Former Williams Lake resident Jason Mueller is currently living his dream of running a business abroad. He has moved to Jaco Beach, Costa Rica where he has opened an obstacle park called Jaco Ropes.
After graduating from Anne Stevenson Secondary in 2002, Mueller spent five years working at a local sawmill. Although it was a steady job, Mueller never liked the idea of working for somebody else. He quit his job and travelled all over the world and it was on his travel adventures he dreamt of opening up a business and living abroad. He helped support his travels through lady luck at the poker table.
“I think I originally acquired my business savvy when I quit my mill job to play poker on a semi professional level,” said Mueller. “Every one thought I was crazy but I believed I could make a living at it so I took a chance and ended up doing really well. That taught me to take chances on things that I believe in and if I really want something I can do it.”
Mueller, 30, has invested a lot into this business and admits that running a company can be very stressful.
“When you are running a company you usually work twice as many hours and have much more stress than your average job but on the bright side you aren’t counting the hours for your shift to end,” said Mueller.
Mueller’s original plan was to sell his home on South Lakeside and start a wake boarding business in the Okanagan before the location shifted to Central America and a town along the Pacific Ocean coastline.
“A friend had pitched the business idea of a cable wake park to me and doing it in Costa Rica. The whole idea was mostly on a whim but the final decision to move was made after my friend and I went for a month to check out the country to see if it was suitable for the business and after some extensive business planning,” said Mueller. “When we came to Jaco we fell in love with the place and visualized a good place for the business.”
Once he found his dream location, the original business idea of wake-boards shifted to ropes.
“We had a business meeting with the land owner and Robert who is a local guy that wanted to build a ropes course. He had a lot of the equipment from a previous venture but was lacking capital,” explained Mueller.
Jaco Ropes is a ropes course located in Playa Jaco which Mueller describes as basically an obstacle course that is elevated between trees.
“We start the tour off easy with a zip line then a swinging bridge, some of the other obstacles are cargo net, tire swing, rope swing, log pass, tarzan swing and my favourite — air surfing, you jump on a surf board and ride it suspended on cables from one platform to the next,” said Mueller. “Finally we end the tour with a superman zip line.”
Jaco Ropes also offer rappelling and a quick-jump which is a free fall apparatus where you jump off a 45-foot platform and get about 9-10 feet of free-fall then the device lowers you slowly to the ground.
Mueller and his crew of employees opened the business recently, which was an exciting time, he said.
Aside from the long hours, Mueller is happy living in Costa Rica and speaks glowingly of the country.
“I love living in Costa Rica — it’s a huge lifestyle change and it can be nerve racking at times especially trying to open a business. Basically if someone tells you that they will have what you need for tomorrow you can count on it taking 2-3 weeks,” said Mueller. “The country is very beautiful with a lot of different terrain such as jungles, mountains and amazing beaches. The climate ranges from cool in the mountains around 10C to really hot like 38C in some places.”
Mueller says he is committed to the business and country for the long-haul and has no plans of leaving his new home.
He refers to a popular saying in Costa Rica that pretty much sums up the people and the country in two words ‘Pura Vida’ (Pure Life).
“Everywhere you go you hear people saying Pura Vida with a smile on their face. Costa Rica is said to be the happiest place on earth,” added Mueller. “My spanish is coming along but I usually have to ask for people to repeat or to talk slow — group conversation with locals, then things get difficult.”
The new company is right in Mueller’s wheelhouse as he has always been into extreme sports like mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, dirt biking and wake-boarding. He latest endeavours include plenty of wake-surfing and tree climbing.
For more info you can visit www.jacoropes.com or like or follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.