By Kimberly Roberts

Searching the internet for any pre-packing tips on traveling and you will find countless articles with titles like “Top 10 Things To Take With You”, “Must Haves Every Traveler Should Take To X”, and “Best Things To Take With You To X.

I have found however, far greater in significance is what you shouldn’t take with you.  Each of us as humans are oft to take familiar things with us – a little piece of home.  A picture, a favourite pillow case, our usual coffee mug. You name it.  And that’s not what I’m talking about here.

Instead, in my travel experience I have found that things go far better when we LEAVE a few things behind, like:

“That Crazed Sense of Urgency”  – Hey, you’re in the islands m’on!  It’s all laid back here.  Time and life run at a different pace here.  So leave that ‘running list in your head’ of all the things you want to get done and enjoy the beautiful playas (beaches), soak up the unique soundtrack of parrots, water taxi engines and latino musica, and crack a cerveza.  It’s all good – it will happen – just on ‘Bocas time.’  Now don’t get me wrong, we WILL jump into action here – if it’s an emergency, you know, like a real one or if someone has run out of ice for the cooler!

“Why Don’t ‘They’ Do It Like This?” – that urge we all have to compare and contrast ways of life.  Even in the US, we compare one part of the country to the other – we all do it.  Hey, you moved to Bocas del Toro for a reason to enjoy a different way of life. So go ahead, note what is different, ask questions, and learn why ‘they’ do it a bit different and you’ll have a far greater time and I guarantee you – will likely make a ton more friends here too!

“….Just Like At Home” – this one is just as treacherous.  It’s a slippery slope of trying to make things like back in North America. It’s not why any of us came here. We came because it’s UNLIKE what we left. I for one want to keep it that way.  It’s all about the mindset.  For example, shopping the ‘gringo’ stores over the local stores just because the latter seems more comfortable.  Or always avoiding the local cuisine instead opting for the familiar.  Now, I love a great burger like nobody’s business, but I ALSO love a great plate of rice, beans and patacones (think fried potatoes  – but better!).  Try – adapt to your environment – and you will be surprised at how many new things you love in your life!

“The ‘Eww’…” – it’s just part of the adventure, my friend.  You will have many things in your Bocas life that you would NEVER dream of back home but are part of everyday life on the islands.  For example, boxed milk found on the shelf at the grocery vs in the fridge, or un-refrigerated eggs (trust me – there is a reason), really good boxed wine (who knew?!), imperfect fruits and veggies, and more.  Then of course, there are those ‘roommates’ who are a part of any island home like ants, geckos, and yes, cucarachas.  And last, but not least – NOT flushing your tp.

If you leave these behind and INSTEAD pack:  your sense of adventure, your love of people, and your curiosity, you will have a far better transition in your new Bocas del Toro home!

Written by: International Speaker & Lifestyle Strategist, Kimberly Roberts is the Chief Rebel-rouser, founder of Rebel Livin’. In her 20+ years of corporate management, she saw too many punching in and out of life, so she made it her mission to influence others to live their ‘somedays’ TODAY!  Her adventures include holding an elected office at 16, going from fair queen to soldier, driving a CASCAR and IndyLite car, being featured on Vanity Fair – all to have kickass stories when she’s 90!  When not helping others with their adventures, this proud mom can be found tweeting @RebelLiveN and writing for