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We're Now Living in Panama Finally!!It feels like we’ve been planning this for years (because we have!), but it’s finally happened… we’re now living in Panama!

I wasn’t going to post about this yet since we’ve been here less than a week, but I figured a lot of you want to know the details about this adventure.

Although I started this site in 2015 intending to focus mostly on personal finance, I feel like I’ve become known more for our plans to retire early and move to Panama more than anything.

That’s not a bad thing at all – it was just a little unexpected.  We were doing this just because it seemed interesting to us.  It was initially “just” a plan to utilize geoarbitrage to reach financial independence and retire earlier.

However, I worked and saved long enough to cover us even if we had stayed in the U.S.  Instead, it’s become an opportunity for us to explore a whole new culture.  We have a chance to open our daughter’s eyes to the beauty of this country as well.

More folks ask us about Panama than anything else related to our early retirement plans.

So with that, now that we’re actually living in Panama, I owe it to you guys to talk about the different aspects of this journey.  I think it’s important to not blow any smoke either – I’ll always tell you the good, the bad and the ugly.

And if it turns out to be worthwhile, maybe one day I’ll convince you to be living in Panama as our neighbors!  Or perhaps it might just be a kick in the pants to chase after a different dream that you have.

 

The best travel pillow

Knowing that we’d be bouncing back and forth between living in Panama and coming back to the U.S. every few months, we decided to pick up some travel pillows for the flights.

My daughter, Faith, found one she liked at Five Below so that was an easy one.

Then while in Texas, we had a chance to go the rodeo and we stopped at Goodwill a couple of days beforehand to find some cowboy boots for Faith.  Not only did we find some boots for her for just a few bucks, but Lisa stumbled across a travel pillow there for $3.  The thing was like new but, of course, we washed it regardless.

Two down… one to go!

The problem is that I’m a picky guy.  Travel pillows don’t work well for me because my head likes to fall forward once I fall asleep.  I become like a bobble-head, which as you can guess, wakes me right up.

So I made it a mission of mine to test a handful of them out. I spent way too much time going through the details and the mid-level reviews on Amazon (I don’t trust the 5-star or 1-star reviews).  That helped me whittle the choices from about ten of them down to four.

A lot of the manufacturers were offering free returns on Amazon.  Pair that with the ability to just drop the returns off at Kohl’s and I was golden!  I ordered all four pillows.

We're Now Living in Panama... Finally!!
It makes me want to take a nap just looking at this thing!!

After my rigorous formal testing of each (or just sitting in a chair trying each one), my favorite, by far, was the BCOZZY Chin Supporting Patented Travel Pillow.  The whole idea of this pillow is that it lets you wrap it around your chin so your head won’t fall forward.

When I ordered it, I was a little unsure about it because I thought it might be too warm, but it’s not.  In fact, I liked that I could wrap it a little tighter on the plane if I was colder or loosen it up if not.

This pillow is wonderful and comfortable and it made me want to fall asleep just testing it out.  It wasn’t the best pick from the frugal side of things – at just under $30, it was the most expensive of all the ones I ordered.

However, it was well worth it.  I returned the others and kept this one and it made for some nice shut-eye on flights down.

We're Now Living in Panama... Finally!!
Second place… close, but no cigar! Still a really good pillow though!

I will say that the J-Pillow Travel Pillow should get an honorable mention.

It had an innovative design as well to keep your head from falling forward, but it wasn’t quite as comfortable for me as the BCOZZY pillow was.

And you know that means a lot from me if I’m spending an extra $10 on one over the other!

All I can say is that if you’re looking for a little rest on future travel and the regular travel pillows don’t work too well for you, try one of these two.  Your body will thank you!

 

 

The trip down

I ain’t gonna lie, the few days leading up to this trip were tough on both me and Lisa.  Neither one of us got much sleep.  I think the anxiety and the questioning of “is this the right thing to do for our family” were strong in our minds.

It also didn’t help that Faith started constantly telling us that she hates that we were moving.  Up until the past couple of months, she was all about it, but the idea of leaving her friends and family started to become more pronounced in her mind after we left Ohio for our July adventure.  Ouch.

