Retirement 2.0

We live in the closest thing to Paradise this side of the Pearly Gates.  We’ve lived in Panama now going on 16 years.  Some folks who’ve seen that our beautful home on our little farm in Palmira is for sale have asked, “Are you leaving Panama?”

The answer is no.  For 13 years I’ve been traveling the world on cruise ships talking about the places we visit.  And, just to clear this up, cruising isn’t going to disappear. There are some things about it, largely issues created by the competition amongst cruise lines to keep building bigger, and bigger and bigger.  Things will change post-Covid-19 as we enter the world of the “new normal.”  And many of these things should change!

The newest, most significant entry into the cruise market is Viking Cruises.  Long known for European River Cruises, Viking moved into blue water cruising eschewing many of the things that have come to characterize big-ship cruising: buffets, lines, amusement park rides, kids, art auctions, casinos, nickel and diming constantly, overpriced drinks with umbrellas, crowds, and that’s just for starters.  More and more I have intentionally been moving to the small ships of American Cruise Lines and Pearl Seas Cruises, for many of the same reasons.  Smaller ships, we can focus on the destinations we visit, everyone has a balcony, and everything is included.  Interestingly during this “no sail” 4255365_0period as cruise lines wrestled with the coronavirus pandemic, bookings for cruises close to home on American Cruise Lines have broken all records!

So cruising with enhancements and improvements of the new normal … and who says change can’t be better? … cruising will continue and as I look forward to moving into my 80’s, I plan to continue working.

So for years I’ve been traveling to some of the most exotic and beautiful places in the world and as a result people often ask me, “What’s the best place you’ve visited?”

My response is, “I like there!  In Panama!”

Don’t get me wrong, Panama is not perfect.  But for us, the title of my book THE NEW ESCAPE TO PARADISE, sums it up.  Panama allowed us to escape the high cost, traffic and hassle of life in the States and to live better for less.

So we’re not leaving Panama.  Have we thought about it at times?  Absolutely!  But this has become home.

And frankly, as we’ve watched various countries respond or fail to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, we have been very happy to be in Panama and the government response, although robust, has protected us and our Panamanian neighbors.

012-4-copyBut, as we both have gotten older, and I spend 4 to 6 months on ships (Unfortunately not this year!), we need less responsibility and to be able to pick up and go.  On most of my cruises Nikki can come along at little or no cost, but with the responsibilities of the house and farm it takes a lot of advance planning for her to be able to join me, and often the opportunities for her to come along are last minute.

So it is time for us to move on to Retirement 2.0.  Part of that is to downsize.  Fortunately, we own two building lots with all utilities.  Beautiful smaller lots where we could build a smaller 1,500 sq ft home and have more freedom to up and leave as opportunities present themselves.  So that’s why we’re selling what others have called, “the most beautiful home in Boquete.”

People thinking about escaping to Panama always wonder about the cost … so here’s what things cost …

• Town water $60 A YEAR!
• Trash pick up $30 A YEAR!
• Propane gas … for hot water, clothes dryer, cooking … $70 for a huge tank which lasts about 3 months.
• Electricity … for our house with 4 dehumidifiers, electric spa, our won well and water systems, out buildings, and rental casita on the property … $110 a month.
• The beautiful landscaping around our home, the rental casita and our driveway is maintained by one neighbor … a university student … who works one day a week, usually just 8 hours, at $1.75 per hour.
• Maid … once a week $30.

When the airspace in Panama reopens, and planes start flying again, maybe it’s time for you to make some decisions regarding your future in Panama!

If you’re coming to Panama, independently or a Panama tour, and you are actively looking to buy a spectacular, yet private property in the $600K range, let me know and I will be glad to show you around.