Four weeks from today, Lief and I will be on a plane bound for Paris. We are four weeks away from our repositioning back to the City of Light.
I can’t wait.
We came to Panama City to start a business. I’d been covering the international living beat for nearly two-and-a-half decades at that point… as a partner in a much bigger operation. When I decided to strike out on my own, I realized that launching my start-up in Paris would be to stack the deck against myself.
France doesn’t like entrepreneurs. Panama, meantime, I knew from firsthand experience, rewards them.
So from Paris to Panama City Lief and I came with our 8-year-old son and my business plan.
Now, nine years later, 17-year-old Jackson is in his final year at Panama’s French school. Mid-June he and his classmates will travel to Bogotá to sit for the bac. Jackson will come away from this weeklong exam (assuming he passes!) with a French high school diploma.
Jackson will be graduated… and Lief and I will be much more flexible, no longer required to schedule our travel around Jackson’s school calendar.
Meantime, the business we came to Panama to build is up and running at full steam. Panama has rewarded us even more generously than we might have hoped. Thanks to the country’s Friendly Nations visa, we’ve been able to employ a few dozen 20- and 30-somethings from all around the world.
Time for these smart, ambitious, hard-working, fully fledged Millennials to take over at the helm of day-to-day operations of our expanding Live and Invest Overseas enterprise.
And time for Lief and me to hit the road. I wonder how long until they notice that “the olds” have left the building…
The past few years we’ve been hunkered down in Panama, raising our son and building a business. Now that both are grown up enough to take their first independent steps, Lief and I are allowing our imaginations to wander.
If we could go anywhere, where would we go…
Paris will always be the first answer to that question for me, thus the core of our plan.
This repositioning to the City of Light marks the start of what we imagine to be the final stage of our live-and-invest-overseas plan. As we look ahead to less time in the office and more time on the road, we prioritize not only flexibility but also family. Where will the kids be most interested in hanging out with us? I want to be sure that we’ve got space enough in those places to accommodate an expanding (fingers crossed) family tree.
Lief and I also prize change, contrast, and the unexpected. This is why our long-term plan has always been to move around among places where we know we like to spend time while forever allowing that list to evolve as we happen upon new places we decide we’d like to be able to get to know better.
This summer our focus is on Europe. How can anyone with U.S. dollars in his pocket resist the opportunity the Old World is presenting? We’ll unpack in Paris and then travel to Siena in time for this year’s Palio.
My first year as a professional writer, editing International Living magazine, I was tasked with producing a feature on festivals around the world. This goes back more years than I like to admit to a time when I’d been nearly nowhere.
Among the fairs and fetes I reported on in that article was the medieval Palio di Siena horse race. Colorfully costumed riders race bareback through Siena’s Piazza del Campo. The spectacle lasts all of 90 seconds, and I’ve dreamed of seeing it live ever since I learned of it decades ago. Lief bought tickets for us and a few friends, including dinner with some of the riders, as a birthday present for me.
From Siena to the Algarve to host this year’s Live and Invest in Portugal Conference (the Early Bird Discount for this expires next week… and the room is filling… this could be our first-ever sold-out event in Europe… we aren’t the only ones inspired to take advantage of the dollar’s advantage on the Continent this summer)…
After the conference, it’ll be back to Paris, our new base, and then, a week later, off to Ireland.
As Lief and I look ahead to the coming couple of decades, we’re asking ourselves, as we have so many times over the past 20 years we’ve been together: If we could be anywhere, where would we be…
Each time we’ve asked ourselves that question, we’ve come back around to Paris. This time when we ask, we say Paris… and also Waterford, Ireland.
Waterford is where this all started… where Lief and I met… where we were engaged… where we moved with my 8-year-old daughter to start our lives together… where Jackson was born… where we first tried these live-and-invest-overseas ideas on for size…
Now that we’re turning the corner to our next live-and-invest-overseas phase, I’m keen that Waterford again play a part. Friends in the area have been in touch to tell us of a house for sale that seems like it’d be an ideal country life complement to our little Paris pad.
This summer, we’re going to go have a look.