Regardless of our hesitation, we made the trip and flew down to Panama on Wednesday, 8/21/19.  I guess we didn’t have much of a choice anyway since we’d already sold all our stuff and didn’t have any other place to live!

It was a long day, too.  Our flight from Austin, TX was at 5:45 am and none of us slept more than a few hours that night before.  We flew to Houston, TX and then to Panama City, Panama.  Then we had to wait about four hours until we flew to David, Panama.

We’re Now Living in Panama… Finally!!
Here’s what we look like at about 3:45 in the morning at the airport in Austin, TX. And, you’re looking at most everything we own right now!

A couple of weeks prior, I had scheduled a driver previously to pick us up at the David airport.  That was a good move.  We didn’t have to worry about the language barrier or getting multiple taxis (three of us, six suitcases, and a few backpacks… ugh!).

He showed up at the airport with our name on a sign, spoke perfect English, and helped us with our bags.  We needed that bit of comfort at this point in the trip.

We loaded everything into the van and made the drive to our new home in the mountains… Boquete, Panama.  Normally, this would be just over a 45-minute drive, but of course, it was rush hour when we got there.  The traffic made the drive almost an hour and a half and we got to our rental at 6:45 pm.

That was one long day.

But we were hungry, so we dropped our suitcases off at the house and walked down to the cantina at the community where we’re staying.  In the hour that we were there, we met and talked with a great family that was there visiting.  It was good to find others that we could relate to on our first day there.

After dinner and a beer, we called it, walked back, and slept pretty well that night.

 

Living in Panama (Groceries)

As I’m writing this, we’ve only been here for a few days so it’s hard to say that we’re really acquainted with living in Panama.  However, we’re starting to get adjusted slowly but surely.

On our first full day here, we walked downtown (about a mile from the place we’re staying) to check it out and do some grocery shopping.  Remember, we didn’t have any food at all here.

It was a beautiful day for a walk here… 75° F.  Oh, that’s right, it’s 75° every day here in Boquete – that’s one of the biggest reasons we moved here!  No heat or A/C needed.  It’s wonderful!

We checked out a bunch of shops and had lunch at Big Daddy’s Grill.

We’re Now Living in Panama… Finally!!
Faith enjoying a virgin piña colada at Big Daddy’s Grill…

Then we went grocery shopping and that’s when it became a little frustrating.  Not in a major way, but imagine going into a grocery store that you’ve never been in before.  It’s hard to figure out where everything is because you don’t know the layout, right?

Now add in the complexity that the foods you’re familiar with aren’t there.  Ok, some are, but for the most part, it’s a whole new world there.

Then, throw in that the majority of the foods have Spanish labels and asking folks for help also requires Spanish.  In the end, we muddled our way through it with the little bit of Spanish I know and the help of Google Translate.

But the best part of the day was the cab ride back.  I learned from Jackie at Panama Relocation Tours that you never get into a taxi without asking how much it’ll cost first or you could be subjected to the gringo tax.

Me (doing the best I can with Spanish): ¿Cuánto cuesta a Valle Escondido? [How much to Valle Escondido?]

Driver: Dos. [Two.]

Um, as in $2.  Sold!  A cab ride back for $2 in my book is a real win.  Even making it a 50% tip for a total of $3 sure felt like a great deal!

However, living in Panama is different.  We’re not used to eggs and milk not being refrigerated.  We also learned that the corn we had will give you a longing for the sweet corn we’re used to eating.  We also found out that the Panamanian version of Pringles here suck and the empanadas we made were disgusting.

Oh, and our translation skills leave a little something to be desired.  We bought dish soap thinking it was dishwasher detergent… oops!

But that’s all well and good.  We went into this knowing that living in Panama would be different.  Not in a bad way, just different.  And we’re good with that, but it’s going to take some time to learn and adjust.

 

Living in Panama (weather and scenery)

I can’t express in words how beautiful it is here.  Picking a spot here in the mountains has already proven to have some major benefits.

We’re Now Living in Panama… Finally!!
The view from our back patio at the place we’re staying

Like I said earlier, the weather is 75° F every day here with a couple degree spread.  It’s perfect for walking around in without getting too hot or cold.  Then the nights cool down to the lower 60s, which makes for some nice sleeping with the windows open.

