Reflections on an Expat Year
There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all
– From “In My Life” by Lennon and McCartney
Today, May 1, is the one-year anniversary of our arrival in Boquete, Panama. A few weeks ago we wrote this about the things we’ve learned after a year of expat life. I can’t think of much to add — except to say that moving to Panama is the best thing we’ve done since September 26, 2001, the day we sailed out the Golden Gate Bridge on our sailboat, Compañía.
Then, as now, we knew we were leaving behind our comfortable, predictable world and entering a zone of discovery with no small amount of risk. The risk has paid off in spades with unexpected adventures and a healthier and less stressful lifestyle. Yes, there have been some heartaches, and we know that we will never be more than guests in this country. But John and I have never chosen the comfortable, easy path and our lives are much richer for it.
So why the Beatles lyrics? Because wherever we’ve gone the experience has been defined by the people that have crossed our path, both locals and fellow travelers. As cruising sailors, we forged friendships that we still have today, 15 years later. In Boquete, we’ve been blessed with a wonderful new network of friends, people we will be connected with wherever any of us might roam in the future. Of course we left behind close friends in the U.S., but there is something about the shared expat/traveler experience that bonds people in a deep and powerful way.
I don’t know what the future holds for John and me, with our fur kids Rosie and Tango, but I’m sure it’s going to be interesting!Courtesy of LatitudeAdjustment