About The Travel Hogz
HOW IT ALL STARTED
A true tale of a California guy and a California gal and their topsy turvey life journey together.
His name? Well, let's call him Travel Hog #1, for identity's sake, who lived in Woodland Hills, CA. Her name? Let's refer to her as Travel Hog #2, who lived in Los Angeles.
When they met end of 2007, they had three things in common. They loved having fun, loved traveling, and were looking for property. After dating for one year, they decided to move in together. Their travels began, the laughs became more apparent. 3 years later they bought a newly constructed condo in Woodland Hills, California together.
During 2008 they romance, fun, and adventure started with a few trips such as Mexico, Cabo, Puerto Rico etc.
As time went on, they ventured to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and even Bali, Indonesia. in 2017 T#2 was first received her taste of Europe from hearing stories from him and his life in Europe as a child and many trips thereafter as an adult. A surprise birthday trip to the UK and then to Paris and she was hooked. Oh what a dream to go & what would would it be like to adventure around Europe?????? Europe does that to you. It's like an appetite that gets larger with every visit.
This is where you need to direct your undivided attention, as this part of the story will go quickly. They lived in the condo they purchased for 5 years (2010 to 2015), sold it, then moved to Newport Coast, California for 2 years.
They wanted to pay cash for another home, unfortunately properties in that area were beyond their reach. Moving to another state didn't match the love for California weather. A search continued outside of the states. Wouldn't it be nice to live elsewhere other than the states that had similar weather?
T#1 had lived elsewhere as he lived in Iran, Switzerland, & London as a kid. T#2 was interested in seeing how other parts of the world experienced life and the trip to Europe was still swirling in the back of her brain.
They saw an HGTV version of homes in St. Croix, booked and caught a flight over to the Virgin Islands to speak to the same agent on the show about property there. Not only was it a 24-hour trip to get there, but the island was a bit too quiet. The properties were gorgeous though affordable, but had a $1200 / month HOA fee attached. No Thanks. NEXT!
Back to the drawing board and this time they ran across a developer in Costa Rica on Facebook. The luxury homes were developing in a remote location inside of a to-be gated community. Booked a flight and off they went on a 4 day discovery tour offered by the developer. They really enjoyed their stay!
Like any bright eyed eager, property hunting American, they were swooned into the sale of a paradise for a mediocre price to buy land and build. Was this a mistake or would they be missing out on a huge opportunity that could turn into a major winning decision in the future. There was no way they could get the type of home an environment if this was in the states!!!
In August 2016 they were happy owners of a 1 acre lot in Costa Rica with the perfect weather! 85-90 degree temperatures year round even in wet season. How bad could that be?
The developer noted a 1 year window before obligating to start construction.
The land and most of the construction was in the budget.
During the 2 years while living in Newport Coast, California, anticipation of getting a new home was eating away at them. They figured out that leaving our townhome in Newport Coast and traveling Europe would actually save money! How you ask? Here's the run down: Airbnb's monthly charges in Europe were much cheaper than paying for rent in Newport Coast! After all rent, water & power, and internet was included in the Airbnb fee! How cool is that? They would eliminate a car note, car insurance and maintenance. They figured they could fly to Europe, have fun for a year, then go to Costa Rica & live in a paid off home!!! What an idea! Aside from that, they both nudging the age of 50 at the time. It would make sense to tour Europe before they were too old to face all of the adventures Europe had in store.
End of February 2018, in a bit of winter cold, everything was sold, dogs were dropped at the Grammy's house, who waited for a WOOF Airlines handler to pick them up in a few days and fly them to Europe. Everything was packed in 4 suitcases that had any value to take with them. They hopped an Uber X and headed to LAX for a flight to Rome for 4 wonderful days.
While anxiously waiting at the airport, their flight was canceled! Oh no! The airlines was extremely passive about it. They tried to tell the Hogz to simply return home, but they had no home to return to in California! They were stuck!!!!
Luckily, after speaking to the right people, they were promptly accommodated at a nearby hotel, transportation and meals included. Hell, they were trying to save money, not waste it!!!
The next flight to Rome was the following afternoon and they were ready. Once boarded, a notice of SNOW IN ROME?????? WHAT THE? Ok!