Even with no heat or A/C, the temperature always seems to be right.  As a side note, we do have ceiling fans throughout the place.

The power’s gone out a few times since we’ve been here and I think that’s just kind of the norm.  Generally, it’s only for a few minutes, but the other night it was out for an hour and a half.  No big deal when you’re not worrying about heat or A/C, but it was starting to get a little uncomfortable without the ceiling fan going while we were trying to sleep.

And, we just picked a couple of oranges from the tree outside.  Small things like that seem to make this decision to move well worth it.

 

Enjoying the adventure

So let’s get back to the important stuff – everyone’s anxiety.

The weirdest thing happened once we got here… everyone’s anxiety seemed to dissipate.

By day two, I overheard Lisa telling her mom on the phone that it “just feels right.”  She’s not saying we’ll stay here forever, but for right now, she’s feeling we made the right decision.

How about our girl, Faith?  As soon as we got here, her negative attitude that she had developed about the move over the past couple of months disappeared.  She’s been so excited about so many different things.  She loves walking downtown to the shops.  She loves all the vegetation – the trees and the flowers.  And she loves the lizards we see scurrying around on the sidewalks.

We’re Now Living in Panama… Finally!!
Living the dream, folks… living the dream!

Here’s a shameless plug, too.  Faith’s starting to record more videos on her YouTube channel.  These will likely be more focused on what it’s like living in Panama.  I just put one up that she recorded here at Valle Escondido.  Check it out and, if you like it, click on the Subscribe button on her page.

And finally, there’s me.  I was probably nervous about Lisa and Faith not being happy more than anything.  But once I saw the worries start to fade with them, I was good.

That same night, I went to bed and slept for just over 10 hours that night!  In other words, once I knew the anxiety has gone down with them, I was more at ease and able to let go.  That’s an awesome feeling.

It’s not to say that we’ve figured all this out, but we’re excited about learning the nuances together.  In fact, we went to a different grocery store for about a half-hour when we walked downtown again and just explored.  We’ll go to this place the next time we need groceries and we already have a little familiarity with it.  That should make it a little less frustrating.

The day this post comes out, we’re going to the Tuesday Market for the first time.  This is supposed to be a pretty big event filled with tons of vendors selling everything from local fruits and vegetables to all kinds of other things like cheese, chocolate (mmm…), arts and crafts, and jewelry.

My understanding is that this is a great opportunity to meet people.  That’s the part we’re most excited about.  We don’t know people here and we need to if we’re going to make this home.  Faith needs friends to play with.  WE need friends to hang out with as well.

 

What’s next while living in Panama…

Adjusting to living here is obviously the biggest thing we have on our plates.  But that’s more of natural progression and adjustment than a task at hand.

However, we have a few important duties we need to tend to over the next few weeks:

 

1) Find a new place – The biggest task we have to work on is finding a more permanent place to live.  We’re staying at a place in a wonderful gated community in Valle Escondido, but we only rented it for a month.

We need to find a new place to rent for the next year.  And it’s not as simple as you would think.  Most of the good rentals and deals are found through knowing people, so we’re working on talking to everyone we can.  There are also some expat Facebook Groups that we’re a part of that might give us some good leads.

The area is important as well.  Although it’s not the end-all-be-all, I’d like to be closer to downtown so we could walk there instead of driving.  And then there are so many microclimates here.  In the city of Boquete alone, this site claims there are 13 microclimates!  That means the weather in one area can be completely different than one down the road.

As a side note, those microclimates also make all the weather apps inaccurate.  The good news is the weather here’s pretty consistent, but even if it says there’s a 100% chance of rain, you might not see a drop.

It’d also be nice to be in a gated community, but we’ll see what happens.  Not only does that give you a better sense of security, but the communities usually have some good shared amenities as well.  A shared pool or gym, for example, would be nice to have.

We’re aiming to get a place for $800-$1,200 so we can have plenty of extra cash in our budget to spend on other fun things such as travel without having to think about it.  That price range should get us a nice 2-3 bedroom furnished house with most or all utilities paid for and possibly a gardener/landscaper.  Not too shabby, right?

