People ask,” What’s your plan once you get to Boquete ?”. Well…… We reserve the right to go with the flow, but to the best of our ability we have loosely concocted a plan. Our plans could change or alter slightly or it could maybe turn out just as we have imagined, or it could be nothing at all that we planned but even better, time will tell. But, so far, here’s what we hope to do.
Our plan is to rent a furnished house for the first six months to a year in Boquete . We don’t expect our container with all our belongings that we are shipping over to have arrived by the time we get there. It’s debatable exactly how long that might take, we won’t be holding our breath. So with that in mind and the fact that we want to take our time checking out various areas, renting something furnished seems like the best idea. When our container arrives we plan to put our belongings in storage until we have a more permanent residence.
After establishing a comfortable place to live and settling in , I want to immediately get enrolled in a Spanish school. I’m very determined and excited to become at least able to talk to people! It’s total and complete, torture for me when I can’t communicate with people! As you know, I love to talk and to get to know people! Not to mention the unbearable inability to eavesdrop on conversations during dinners out! (Come on, you know you do it too! 😏). So learning the language in my new home will be a big priority for me. I’ve never learned a language so I’m expecting this to be a huge challenge ! Expect a few very whiny blog posts during this time of the adventure! 😝
After finding a house to rent and while we focus on our Spanish learning, we will also be working on getting our permanent residency established . Scott knows more about this process than I do, but from what I do know, this can take some time and requires a lot of patience. We will retain an attorney for this process. We do read forums and blogs written by expats and many experienced folks recommend not attempting to do this without the assistance of someone who not only is fluent in the language but familiar with the laws and correct procedures .
Then there is the usual necessities of opening a bank account and purchasing a car. We read different things about the banking procedures in Panama and some accounts tell of the necessity of a ‘sponsor’ in order to be allowed to open an account, Huh? I know, strange. We’ll see. We also hope to find a decent 4WD vehicle to purchase as soon as we possibly can. There are plenty of car dealerships in David so we don’t anticipate any problem finding something that will get us from point A to point B . Not speaking Spanish could prove to be a bit hard but we shall see.
Finally, as soon as all this initial nesting is accomplished, we hope to begin our search for a piece of land to buy. Ideally , one or two acres would be great. We hope to follow in Al and Sela’s footsteps . They hired contractors to first build a small one bedroom casita that they then moved into. While they settled into their small casita they built a larger house on that same lot where they now live. And now they have a great little income generating casita as well as a place for family and friends to stay when they visit.(We shall see how many people actually visit???) From our observations of Boquete it looks like there are two major forms of tourism . First there are the backpackers, the younger, more frugal folks who gravitate towards the many, many hostels in the area. Since Boquete is right next to a beautiful national park there are a lot of outdoorsy activities like white water rafting, rock climbing, zip lining and much more. Then there are the ‘snow-birds’ who come from Canada and other snowy, colder parts of the U.S. for their winter. The later tend to rent a small house for a month or more to enjoy the temperate climate of the area. This is, in our minds, is a very realistic plan that we feel pretty confident we could make happen. The very tricky part is of course, making it work within our budget, which is not exceedingly large !
Early on, during our initial dreaming phase, we had thought possibly a small B&B would be our best plan. We really enjoy entertaining and Scott enjoys cooking for people. But, upon further reflection, it might create a similar lifestyle to the one we are currently trying to leave. A life where we just work too much! Nope! No thanks! This plan got tossed! Then we toyed around with a small cafe, bar & Grill kind of thing . In Ajjic, Mexico, we came across an expat owned example of what we thought was a genius set up. The place was tiny, no menus , just a chalk board on the wall with a list of the Tapas of the day. It had a small bar where I could picture yours truly making cosmo’s. ( I am an expert Cosmo maker!). And did I mention it was only open two days a week! Yep! Not too much work……. It’s still a good idea. Who knows exactly what our future holds?? It’s possible that we may discover our hammock warming skills trump any other idea ! My guess is that we would tire of being quite so unproductive, but I’m keeping it on the list anyways.
My clients of course wonder if I will continue to cut hair. I’m not planning to officially cut hair but who knows, I may find opportunities to do a little bartering or maybe I will find an opportunity to use this skill in some volunteer capacity . I’ll be open to whatever happens to come my way in regards to that. And , if it turns out that we need some income, it could come in handy. Hairdressing is a talent that is easy to do wherever I go. Even though my Los Altos prices would not follow me to most any other place! Nope, no one in Panama will be paying $75.00 for a haircut! Ha! And another thing is that I would never want to take business away from local Panamanian hairstylists. I am after all a guest in their country and want to be respectful of that fact.
Since our current plan involves building a house or two Scott will likely be very involved in that process. We plan to hire a contractor to build at least the major portions of the structures and Scott can oversee it and make sure it’s all being done to our specifications. He would probably do all or most of the interior work like cabinetry and tile work. I bet he will first have a large workshop built so he can have a home for all those precious tools of his. I imagine this project will keep him busy for some time.
This is our plan, at least , our best guess at a plan for the early stages of our adventure. But we are open to modifications , or total changes given whatever unavoidable or unaccounted for situations come our way. I think a large part of this adventure will be just that,”an Adventure!”. Which means we will just roll with life as it unfolds in front of us and do our best to create a life for ourselves that gives us as much pleasure as we can muster! It could turn out as we planned but most likely , as life is always unpredictable, it will morph into something we never could have imagined. Here’s to hoping its a pleasant surprise! I’ll keep you posted, for sure! It wouldn’t be an adventure if we were beholden to a strict , precise plan. It’s best to let go of expectations and go with whatever life sends our way. We are comfortable with our loosely concocted diabolical plan for our very own awesome adventure. Cheers!