03 . ’19 | Finca Bellavista | Costa Rica

How I knew it was time to leave my job and everything I knew behind.

26th of March ’19 marked the return from my month-long retreat in a self sustaining tree-house community in Costa Rica called Finca Bellavista. Leading up to this month was a self-destructive pattern for years in pursuit of success.

Quoc An Nguyen
3 min readMay 15, 2019


The early beginnings.

But to really understand how I got to this point, it’s important to understand where I’m coming from. So let me take you back to the where it all started.

I’m the son of a refugee family, first-generation born Vietnamese. My family has known a lot of adversity. And through the course of my life, I’ve had my fair share.

… from all the adversity, you create a hunger and a yearning desire.

But I think the adversity and scarcity have been the most important things in my life. Instead of seeing them as burdens, I’ve come to realise that they’ve been my biggest gift. Because from all the adversity, you create a hunger and a yearning desire. And it’s that desire that has led to me to where I am today, both good and bad.

I went from nothing, to being able to go to Costa Rica and having the chance to reflect on the past 34 years of my life.

My future defined.

From a very early age on my parents made it clear that dentistry was going to be my profession. So I grew up knowing what my future would look like. And like a good son is supposed to, I walked the plank.

Mom and dad in front of their pharmacy in the early ‘90s.

I was never the fastest runner or the smartest thinker. But I was taught that by persevering and hard work, everything is within reach. I graduated dentistry in 2011 and made the decision that would change the course of my life. To start my own business. Within a few years, I started more ventures. Following the example set by my parents.

If you change nothing, nothing will change.

Fast forward to present day, 2019. Seven years of constant pushing myself, relentlessly putting in hours and ignoring everything around me has led me to hit a brick wall. Slowly being consumed by a vortex of depression, self-destruction and hitting rock bottom has forced me to wake up and take inventory of what’s important in life.

So I did the unthinkable; leaving my businesses to disappear into the jungle, untraceable for everyone and cut off from everything I knew. Going off-grid for a full month to face my own demons.

Casa Tamandua, my sanctuary in Costa Rica

Pura Vida

Being away for a full month has given me the opportunity to view everything I knew from a different perspective. To re-evaluate what my priorities are and reflect on the last few years of my life.

I’ve come to realise that, behind the veneer of hitting targets, chasing numbers and climbing the ladder of succes, lies nothing. Doing so for many years leaves you hollow and in a void that no amount of success can fulfil.

Having been in the jungle, being part of a small community has shown me a different side of living. People here don’t care about what you do, how successful you are or how many businesses you own. They care about enjoying the sounds they hear, the food they taste and the stories that define you.

I went to Costa Rica looking for answers and I think I’ve found the most profound one.

They call it Pura Vida, to live life to the fullest.