 

2) Homeschooling – Living in Panama ain’t gonna be all fun and games!  We still have to make sure we’re helping our daughter grow both educationally and in life in general.

We’ll be starting our homeschooling for her on Monday, 9/2.  Ironically, that’s the day kids in the U.S. will all have off (Labor Day), but we get to make our own rules here.

We have a general idea how this will flow and I actually don’t think it’ll be a burden for any of us.  However, it’s sure to be a big adjustment for all of us while we figure out the routine.

 

3) Whale watching – Lisa has been wanting to go whale watching for a while and this is something she’s been excited about doing in Panama.  Well, lo and behold, the driver who took us from David to Boquete is a tour guide.

He said that now is the best time of the year for the whale watching.  Apparently, the males are only here through October and right now is when they’re the most acrobatic.

So, although not something we have to do, it’s something we want to do.  This should run us around $75 each for a day of fun and includes lunch and goodies like snorkeling and swimming.  Should be a ton of fun!


And that’s the scoop so far.  We’re here – we made it and so far, it’s just a vacation.  Starting Faith’s homeschooling will take this down a notch in the fun, but hopefully not too much.

I hope you enjoy reading about this half as much as we’re enjoying starting this new adventure.  Once we begin to get into a routine, I’ll tell you more about what it’s really like living in Panama.

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

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We’re Now Living in Panama… Finally!!
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44 thoughts on “We’re Now Living in Panama… Finally!!

  • August 27, 2019 at 6:32 am
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    75 degrees everyday, sounds like San Diego. Dang, I’m jealous. Congrats Jim, we’re living vicariously through you!

    Reply
    • August 27, 2019 at 1:40 pm
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      Exactly, but without the crazy costs! It’s so beautiful here and we’re discussing not even getting a car just so we can ensure we don’t have a choice to be outside more.

      Reply
  • August 27, 2019 at 9:36 am
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    And the adventure begins! It’s going to be so fun following along on the journey.

    As a parent, I’m most curious to see how Faith adjusts to the new life. We’re definitely looking do do a year or two abroad for cultural and language immersion when our boy grows older.

    Sam

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    • August 27, 2019 at 1:42 pm
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      I’m curious how she’ll adjust too, Sam! I’ll make sure to discuss that as our journey continues.

      I think that’s fantastic that you want to take your son abroad for a year or two as well. At first, I thought this was a selfish move, but then my wife corrected me and said, “It’s exactly the opposite. We’re giving our daughter the opportunity to experience another culture that most people will never get to do.” She’s right… usually is.

      Reply
  • August 27, 2019 at 9:39 am
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    Love the update, Jim! Sounds like you’ve had as good a start as you can for this adventure. If the biggest faux pas you have several days in is you bought dish soap instead of dishwasher detergent, that’s incredible.

    Can’t wait to hear more about the people you meet (and especially how Faith gets along with finding friends). We’ll raise a glass to you at FinCon next week 🙂

    Reply
    • August 27, 2019 at 1:46 pm
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      Haha, yeah, the dish soap faux pas isn’t really too bad. We’re figuring it out slowly but surely!

      I like the idea of a FinCon toast next week. Send me a picture or get me on the horn for that one… maybe I could drink a Balboa beer alongside you! 🙂

      Reply
      • August 27, 2019 at 9:28 pm
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        Love your articles and have been looking forward to your posts on Panama – would love to see a post on how you handle finances in Panama. Ex: cash or credit cards accepted etc….

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        • August 27, 2019 at 9:57 pm
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          Thanks, Kelly! It’s funny that you asked about that because I was just thinking about that this morning. A lot of places are cash-only here and that changes a lot of what we’re used to and how we’ll manage our finances. I’ll hopefully be putting out a post in the near future to talk more about this.

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  • August 27, 2019 at 10:20 am
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    Congratulations to all of you. I’ve been reading your blog for about 18 months now, and have been “cheering you on” so to speak. You and Lisa and Faith have shown such great courage throughout this process and I wish you all the best. My only visit to Panama was on a full transit cruise through the canal (Florida to Los Angeles) and Panama was stunningly beautiful and definitely some place I’d like to return to.
    Please keep up all the great posts!

