when I mentioned how for me traveling and writing was mainly about the people I met in the places I have been? Well, Jaime Peligro's Bookstore in Tamarindo, Costa Rica is exactly what I meant.
I came across Jaime's bookstore while looking for stamps last year while on my very first trip to Costa Rica and if you've ever been to Tamarindo and walked around the streets, you probably would have noticed the signs on the trees pointing to his store.
Any book lover will tell you, there is something about being around them. For me, it's about feeling at home even if I am miles away from it. Jaime's store is a safe haven.
Just picture this: rows and rows of books in English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Swedish, and more... with artifacts all around that will immediately put a smile on your face. The store is the perfect combination of cultural references and vintage pieces - there's an actual copy of an Abbey Road record hanging from the ceiling - and all with this particular atmosphere that you feel when you step into a shop that is clearly so far off unique compared to any other carefully tidy boutiques. The piles of books, the notes on the wall, and the little signs here and there, make it a little look messy and yet, it's exactly why it's so great and you feel like at home. You can tell that every little thing detail has a meaning and it is not important if it doesn't fit right in. Eventually, when you look at the bigger picture, it actually does. It's not perfect and it doesn't need to be, and that's what makes the place so alive.
But there is more to Jaime than his shop. There is the man himself.
This is actually a first for me, to write about someone I actually got to interview. And what was great is was that, I didn't even need to ask that many questions, which was pretty cool. I never really know when I’m crossing the line and or when I just start to become too intrusive, and the hour we spent talking with Jaime just went smoothly with one topic leading very naturally to the next. In the end, it just felt like having a random - yet great - conversation with someone you had just met. It was nice, relaxed, and full of wisdom.
Believe it or not, Jamie's story started with a wine business in California. The money was good and the job was pretty great but being a father became more important. So he thought of a new business plan inspired by an unplanned trip to Costa Rica and with a huge leap of faith later, Jaime opened the first bookstore in the city.
Be open-minded. You don't have nearly as much patience as you think you do. You will learn to have more patience while traveling.
I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and even if sometimes we just do things that don't seem to make a lot of sense at the time, we still end up doing them. Eventually these same exact things are the reason why everything eventually falls into place. Moving to a new country with an entrepreneurial mission in mind can be both exhilarating and daunting.
I like the way Jaime handled his move to Costa Rica. Nothing really went as planned and yet, things still turned out pretty well. He carefully picked Tamarindo because of the large tourists and expatriates community where he could develop a book-trading system. He poured his personality into his shop and knew he could rely on his experiences in business to make it work.
The truth is, moving to a place like Tamarindo and starting a business is not a romantic ideal. It goes beyond the parties and the sweet sunsets to do it and that's why I enjoyed talking with Jaime so much. His story is one of sharing, of empathy. It is about being more than just a tourist, an expat or an entrepreneur.
In the end, traveling is about the things you're willing to leave behind and all the events you will no longer be able to be present for. It's also about steering your life towards a new direction and sometimes giving it a whole new meaning, hoping that eventually, it was all worth it.
Pura Vida :)