11 Blogging Lessons I Learned from a Terrifying But Enlightening House Sit in a Remote Costa Rican Jungle

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No electricity.

No toilet.

Water via a long rubber hose funneled our way from a jungle stream.

No internet, of course.

My wife Kelli and I took a house sitting job in remote Buena Vista.

I found the experience both terrifying and enlightening at times.

From climbing up through narrow jungle gorges during blinding downpours to align the hose so we could get fresh water from the local stream to using a particularly vial outhouse to regularly staring down bullet ants and poison dart frogs we had quite the experience in this Costa Rican wilderness.

I also picked up 11 blogging lessons along the way from my not so home office (no electricity so my laptop had no power in the image below).

Note; Kelli and I personally snapped each image and video in this post.

1: Expect the Unexpected

From seeing the jungle hut/home being invaded by thousands of army ants to being greeted by a bullet ant on the kitchen sink to having 7 bats living inside the home to hearing a humongous jungle opossum climb along the side of the house/hut we learned quickly to expect the unexpected.

Here’s the possum:

All bets are off in a remote wilderness.

Blogging Lesson

Expect the unexpected with your blog.

Embrace the white screen of death.

Accept formatting issues.

Expect anything to happen along your blogging journey.

Be nimble.

Be flexible.

Avoid being blindsided by going with the blogging flow.

While having lunch earlier this year with blogging icon Zac Johnson he stressed how you must spot trends and adjust to big shifts to run a successful blog over the long haul.

2: Make Hay While the Sun Shines

I felt like I was living in the movie “From Dusk Till Dawn.”

By 5:45 PM you needed to be indoors.

No more machete workouts. No more dog walks. No more anything outside.

Darkness crept in at that time as the heavy jungle canopy - 100 plus foot tall trees - blocked out light.

Imagine pitch black darkness for miles. Then imagine a wide collection of venomous snakes, dangerous jungle terrain and potentially lethal or downright injurious pitfalls waiting for you in complete and utter darkness.

We did all jungle stuff during the day because we had no other choice. Nighttime was for reading, light yoga and going to bed at 7 PM or 8 PM.

Blogging Lesson

Do what you can with your blog right now.

Publish your next blog post. Post your first in-depth comment on a relevant, authority blog.

If you have little money to invest in a bespoke theme work with what you have.

Seize opportunities for growth.

You may be limited in some areas but by grabbing opportunities you will form the habit of being open to abundance.

3: Go Slowly to Conserve Your Energy and to Make an Impact

I remember watching both 2 and 3 toed sloths laze in the canopy beside the house.

These guys moved slowly.

After sleeping 15 plus hour daily each sloth patiently, deliberately and peacefully foraged 100 feet up in the trees.

Here is Slothy the Sloth in action.

The sloths gave off a serene, almost enlightened energy, as I couldn’t take my eyes off of these peaceful creatures.

Blogging Lesson

Go slow to keep going.

Deliberately and mindfully engage in blogging tasks.

After reading this blog post patiently write a comment below. Tweet the post. Do the things that open 1, 5 or 100 doors for you here or down the road.

I am hardly a blogging celebrity but a mention on Blogging From Paradise - I tend to mention/feature folks who comment on my posts and promote me :) - can multiply opportunities for you kinda quickly.

Slow down. Calm down.

Make an impact.

Conserve your energy.

This is not a sprint.

It’s not even a marathon.

It’s the moment.

4: Take Care of Your Babies

One dark night during a particularly deafening downpour of torrential rain I reached for my Costa Rican style cornflakes.

As I shined the flashlight on the flakes I spotted a large, menacing scorpion snapping at me with her intimidating-looking pincers.

On closer perusal I saw she was carrying 5 little scorpion babies on her back.

Mama did her job well.

I waited for her to exit stage left before feasting on the cornflakes.

Blogging Lesson

Your babies are your readers.

Take care of your readers by doing these things:

  • Respond to comments on your blog
  • Give your readers free eBooks and other free products
  • Offer your readers helpful, valuable premium eBooks and products
  • Thank folks who retweet, Facebook Share and G Plus Share your posts

Taking care of your babies/readers gives you more readers to take care of because these readers will spread your word to their like-minded buddies.

This is how rabidly loyal tribes form.

5: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

This army took no prisoners.

Enemies were eviscerated.

Foes were butchered.

Rivals were eaten alive.

A colony of 5000 plus army ants marched through the home/hut/house twice during our stay deep in the jungles of Buena Vista.

Once East to West. Once West to East. These guys were thorough.

The soldier and worker ants butchered and consumed:

  • Huge scorpions
  • Monster movie sized locusts
  • Wasp larvae
  • Wickedly armed, imposing centipedes

Nothing could stop this unified team of single-minded creatures, acting as 1 moving mass. Including Kelli and I.

When the army ants swept through the home I walked the dog for 3 hours and Kelli secured herself within the mosquito net.

We let the exterminators do their work.

Blogging Lesson

Bloggers, teamwork makes the dream work. Except you won’t be butchering 4 inch long scorpions alive (I don’t think so, at least).

You will generate more blog traffic and income by:

  • Promoting other bloggers
  • Commenting on their blogs
  • Helping them in any way possible

Help someone freely and you may just befriend them.

Make a bunch of blogging buddies and they’ll take you to places you couldn’t reach on your own.

Matthew Capala built a successful consulting business and blog by fully embodying this concept.

6: Kill Your Fears by Facing them Persistently

I felt terrified on walking around the property for the first time.

Poison dart frogs were everywhere.

Bullet ants were everywhere.

A large pile of rotting fire wood lay 15 feet from the house. Prime shelter space for venomous snakes.

