Expats Aren’t Just Retirees

If you think the only expats moving to Panama are retirees, think again. More and more I see younger folks, and families choosing to vote with their feet and escape to Panama. For some “escape” means getting away from aspects of life in their home countries that they don’t like, but for a lot “escape” means escaping the typical, the usual, the 9 to 5 grind and escaping to a new world of adventure and possibilities.

A friend of mine told me that her son is giving up his $150K a year Silicon valley job, turning down the $200K offer his company made to keep him in his cubicle, and moving to Panama with his girlfriend to do his own thing, enjoy life, escape the endless mind-numbing meetings and get a life … in Panama!

It is now fairly easy to get a visa in Panama that allows you to work and earn a living, and the possibilities are endless.  Naturally to be successful you have to have a plan, put together a sound business plan, and do your homework.  Just come down and “open a business” willy nilly and you, like hundreds of Panamanians who do the same thing without doing their planning, homework and business plans, will fail.  Do it right and there is opportunity!

I came across a very interesting YouTube video of a young 17-year-old guy named Trent Bayless whose folks moved him from Dallas,Texas to Coronado, Panama when he was 14. It gives you an idea of a kid’s perspective on life as a teenage expat in Panama. Asked if he knew any Spanish when they moved to Panama, Trent replied, “Only the bad words because I’m from Texas and had a lot of Mexican friends.”

Trent obviously goes to a rather select school.  We have neighbors who moved to Palmira with their teenagers, who’ve gone to the local schools and thrived.  We know another gringo-Panamanian family whose kids went to school online.  When he was 15 the kid asked to go to the local school which offered one thing the online school didn’t: girls.