Kristian writing here today (finally!).
This is an overdue post from me. I’ve thought a lot about our big trip, and coming here to post my thoughts now that we’re back home in Texas, but since we’ve been back I spent a week in Denver, and then we road tripped to Northern California for two weeks right after my Denver trip, so life has been busy (and awesome!).
The push for us to go to Panama definitely came from me, and the draw to Panama started about 14 years ago when my good friend Jason Domingo told me one day that he had just retired his dad..to Panama!
He explained that his dad is now able to live “like a king”…having hired help for all kinds of stuff (cooking, driving, gardening, cleaning…), AND living close to beaches, in tropical paradise, all for about $500/mo USD.
At that time, Kristin and I were newly married, and my income was really erratic. The idea of being able to live in a tropical paradise…and live really well for so cheap, captivated my imagination and my interest in Panama slowly grew in the following years.
Trip Planning and the Decision to go Explore
As anyone who’s followed Kristin’s (great) blogging from Panama knows, the decision to finally go explore Panama came suddenly. Here’s what led up to that very spontaneous and sudden feeling decision…
Several months ago I started reading more and more about the country, details like real estate costs, best areas to consider living, investing, politics, etc, etc, and the more I studied, the more I wanted to go.
By mid-May, we had proven to ourselves that we could set huge goals and knock them out in short order. We had become debt free and were accumulating a nice savings very quickly, and largely due to the financial possibilities (big tax relief + new investment opportunities), I was entertaining thoughts of moving there on short notice and started talking about it with Kristin (almost constantly).
By the morning of June 12th, Kristin had already shot down my repeated attempts to get her to be on board with the idea of selling everything and buying one way tickets to Panama (I know, I know…I’m nuts), so I revised my strategy and as I was dropping her and the boys off for a school event, I suggested we just go for a month or so.
…….and she said……
When she said something like “Ok, sure, you take care of the details and I’m willing to go” ….I didn’t waste any time! Within 20 minutes I had spent $3700 on round trip airfare for the 4 of us with a departure date of 7 days later (June 19th)!
We didn’t have appropriate travel gear, we didn’t have our passports, we didn’t have a lot of stuff we would need to pull this trip off the way I wanted to. So…that put a lot of stuff in motion. Within another couple days we had gone and gotten the expedited passport process going ($1680 for all 4 of us), and bought a million things on Amazon.
That week leading up to leaving was a whirlwind of activity, most of it FUN.
Post Panama – reflecting, and…what’s next?
You can skim through Kristin’s daily posts from Panama while we were there to see what we did with our time there. I have a hard time putting my thoughts and feelings into sentences here…I want to use words like “spectacular”, “life-changing”, “peaceful”, “slow”, “exotic”….etc, and the best I can do is what I just did 🙂
I’m VERY happy we went, and we all are looking forward to our next big, exotic, international destination.
I’ve been looking into visiting Uruguay (we can see Old World European architecture there AND there are monkeys!), but Kristin gets her pick on this next big adventure, and she’s leaning heavily towards the Greek Islands. Oh well, I guess I’ll go with her. 🙂
Would we seriously consider moving to Panama?
I’ve been asked this question a lot (understandably), so I have to answer this publicly.
YES – I’m on the next plane out, happily.
However…my interest isn’t necessarily in putting down any kind of serious roots in Panama. My interest is in living light, reducing our “worldly goods” down to the minimum, putting ourselves in a position to live well out of just a couple carry-on bags each. We’d do that (in my world) so that we could hop from fully-furnished place to fully-furnished place, country to country, as we deliberately go explore the world!
NO – for lots of good reasons (in her mind). She has a great emotional need to have a “home base”, and wants for that to continue to be in the Austin area for the foreseeable future.
She is very willing to continue to go on big crazy trips, so we have reached a healthy compromise 🙂 So…stay tuned! Next fun trip on the books is a road trip up to Nashville, TN to stay at the Opryland Resort & Hotel! Leaving in a few days!