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    • August 27, 2019 at 1:48 pm
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      Haha, the irony is that we still haven’t had a chance to see the canal and would love to do a cruise one day to go through it! Thanks so much for the kind words, Jenny!

      Reply
  • August 27, 2019 at 10:55 am
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    How exciting! I’m glad to hear you guys are off to a good start. It’s really great that Faith is over the negativity. Change is hard for kids.
    Our son has a negative attitude sometimes too. It drives me crazy. Usually, when the activity starts then he stops dwelling on it.
    Great pictures.

    Reply
    • August 27, 2019 at 1:55 pm
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      I see the same thing, too, Joe. Keeping kids engaged and busy is always the better route for our own sanity! 😉

      Reply
  • August 27, 2019 at 11:14 am
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    Congratulations on making it to Panama! I enjoy following your journey and wish you continued success!

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  • August 27, 2019 at 11:35 am
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    You made it. Now the journey really begins.

    Enjoy and thanks for taking us along with you.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2019 at 2:46 pm
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    hmm, how long will this honeymoon phase last? How long until all the cultural quirks that seem interesting or charming now drive you crazy/annoy you? Not trying to be negative, just being realistic. Newness often adds some interest and forgiveness…until it wears thin.

    Reply
    • August 27, 2019 at 9:51 pm
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      Absolutely, Mary – we could hate this place more than anything down the line. However, if you don’t try different things, you might be missing out on great things. You can decide not to ever fall in love because you don’t want a broken heart, but just think of what you could miss out on.

      We’re very realistic about our plans here. We know it’s different and that’s Ok. We’re renting not buying and not getting our Visas until we’re sure we want to stay here (it’s pricey to do). We decided to give it a year because by then we should have a pretty good idea of if it’s for us or not. And if it’s not, nor harm, no foul. We move back to the U.S. I’d rather find out we hate it than grow older and wonder “what if.” And in the meantime, it’s awesome to be in a new culture and enjoy the adventure together.

      Reply
  • August 27, 2019 at 3:21 pm
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    Hey Jim,

    Congrats on the move! Glad you and the family made it safely and seem to be settling in well. I’m living vicariously through you…hoping that my family will be making the trip to Mexico in a few years,and doing the home-schooling thing with our youngest. We’ll see – maybe we will change our minds and go to Boquete instead 🙂

    As I’m sure you already know (based on your plan to stay at least a year), just remember that it won’t all be unicorns and lollipops there. If it’s anything like the moves my family and I have made for my job over the years, that initial “honeymoon” phase will eventually lead to a second, “OMG, how could I have been so stupid” phase that is not so much fun. But – and this is really important – that will eventually end, and leave you at a new normal that (at least for every single one of our moves) is way better than where things were when you started. The key thing is to know that the second phase is coming, and also know that – if you can just hang on through that second phase – it will likely be well worth it in the end 🙂

    In any event – I’m looking forward to hearing more on this from you!

    Reply
    • August 27, 2019 at 9:55 pm
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      Thanks for the kind words and advice, Jim! We’re being careful and that’s why we want to give it at least a year. I agree that it could be a tough adjustment after the honeymoon phase, so we’re giving it at least a year to let the dust settle and see how we’ve adapted. We’ll then weigh things and decide if we’ll stay longer or move onto something else.

      Good luck on the Mexico plans, but feel free to visit Boquete first to see if it changes your mind! 😉

      Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 1:01 am
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    Congrats on pulling the trigger! I totally agree with you about never knowing until you try. There is a great Mark Twain quote about that I believe. From what I have gathered, there is a lot to love where you have landed. And the geoarbitrage factor us a huge incentive and you could use the difference to Jetset as you like. I will be following along your journey. I think you made a great play, on many fronts, not the least of which is sequence of return risk. All seems super cool to me.

