Goodbye Panama

Panama: Photos
(This photo of Panama courtesy of TripAdvisor)

The unforeseen events of the past week have forced us to reexamine our current path. We have been living in Panama since August of this year. Although Panama was never intended to be our permanent home, we had anticipated living here for a year or two. That is not going to happen. It is sad in a way because there is so much to like about Panama. We have built relationships and we have come to know much about the incredible, unique beauty of the country.

I know many of my family, friends and readers are dying to know what occurred that would cause such an abrupt departure from Panama. Being a person who detests drama, I will not delve into details. Suffice it to say we were planning a business activity that included locals, and we arrived at an impasse that jeopardized our venture. My wife and I always hold ourselves to the highest levels of integrity in our lives. When our ethics were called into question, the damage was done.

This is not a story about regrets. My situation is analogous to breaking up with a college sweetheart. I loved her, and I will always cherish the memories of the moments we shared. Our paths converged for awhile, and now they diverge. It is not good or bad. It simply cannot be helped.

Now is a time to reflect on what originally drew us to Panama and what made us want to live here. Above all, Panama is beautiful. The diversity of flora and fauna is enough on which to feast your senses with the sights and sounds of birds, flowers and monkeys. And let us not overlook the taste and aroma of freshly brewed, locally grown coffee. Every breath of air is oxygen-rich, clean and fresh thanks to the cleansing rain that nourishes the abundant trees and shrubs. Above all, the people are generous and kind.

Not every aspect of life in Panama is easy. The heat and humidity at lower elevations is uncomfortable when you are not accustomed to it. People with allergies or respiratory conditions can suffer from the pollen, mold and mildew typical of a tropical climate. There is also the language barrier. Without adequate Spanish-speaking skills, it takes a little courage to venture out to shop, dine out, or converse with locals.

Panama, you are a young country with much to offer. I wish you well as you manage the challenges of economic growth and resource management as more and more people discover your beauty and rich diversity. Now it is time to say goodbye. It has been nice to know you.

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21 comments on “Goodbye Panama

  1. I’m sorry to hear this! Wishing you well on whatever path your new journey takes you!

  2. I’m so dissapointed that we didn’t Make it to Boquete in time to meet you and your wife! Sad to hear something happened to make you want to leave, but you do so with integrity and kindness. Please keep in touch, if you try living in another central or south American country please let me know so we can try to visit you. Cheers! And I wish you happiness wherever you end up!

    • I know, Holly. I’ve been anticipating your arrival. We think our next stop is Costa Rica for a few months. I will be actively writing about our new adventures, so stay tuned! I look forward to your blog updates from Panama! – Mike

  3. cj says:

    I admire youre ability to move on and I know that you will do so looking forward to the next adventure!

  4. kristc99 says:

    Best wishes and lots of luck on the next phase of your travels!

  5. Douglas E says:

    My belief is that for every door that closes, several new ones will open. Vaya con Dios.

  6. Michele R says:

    Where is life taking you now? Closer to us??? Hope all works out for you and we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers! Merry Christmas and a better New Year!!

    • I will be working in the Pacific Northwest during the 2013 travel season – coming out of retirement for a tour director position. (Frank Grecco is my role model.) After that, we’ll see. Merry Christmas to you and the family.

  7. jim and nena says:

    Hi Mike,
    I am so sorry to hear you are leaving. I have been following your blog since reading about it on ChiriquiChatter (which I have been following since it started).

    I married a girl from Boquete 4 decades ago, we still have family there and visit often. If it isn’t too personal and if you would care to say I would be interested in the events leading to your decision. jimandnena4@gmail.com
    jim and nena

  8. i totally understand how something can kick us into forward motion; Life has done that to me on many occasions, and on retrospect, I am so glad that I kept moving! Who knows where Life will take me next?!!!

    Have fun on the next chapter of your journey! I look forward to the stories!
    lisa/z

    • You have characterized the situation perfectly – we are being ‘kicked into forward motion.’ My wife says, “Why can’t we just go someplace and relax?” knowing full-well that is not in her character.

      We have not publicized our destination yet. I will announce our decision in a new blog post in two weeks, right around Jan. 12. Thanks for following and sharing your comments. – Mike

      • exactly! sometimes life wil kick me down a notch, and I’ll say, “That’s it! I’m changing! ” but one can’t change how we’re wired; it’s a bit like asking a kingfisher to sound like a canary!

        buen viaje! i look forward to your mid-january report!
        z

  9. Sorry that circumstances have brought you to this; I know you have enjoyed your time in Panama and we have enjoyed the ride. I look forward to hearing about where you land… I’m sure you’ll make the most of it! You are 1 of 4 blogs, that I have subscribed to and I keep finding myself not listed as following, and not getting them (actually, w/one blogger, it says I am following, but then I don’t get them… feh!) Alas… I will sign up again, and hope for better results. Good luck wherever you go Mike, and all the best in 2013.

    • We have only shared with family our new destination so that I may share with my readers the surprise announcement of our new home abroad about a week from now.
      Thank you so much for your readership, Dawn. Your are one of the highest ranked commenters on my blog, and that means more than I can say. I have likewise followed your stories from the time you wrote about traveling in Peru and the Amazon Basin with your family, and all the tides of emotion you have shared since. Your openness is inspirational and you challenge me to reach deeper to share the feelings within my experience, which I strive to do.
      Panama has been a wonderful chapter in our life abroad. While our time here ended sooner than expected, we learned a lot and met people we will remember fondly. It has always been our plan to move on, and we are excited about it! And BTW – I am coming out of retirement to lead motorcoach tours in the Pacific Northwest this summer. I’ll let you know when I’m in your neighborhood. – Mike

      • Very exciting times for you and your wife. I think it’s good to save the location as a surprise—we’ll all look forward to it! Where in the PNW will you be doing motor coach tours? Very cool… definitely let me know when you’re here.

  10. The tours will start in Seattle, make their way to Banff and Jasper via Kalispell, MT, and return through British Columbia via Vancouver. I hope they will stop for ice cream in Ferndale so I can hug my grandsons and brag about them a little on the way back to Seattle. The tours serve the over 50 crowd, so I will be in good company. I will blog about the tours as well. It should be interesting!

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