Although 2014 had begun in a focused manner with my complete dedication to getting my new websites up and running and the marketing in place to start generating leads, there were people around me that did not want to see me succeed. This could have been because I was entering a place in my life where I was happy and they were miserable or they were just extremely jealous. The old “business partner” that had brought me out to the Central Pacific area had now run away to the Nicoya Peninsula with his Tica girlfriend since he had burned just about everyone in the Jaco and Hermosa area including clients he had coming in for bachelor parties.
I had watched over and over again, the clients that he brought in for vacations left pissed off and mad. They were promised things they did not receive and basically had money stolen from them. I knew that his business would soon be a thing of the past and if it was organized and done properly, could make money. Some may say it was unethical for me to start a business similar to his but travel and tourism are not copyrighted by a single person in Costa Rica, nor did I ever have anything in writing with the scammer. If I had a non-compete clause in a contract with him I would not have begun the new business.
Although he supposedly looked at the newspaper on a daily basis, he did not notice for about 3 weeks that a banner had been placed on it to generate leads. When he saw it, the threats and repeated phone calls came in. “I am coming after you”, “Hope you are ready”, and “We are coming for you pussy.” All of these things hit a quick nerve in me for about 20 minutes until I started to think rationally. This idiot had zero legal leg to stand on, he had no passport, he was driving a car without marchamo, and not one person in the area believed his lies anymore. The only person that was on his side was his employee that he had not paid in over 8 months and actually was in personal debt because he ran up over $2,500 on his credit card for the various groups that came in. He really wasn’t someone that had any real reason to have his back other than the possibility of getting paid in the long run.
The only solution I have found that works to deal with these abusive asshats is to ignore them and to not let them affect you at all. After a while they will just go away. Email was blocked, Skype was blocked, phone calls were being ignored but I still had my ear to the pavement to listen for any problems coming my way. I was even warned about him trying to force collections on me. For those who do not understand collections in Costa Rica, it is not the same as collections in the USA where there are phone calls or repos. In Costa Rica collections is a gun to your head or a near death ass beating. The funny thing is that the people he was asking to do this I had connections to and they had no intention to do anything or send the thugs my way.
He had two last groups come in that he managed to take even more money while he was hiding. He even sent his girlfriend to go pick up the cash and buy some weed for him on her way back to his hideout. There was only one problem. These two groups were beyond pissed off and found out how much he was taking them for. They wanted to be reimbursed the money he had taken, which I am sure had mostly been spent on drugs and items that were unnecessary. I guess he needed anything to escape the reality of his current life. His business was failing, he had not made any money over 4 years in business, he was taking craps in the bushes and he had a cooler with ice in it instead of a fridge. If he was looking to go on a retreat to get away from the comforts of the world then he was well on his way, but this was just his life.
He was out of my life and never going to enter it again, but there was other drama brewing with my new “business partner”. I was continually catching her in tall tales. Payments were made but they were nearly always late and I had to start taking money out of my own pockets to fund the projects. What is the point of having someone financially back you if you are spending your own cash? The answer is nothing. When the New Year came around I was happy. I was swimming, I had my work time, and then my relax time. Living life with a smile on your face is more important than any amount of money. It might have taken me longer to get everything going but at least I would still have my sanity.
Every time my phone rang and I saw that the person calling was the “investor” I would cringe. I knew for the next 10 to 20 minutes I would need to walk on eggshells and let her think that I believed the stories she would make up in her head. In the end, all the acting she did was to trick my mind into ignoring the red flags pointing to the fact that she had the capability to get the projects going. All I wanted to do was believe that there was someone good out there that really wanted to see the success of someone else happen. I was wrong.
She truly had me believing that this person was going to help me finally accomplish my dreams; the biggest of which was getting the internship program going full force in Costa Rica. All of the work on the other projects was to try to get enough money to start the program. The dream was to start teaching students about journalism and about life in general. It might seem silly to some, but through my experiences I believe that I have a lot to offer a young adult making the decisions about life and what path they are going to take. I by no means have all the answers, but sharing with others my knowledge might help a few to start following their own dreams instead of those of society.
Before the “investor” and before the “ex-partner” I was fine doing things on my own and not being told what to do and when to do it. I knew the final goal and as long as you are taking a few positive steps forward each week, then it does not matter how long it takes to reach that goal. That is one thing I have learned in Costa Rica over the past few months. If you are able to accomplish your goals yourself then just enjoy life and stay focused and soon you will reach the light at the end of the tunnel. There are so many people in the world that do not understand that everything that happens, happens in its own time and trying to force it to be sooner can end up in more frustrations in your life.
I felt like I was an island surrounded by shark filled waters. The number of good people in the world seems to go down each and every day as the battle between good and evil rages on in this world. Is it supposed to be a battle each and every day? Why do people lie? Are there people still out there that try to do businesses ethically? All of these questions kept running through my mind as I felt like a grain of sand on a beach that did not matter. What are the things in life that matter most and how can I make sure that those positive things remain in my daily life?
On my island there were a few trees and I knew what had to be done. These would be the foundation to build my boat and safely cross these waters of life. I knew that there would be rough water and storms ahead, but with belief in myself, the shores on the other side would help accomplish my dreams. As I paddled out, the first waves were going to try to tip the boat over.
Next Up – Figuring it Out