“Kathleen, I have been reading you for years. Some years ago, I considered investing in Honduras, which seemed like a good idea. Circumstances were not favorable at the time for us, though, as we had younger children and my husband was working at a busy Dublin hospital.
“Now we are on the verge of retiring, and your letters often mention the benefits of a country called Panama. Well, off we set last month to have a peek at what it had to offer. Thank you, for without the advice and idea from your publication, I never would have ventured over there. I enjoyed myself immensely and loved the mishmash of culture and the laissez-faire attitude to life.
“Of course, I did see life from a 5-star hotel and that can tint your glasses a little rose-colored. I spent a bit of time looking at the apartments in Punta Pacifica, and it all seems very attractive. The apartments looked very nice and, compared with prices in Ireland, seemed such a bargain.
“I know you lived in Ireland for some time and know our ways and customs. Do you think we Irish could settle in a country like Panama? I have a lovely beach house in Ardmore, Co. Waterford, and a Georgian house in Blackrock in Dublin. Still, I have this spirit of adventure, and, as Panama has so much to offer to retirees, it all seems very enticing.
“We are considering heading out again in the New Year with our now grown-up adult children to try to have another peek! Do you know of anyone who would like to exchange houses with us? I know it is cold in Ireland at this time, but it still can be interesting to visit.
“Our listing is on homeexchange.com, ID 52684, and our beach house is listed on Luxuryhomes.com. Click on Dublin and then on Pebble Beach.
“I know this request might seem a bit unorthodox, but I felt you would have some understanding regarding our query as you have lived in Ireland.”
— Mary B., Ireland
I’ve had Irish friends who’ve come to live in Panama and been happy here. And I can report that this American-Irish family (Jack was born in Ireland, and Lief and I are proud dual-passport-carrying Irish after seven years full-time residence on the island) is enjoying its Panama adventure immensely.
On the other hand, to state the obvious, it’s hot here in the tropics. And humid. Jack (who spent the first four years of his life in cold, gray Ireland) and Lief (who grew up in Arizona) suffer from it more than I do. Some days, they’re miserable.
Frankly, this (the weather) has been our big challenge adapting. But that’s not to say it’s the only challenging thing about living in Panama. Every place comes with challenges and difficulties, including, for example, Ireland.
But if you approach a new place with an open mind and a spirit of adventure, as you are doing, dear reader, I’d maintain that no move is a mistake…and that every adventure abroad enriches your life in ways you could never predict.
I say, go for it. If you decide to take the plunge, please get in touch again, as we’d love the chance to meet you. Don’t forget your sunscreen.