Now only 3 days instead of 4 in Rome in icy freezing weather. Visits to the coliseum and other historical Roman places, great food made the wait worth while. Then on to Florence, Italy for 3 months. They hit every city they possibly could by train or even by tour.
Next stop, Croatia....end of May. They hired a transfers driver from a company on Instagram in hopes he would A. show up, and B. not be a most wanted serial killer in Europe. Turns out he was the best whom they friended and still communicated to the present day! He was so trustworthy and dependable that he was there for them on every transfer to each country for almost 2 years.
After 3 months in Split Croatia, the journey moved on to Budapest, Hungry. Horrible experience with most of the people. They never want to re-live tbut by making the best of it, they stayed 3 months and returned went back to Croatia. If you familiar with a U.S. passport and European Union rules, you know that you cannot stay in a Schengen union more than 3 months at a time without a Visa. Croatia is not part of the Schengen (speaking from before 2018/2019). Croatia became their hub. So where were we? Oh yes, they headed back to Croatia. This time a stay in Dubrovnik and finding out that it was the center stage of the popular show "Game of Thrones". They visit some iconic places and walked ancient ground and filmset where it was filmed. 3 months passed and then off to Greece!
My oh my what a country! Visits to the Parthenon, ancient ruins and even sacred places from the beginning of time. Greeks are definitely enchanting. Some of the spring months were cold which prompted a decision to fly to Belgium, then take trains to the Netherlands, Prague, even Switzerland. A two week vacation away from, well you know.....a vacation was a great idea that embarked on another epic chapter in their lives. The nerve of these Hogz! Back to Greece to finish the 3 months out in better weather and guess what, you guessed it. Back to Croatia. Split again. This time a bit in Split, Rijeka, Pula & Rovinj. From there, they flew to Valencia Spain. Once again used Woof Air to transport the dogs. Though fun the dislocation was turning into home sickness and the desire to settle creeping upon them. Where's the house in Costa Rica! It's been 19 months since they left California. Tired and emotionally distraught an early return to California due to the dance of the gigantic Spanish cockroaches. Don't worry we will spare you the ickiness. You can read all about that in Spain blog! They made the decision to send the pups back to Grammy's for 2 weeks, enjoy what time they had left in Valencia, Spain then headed back to the states and wait. Wait for a home that was taking an eternity to get answers and completion from the developer. The hunt for apartments in the O.C. California was priority.
They had done some research while in Europe and narrowed down apartment complexes. Once back in the states in Late September of 2019, and after spending almost two weeks in a hotel, they finally settled in at a fairly new apartment complex in Aliso Viejo near Laguna Nigel. Beautiful area.
Wow what an adventure but now the home construction in Costa Rica was the main focus. October 2019, a grim day for them when one of their pups sadly passed away. Their other pup was diagnosed with diabetes and went blind a day after the first pup passed away. There was a morbid black cloud over these two. Nothing felt good and nothing seemed to matter. But they had to keep pushing forward. December 2019 a new pup was added to the family and he brought back some of the joy they had lost.
February 2020 they jumped a flight to Costa Rica to find out what the heck was going with the house. The developer wasn't showing progress and asking for more money. Uh no! The Hogz were not naive.
Upon arrival in Costa Rica, they found out there was a lot of fraud and money problems with the developer. They were able to turn on the TRAVEL HOGZ CHARM to the right project managers and the construction seemed to start moving a bit faster after returning to the states. Updates, progress and full steam ahead! But lo and behold March 2020, COVID-19 hit and the Hogz were stuck. Construction slowed but fortunately, with the help of the project mangers for the developer, they kept in touch. But things were still a bit fishy. Other people's homes were being worked on!
Covid ruined travel so months later they could not fly in to check on their property.
Covid set them back another year before. They planned strategized and guesstimated when to jump ship from the U.S. and head to Costa Rica! Did they ever get their home? Did they move to Costa Rica?? While the odds were against them see what kinds of situations they endured.
We could go on and on here, and that is why they decided to tell their story through the blogs. Right here ! Each adventure has its own way of giving you what they experienced and also some great tips & advice along the way.
Grab your cup of coffee, sit in a comfortable quiet place, read about their mischief and mayhem, and have some laughs!