Here is one of the 5 big golden orb spiders (about 6 inches across) who lived on/in the home (and whose webs span up to a meter wide).

Eventually though I killed these fears - largely - by doing work around the property daily.

By the time I left I didn’t think twice about the poison dart frogs hopping by my feet or the bullet ants foraging around me.

Blogging Lesson

Dive into your blogging fears.

Shoot and publish your first video.

Publish your first post.

Submit your first guest post.

What was once so scary dies a quick death when you persistently dive into your fears.

7: Ditch a Losing Venture

We left the house sit 2 weeks early because I began to break down physically and the sit wasn’t advertised clearly and honestly.

Example; the homeowner mentioned in passing that we could ride bikes to and from town, even though we were 3 miles from Bribri.

He did not mention those 3 miles included:

  • 4 jungle streams which turned into dangerous roaring rapids after day long torrential downpours (flowing up to your hip; Kelli would have been swept away if I wasn’t there to pull her through)
  • a one mile high mountain with 30% grades in some spots
  • a 40 minute hike through muddy, slippery jungle paths where you could - and we did - easily sink knee high into the dangerous, suction-like mud

The below jungle stream swelled to a level well above my knees after epic downpours. I could barely keep my footing while pulling my wife across the raging torrent. Tough to imagine it during this peaceful day.

He also mentioned a few hours before we left to travel to the place - in passing - that we should probably buy boots. This was after speaking to him for nearly 3 weeks via Facebook, when this should have been the first thing he advised us to do.

The totally unexpected factors/surprises, combined with the fact that I had to walk the dog through these intense conditions daily, for 1-3 hours a day, for 6 weeks, and that I was only eating 400 to 700 calories a day, led to a complete physical breakdown.

I told him we were leaving the house sit early and despite a strong initial objection on his part we left the job to preserve our physical health and mental sanity.

Blogging Lesson

I once deleted 3400 blog posts and an old brand, and blog, prior to creating Blogging From Paradise.

I had to trash the losing venture to make room for the winning venture.

Let go the old, worn out, losing blog.

Make room for the new, exciting and successful blog.

8: Take Care of Home Base

I spent hours macheting the constantly growing underbrush on the property to keep it free from snakes and other critters.

Kelli swept the house daily to remove debris so we could keep a deluge of pests out.

We took care of home base.

Blogging Lesson

Take care of your blog.

Align your blog top down.

Buy a professional looking theme.

Scrap the disgusting medley of garish, tacky-looking, cheesy ads.

Take care of home base to improve your - and your user’s - experience.

Ramsay Taplin takes care of home base with a fabulous-looking, highly informative blog at Blog Tyrant.

9: The Most Special Experiences Occur Well Off the Beaten Path

Living in Buena Vista for 6 weeks was like living in a National Geographic show.

Enjoy the view from my morning walks:

We saw rare, exotic animals routinely.

Bullet ants were a dime a dozen.

Poison dart frogs hopped around the property in stunning numbers.

I saw rare and endangered Mealy Amazon parrots, toucans, and sloths.

Check out this toucan I photographed during a morning hike.

I cherish these special experiences.

I also know that spotting such creatures is a rare occurrence, especially considering the frequency with which we saw these animals.

Living 3 miles deep into a remote, thick jungle was no picnic at times but we had to be off the beaten path to enjoy these experiences.

Blogging Lesson

All the blogging success, freedom and happiness you crave will be yours if you:

  • Devote years of your life to blogging
  • Work diligently, persistently and consistently to build a well known blogging brand
  • Promote influential bloggers as freely as you promote yourself
  • Write in your 1 of a kind, authentic voice

Each prior bullet point will take you well off the beaten blogging path.

Most bloggers devote days, weeks or maybe a few months to blogging, then they quit.

Most bloggers barely work at all and never develop any type of recognizable brand.

Most bloggers only focus on promoting themselves.

Most bloggers try to mimic other bloggers.

But you know better; you’re blogging off the beaten path to build a successful, inspirational blog.

10: You Will Go Farther than You Ever Dreamed You Could Go

Every day I walked the dog 1-2 hours around mountainous Costa Rican jungle.

Once a week Kelli and I walked 2-3 hours through rugged, brutal jungle terrain to go in and out of town.

Before the trip we’d never dreamed we could push ourselves to these insane physical limits.

The reality of living where you had to depend 100% on your feet to get around demanded that we test the limits of our sanity and physical prowess.

Blogging Lesson

Blogging-wise, expect to unearth talents you were completely unaware of before buying your domain and hosting.

Who knew you’d publish 1,000 posts? Or that you’d be a ham on video? Or that you’d publish a popular podcast? Or that you’d retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging?

Keep at it through thick and thin. You’ll shock yourself with how far you go in the blogging game.

11: Develop Boldness by Surrounding Yourself with Bold Beings

We took care of a 90 pound, badass Rhodesian Ridgeback named Thunder.

Here she is:

This species was bred to hunt lions.

They have been called the “Navy SEALS of the canine world.”

Thunder sprinted into deep jungle infested with deadly fer de lanzes, eyelash vipers and other nasties, to hunt prey.

She once scaled a 30 foot high *vertical* cliff as my jaw dropped in amazement.

Walking her daily for 6 weeks inspired me to be bold.

Blogging Lesson

Hang with confident, bold bloggers.

Surround yourself with bold folks like Donna Merrill.

Feed off their energy.

What blogging lessons have you learned from our jungle house sit?

For more of my wild travel experiences and successful blogging lessons download How My Wildest Travel Experiences Can Help You Become a Successful Blogger.

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