I’m Moving to Panama on Tuesday. Why? … Why Not?

Goodbye America, Hello Panama!

Last Friday I quit my job, bought a one-way plane ticket to Central America and started figuring out how to pack my entire life into a backpack.  I’m flying to San Jose, Costa Rica after which I will make my way down to Panama in search of work, the perfect beach and a new way of life.  The idea is to get an English Teaching position in Panama City, but upon departure I have no real concrete plans.  I don’t speak a word of Spanish, I’m traveling solo and I don’t know anyone down there.  How long will I stay?  Your guess is as good as mine…  There is usually a string of questions and bewildered stares associated with telling people about my plan all of which I will attempt to answer here.

Why are you doing this?

Have you ever woken up from an amazing dream and desperately wanted to go back to sleep to return to that world?  In your dreamworld you were sitting in a “Corona Commercial” style beach with your friends deciding whether to drink another beer or go surfing, but in reality your alarm is buzzing for you to get up and start the work week.  Have you ever wanted to try and make your dreams a reality and instead of snoozing one more time in hopes of a brief return to your dreamworld?  This is why I’ve decided to quit my job, leave everything behind and head to Panama, I got sick of snoozing…

Not for me...

Last summer I spent 4 months in Europe backpacking mostly in the east.  Upon my return I thought I had scratched my travel itch successfully and tried to act like a normal 24-year-old American guy.  I started my own cleaning business called Hangover Helpers cleaning up after College parties and providing burritos and Gatorades to those ailing a hangover.  I also worked in an office creating technical videos for a software company all the while living in my parent’s basement to try and re-coup the funds I used during my summer travels.   Even though the business was starting to pick up and we created national media attention for our novel idea, I quickly realized spending my weeks in an office and my weekends cleaning up disgusting party messes wasn’t what I was built for.  I found myself constantly staring at maps daydreaming of living in obscure countries.  Many of my friends were already beginning to progress in their jobs, move in with their girlfriends and start acquiring nicer things.  “Living for the Weekend” seemed like a common theme among my peers, struggling through 5 boring days of work waiting for 2 days to relax and hang with their friends.  I began to realize that at this point in my life I’m not ready for this type of lifestyle and if I heard one more radio announcer exclaim their excitement with Monday being over I was going to scream!  Every paycheck I would receive I would think of in terms of plane tickets and how long I could travel for with that dollar amount rather than saving to buy a new car or TV.   After one particularly long week I realized that another adventure was inevitable so I began trying to sell everything I wouldn’t need, put in my two weeks notice at work and avidly searched for the cheapest plane ticket out of the country.

Why Panama?

I grew up near the mountains and studied French in school.  To change things up I decided I wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country near the ocean.  With these simple guidelines I sat down with a map and looked for a cool place to go.  Panama speaks Spanish, is only a couple hundred miles wide bordering both major oceans.  I read that the living is cheap, beaches are beautiful and seafood is delicious, why not?

Are you nervous? You can’t speak the language, going alone and don’t even really have an actual plan…

Boredom scares me more than anything else.  A complacent routine lifestyle doing the same thing every single day absolutely terrifies me.  Besides, the things in life that make us slightly nervous are usually the best ones anyway.  From getting married, having kids or going on an adventure the nerve racking excitement and anticipation are good feelings.

Are you crazy? 

I guess it depends on your definition of crazy.  To me spending the prime years of your life sitting in a cubical, staring at a computer screen until your eyes water, day in and day out its absolutely nuts!  There so much more to life than working for a bigger paycheck, I think it’s crazy not to take an adventure or two and experience something new…