    Reply
    • August 28, 2019 at 4:28 pm
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      Thanks, Enrique – even if we decide it’s not the place for us after a year, we’ll still have the memories of this adventure for the rest of our lives. Not only that, but we’ll probably end up coming out significantly ahead of where we would have been otherwise. Seems like a no-brainer to me! 🙂

      Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 3:38 pm
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    i went to bolivia once and they had papaya juice at the hotel. it has this great yellow/orange color that makes it look like the most delicious thing in the world. it wasn’t. tasted like vomit to me and it was warm, like your eggs and milk. you’ll figure it out AND learn spanish. i failed in that i only leaned the nouns. it’s hard to get by with no verbs.

    enjoy the stay and make some new pals.

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    • August 28, 2019 at 4:29 pm
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      Haha, that’s hilarious, Freddy! I’ll make sure that we include verbs in our learning! Thanks for the wishes!

      Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 6:57 pm
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    Ah yes, the grocery store “adventure”. 🙂 One of the things my wife and do in just about every city we visit is to walk through grocery stores. It’s really interesting to see what’s on the shelves and the prices. 🙂
    Since we usually stay in AirBnb’s when we visit cities, we are always going to the grocery store to buy food (and other items). Here are some of our better “gaffs”…

    – Thinking we were buying toothpaste but ended up with mouthwash.
    – Tomato paste? Sauce? Diced? Your guess is as good as mine! It’s always a good surprise when you open the can.
    – Just what size is that box of ziplock bags?
    – Not knowing that at *this* store you have to weigh and price your fruits and veggies BEFORE you go to the register.
    – Just what is THAT veggie??!!
    – And for some unknown reason, we are NEVER able to figure out if we are buying dish soap, dishWASHER soap or laundry detergent. 🙂

    Ah yes, the joys of traveling — we LOVE it!!

    Jim

    Reply
    • August 28, 2019 at 8:31 pm
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      Now that’s some good stuff, Jim! Makes me feel like we’re not the only ones! Of course, we just went grocery shopping again this morning at a different store and it was pretty smooth sailing. I’d imagine within the next couple of weeks we’ll be like regulars at this place! 😉

      Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 9:45 pm
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    I can’t wait to watch your episode of house hunters international next year. 😂

    No, but really! After you’ve gone through the process of finding a new place, you should apply. They re-do your “shopping” experience and choosing your same place. A friend of ours that moved to Finland did it and enjoyed the experience.

    Sounds like you’re getting close to a new calm in your life. Can’t wait to here how it goes!

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    • August 29, 2019 at 9:05 am
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      I’ll have to dig into that, Adam! It’s really going well so far, but it’s still a lot of playing (we’re on a bus heading to a whale-watching trip right now. But overall, I think it’ll be a nice change of pace for us and a good chance for all of us to grow.

      Hope retirement’s treating you well, also! You’ve been writing some fantastic posts for sure!

      Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 9:55 pm
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    Hi, Boquete is one of the most beautiful place In Panamá, you definitly will enjoy it!. Strawberrys, the wheather, the people, the coffey also. Is just beautiful. And welcome yo my warmie country 😀

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 1:12 am
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    And so the adventure begins! Sounds like you guys are off to a great start Jim!

    I think you’ll find that over time any fears you had will slowly dissipate as you get more familiar and tackle the various challenges of living in Panama. Try not to fall into a “english speaking” bubble though! Keep practicing that Spanish!

    Just curious: Why does the power go out so often? Storms? Construction? Infrastructure problems?

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    • August 29, 2019 at 9:09 am
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      Funny enough, we’ve seen very little rain so far where we’re at. I believe most of the power outages are infrastructure related. If you talk to anyone here, they say to just get used to it. We just had another one last night for about 10 minutes. Yesterday I just bought a few surge protectors to help protect our stuff… see, I’m adapting!! 😉

      Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 12:07 pm
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    Hi Jim, Super excited to follow your adventures in Panama. I’m very envious of your decision to relocate as I’m now a full year into FIRE.
    We spent a few weeks in Panama last month. In Boquete, it was a great place as it is very beautiful, loved the ‘downtown’ vibe and the friendly people. Tuesday market good place to meet expats – a bit expensive but good to go. For your daughter if your having a down day, take her to Panadería y Dulceria Lidia – local bakery up by Boquete Brewing and Apizza, which wasn’t bad either. I’m quite sure my daughter bought one of every treat she could want for a whopping $4.35. It was a great low cost treat and adventure as better Spanish would have been helpful to know what we were buying rather than later tasting each pastry. But for less than $5 – I’m ok. Big Daddy Burger – yes we ventured in as well. We went on Monday night to the back area where they have ‘family karaoke’ after 7 or 8pm. It was an experience and the choreographed dance/singing was entertaining. Kid safe environment and very much a locals experience. Once you get settled, a trip to Bocas, while the drive is desolate, it was a fantastic experience. Car rental is extremely reasonable and in this part of Panama driving was a breeze. I’m looking forward to future updates. Enjoy!

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    • August 29, 2019 at 7:36 pm
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      Sounds like you guys had a great trip, Steve! Wish we were here when you visited! A lot of great places you mentioned – we were just talking with someone today about Apizza. We haven’t tried it yet (haven’t even had pizza here yet) but heard that place is pretty good.

      It’s funny that you mentioned Panadería y Dulceria Lidia – right before I saw that, Faith was talking about how she’s having a craving for a cake of some kind. We’ll put that on our list to check out this weekend – thanks!

      Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 7:31 pm
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    Congrats Jim! A dream for many is now your reality! With regards to eggs, not sure but I’ve been to a couple of countries and eggs are everywhere unrefrigerated. I think maybe the US is the only country that refrigerates eggs.

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    • August 29, 2019 at 7:49 pm
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      Thanks, Bernz! Coincidentally, I just heard a Planet Money podcast and they talked about why people in the US refrigerate their eggs. They said it’s because other countries vaccinate their chickens and then they’re pretty much hands-off for the rest of the journey. In the U.S., I guess the chickens aren’t vaccinated and then the eggs are cleaned adding other variables that can cause salmonella. Very timely podcast for sure! 🙂

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  • August 29, 2019 at 9:58 pm
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    Congrats Jim on surviving the long journey there but finally time to explore this new adventure! Years ago I went to Greece for 3 months. It took a little time getting used to “the outhouse”, washing clothes in 3 different buckets of water (no washing machines back then) and “siesta time” (was not used to napping mid day every day!) but I adapted and after 3 months I hated leaving! So give it some time, remain open minded & I’m sure you and your family adapt too.
    I’m just curious, is there a TV in your unit? Any English speaking channels?
    Have you tried opening a local bank account yet or do you plan on only using you Schwab account?
    Hope you have a great time whale watching. I did it in Monteray, Calif & Savannah, Ga & really loved it each time. Well worth the money for a day of fun in the sun & I bet Faith will love it too. Most kids are fascinated by animals.
    Keep us posted!

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    • August 30, 2019 at 9:05 pm
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      Hi Debbie – yes, we do have TV’s here (two in our place). To be honest, we haven’t watched any live TV. However, I’m told that there are a handful of English-speaking cable channels, but I’ll probably never no.

      No bank account for us. Right now, we’re just using cash, our Schwab debit card, and eventually, we’ll get cash out of the ATM as needed.

      Whale watching was good – we ended up seeing a bunch of ’em on the way back from the island. Great experience and like you said, worth the money for the fun we all had! 🙂

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  • September 2, 2019 at 12:00 pm
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    Glad you made it! It is surprising what happens when you get out of your own environment and you get into a better place! Removing yourself often forces you to adapt, adjust and change accordingly.

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  • September 3, 2019 at 8:39 am
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    This is very exciting! You’re the second family I’ve read about in the last week or so who’s moved to Panama. The other family was an older American woman who moved there along with at least one of her adult children. The country does look beautiful in your photos. For sure it’ll be hard to get around easily at the beginning, but I think you’ll look back on this time with very fond memories. I have, when I’ve lived in different countries around the world. And once you get past the difficulties, you’ll be totally in the groove and know whether you want to settle in permanently or not.

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    • September 3, 2019 at 3:35 pm
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      I feel what you’re saying about finding a groove. Our day-to-day has already gotten much smoother in the way it flows. We’re enjoying the different culture and finding our place here. Regardless, of whether we decide to stay here for decades or come back in a year, you’re right in that we’ll have the memories forever.

      Reply

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