I just returned from a sojourn in Costa Rica, a land with coffee as rich as its coasts–an ecological paradise. The people are truly generous, the countryside is farmed in balance with nature, and the shores are home to rare sea turtle nesting sites, protected coral reefs, and some of the best surfing breaks in the world.
Land is also unbelievably, unabashedly, cheap.
This, of course, leads one to reflect on the possibility of owning a few acres in paradise. Build a dream home in a dream country. There is only so much land in existence here, so it’s bound to appreciate in value.
However, I quickly came to realize that my insight was far from original. Costa Rica has a $1.9-billion-a-year tourism industry, with 54% of the vistors being American. This has led to increasing over-development by retirees in various locales, including the once-pristine surfing mecca and sea turtle nesting site Tamarindo. As I clutched my camera and hotel key, I came to a realization:
You can’t fall in love with a country without ruining a little piece of what you love so much. As important as tourism is to the people of Costa Rica, it’s not the element of the country that I’m inspired by. But the only way I could appreciate the true essence of Costa Rica was by being part of that which gets in the way–tourism.
It’s a cruel aspect of appreciation that afflicts music fans as well: A virtually-unknown band that you love today needs fans to flourish, but millions of adoring fans and $30 t-shirts only frustrate the “die-hards” who loved the band before the hype.
In order to truly support an artist you must risk their subsequent overexposure and commercialization, and so goes Lithe’s Principle of Fandom: An artist’s increasing success is inversely proportional to the enthusiasm of their initial fanbase.
It’s a necessary evil in Music as much as Travel.