From Toronto To The Sun-Drenched Azuero Coast
Dec. 8, 2014, Pedasi, Panama: Valerie Longstaff is dividing her retirement between Toronto and Panama’s Azuero Coast, where she’s enjoying the tropical weather and building both a new life and a new business.
Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,
Valerie Longstaff was born in British Guyana (now Guyana) but grew up in Flushing, New York. From Flushing, Valerie moved with her family to Toronto, where she spent most of her life.
Today, though, you'll find Valerie in Pedasi, on the east coast of Panama's Azuero Peninsula. Valerie loves Toronto and has retained a home there, but she's in no hurry to return. She's too busy with her new life at the beach and the thriving bakery business she's established in Pedasi.
Panama Letter Editor Jocelyn Carnegie connected with Valerie recently…
Valerie, what drew you to Panama in the first place?
I was born in the tropics, and I knew I would always return. I've spent most of my life being cold, between New York and Toronto. Finally, I just needed to feel the sun again!
And you chose Panama?
It wasn't that easy, I can tell you. I wanted somewhere with white sand and Caribbean water. I was specifically not looking for darker sand beaches (not black), so it's funny I have ended up here on the Pacific coast of Panama where the sand is glorious but not bright white as in the Caribbean.
Which other countries did you consider?
I considered Venezuela, but I wasn't mad about Chavez. The situation in Venezuela all seems a little too crazy.
Mexico was out of the question for me. It's too close the United States. I wanted something farther afield. I went to Argentina several times, and I even considered New Zealand because it's English-speaking option, but I decided both those countries were too far from Toronto.