Friday - July 11 - 09:45 PM Filed in: General
The original title for this post was going to be, “Why Panama?” - but the process started with a much broader search and had a background element that made my process somewhat unique. Early in my life (several decades ago, when I was nineteen) our family spent two years in Africa. My two sisters and I attended the University of Nigeria while my father was on faculty. During those years I traveled within Africa, the Middle East and most of Europe and I have been a traveler (not a tourist) ever since. It’s in my nature to explore, take the roads less traveled and seek out new experiences and the excitement that comes with those experiences. Jane observed that every ten years or so it’s time to “hit the road”, again.
Against that background and our pending retirements I started to research where our next adventure might take us. From small town America (even a traveler needs to remember where they are from) to more exotic alternatives. I had several requirements: an affordable cost of living, good health care, stable government, friendly people, and a good travel base. Ideally it would offer both the familiar (nothing wrong about eating at McDonald’s or shopping at a nice mall) and a chance to experience something new. It would also need to be somewhere Jane would enjoy and allow her an easy trip home (Kentucky) to see family and friends.
After a lot of research, several things started to become a little clearer. Places left the list (in some cases, they were not even seriously considered) for a myriad of reasons. A “return to the U.S. mainland” looked more attractive as a later option - when our ability to travel becomes limited. And .... Panama kept showing up as a possibility. After a lot of talking (mostly by me) Jane and I decided that an extended trip to Panama was prudent - just to see if their were any “deal killers”. So, in July of 2006 we spent a month touring the country. We liked what we saw and experienced. It meet our criteria (cost of living, health care, etc) and we found no real surprises that were not positive. We returned to St. Croix (talked some more) and started looking at the timing. Jane wanted to “teach one more year”, we had a house to sell and all those little details to work out so it looked like June of 2008 might work. The adventure had begun.