Hooray! We’re moving to Panama

Hooray!!! We’re moving to Panama.

Oh Crap!!! We’re moving to Panama

This is the dichotomy my wife and I face every day.

Next year about this time, we expect top put our house on the market and move lock, stock and barrel to Panama.

As both of us are familiar with the country, having spent time there during all months of the year, one wouldn’t think the move would be such a big deal, but it is.

We’ve read all the travel books about locations, medical facilities, cost of living, etc. But which one do you believe?  Some of the blogs, with some exceptions, are highly biased and appear to be written by people who are totally frustrated with the life they seem to be experiencing in their chosen Shangri-La.

I had the privilege of growing up in a Latin American Country, so I’m familiar with many of the customs and mostly with the “Mañana” attitude. I lived in this country for sixteen years, or my entire child hood, and would not have traded the experience for anything.

Mark’s note – in case this whole idea of moving to a Latin American country is totally foreign to you – Mañana translates in English as ‘Tomorrow’. It is a prevalent way of life that is perceived by North American’s as ‘Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow?‘ But I’ve found that simply to be a false mis-interpretation. Here’s my take – first Panamanians are a very calm, relaxed, and most importantly non-confrontational people. They really dislike conflict and they also don’t like to disappoint.  So, even if something is going to take a week they will often say, Mañana in the hopes you’ll be OK with that and not raise anymore fuss. The other aspect of the Mañana attitude is one which I hated early on in my new found home but learned to love and embrace as I understood. It’s to do with lifestyle and relationships. You see to the average Panamanian their relationships and the person in front of them that moment in particular, are more important than work or money. In this case I interpret Mañana to mean ‘Hey, this (work) can wait because enjoying my time with you, or with family, or with friends, is more important to me.‘ It may take you a while to get your head wrapped around that one as it’s pretty contrary to the success = consumption = accumulation paradigm we have been conditioned to. OK.. back to John’s letter…

My wife however, while anxious to make the move, has never lived in a foreign country.

What do we sell, what do we take? Should we get a container…a half container? Should we sell all of our furniture or take some with us?

So far we’ve sold our bikes, some art, an old car, and a few other items. Even the unloading of a few items with a goal in mind gives one a sense of commitment and something definite to look forward to

We expect to spend three weeks in Panama the later part of this year and at that time pick a location for our initial home. We have a fairly good idea where we will light based on climate, medical service availability, etc.

We discovered we have some friends from Canada in the area, so we have started to Skype a couple of times a month. We’ve found this to be the best way to get accurate information about what’s going on locally.

I recommend that if you are thinking of making the move to Panama that you too find someone (perhaps even a friend from the internet) or a blog – someone you genuinely like and can relate to and focus on building that relationship. Otherwise the opinions on most blogs and forums are so diverse, it’s almost impossible to form an accurate opinion as to what’s living in Panama is really like.

That’s it for this week.

Ciao for now,

Move to Panama

P.S. Tell me what you thought of John’s letter in the comments area below. What did you like? What could you have done without? What else can John share with you about his move to Panama?

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