Frankly speaking, all I can say is the last fifteen years have been truly extraordinary. My expectations have been more than exceeded.  I have made friends from around the world, and seen places that I never dreamed I might have the opportunity to visit. After all of our explorations, we are now settling in Bocas eight months of the year. I am looking forward to a wonderful, affordable lifestyle in a mild climate close to the USA.

Living abroad is not for everyone. Most people who choose to try living in another country are adventurous, and have an interest in broadening their horizons beyond America. They want to learn about the world, as well as improve their lifestyle.

As North Americans we must be open-minded and appreciate the differences in other countries. It can be very limiting to set standards by comparing other cultures to what we have back home. I was just talking to a friend the other day about Expats who try to make living here in Panama just as if they were still living in the USA. They cannot seem to embrace the wonders and diversities of other cultures and how to merge into them. Fortunately, most of the expats I have met here are doing all they can to enjoy the experience of a new life in a diverse environment. A great example is that most of us learn it is never too late to adopt another language or adjust to a slower pace. “Take time to smell the flowers” as they say.

Admittedly, living abroad can be challenging and sometimes transitions are difficult. On the other hand, what if you could improve your lifestyle by about 200% AND do it for about half of what you spend today? Why wouldn’t you?

Does the prospect of never shoveling snow again or the idea of rising every morning to the sound of waves breaking on the beach sound appealing? Do you enjoy ideal climates where temperatures range from 85 to 90 in coastal regions and 60 to 75 in the mountains?

What if you could enjoy pristine beaches, still have city sophistication only an hour away, and/or a mountain hideaway 3 hours away? How about having a housekeeper and a handy-man/gardener take care of your beautiful home for $15-$25 a day?

Would these things allow you to have the opportunity to enjoy a more casual lifestyle where you could eat out, go to the theater or travel without fear of running out of money?

We had an answer for each of these questions. The tiny inconveniences that we “endure” (like not always having ripe Papayas available or not being able to find a good can opener) are a small price to pay for what we have gained in tranquility of life and lasting relationships with wonderful, like-minded friends.