About This Blog

For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know. The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.

– Richard Bode, First You Have to Row a Little Boat

SV300094
John and Susan in the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal aboard their boat “Compania,” March 2004

Bienvenidos! We are John and Susan Pazera, residents of Boquete, Chiriqui Province, Panama. In 2001, we took our last sail out under the Golden Gate Bridge and set off on the trip of our lives: a three-year journey down the Pacific coast and through the Panama Canal. Although that “making a living” thing has interfered in the meantime, the sailing adventure has never left us – and it’s driven a passion for travel and new experiences that informs almost every major decision we make.

And now the adventure continues. After almost a decade of “what ifs,” dreaming, and planning, we moved to the highlands of Western Panama in April 2015. We came here from Long Beach, California with two big dog crates, two sweet dogs, and not much more, to find out what lay around the next bend.

Our decision to move to Panama was in the works for many years. Now that it has come to fruition, this blog is our way of sharing our experience as world travelers and expats in Panama. Our hope is that you too will be inspired to jump out of your comfort zone and find the thing that floats your boat — and perhaps even plan an escape of your own!

22 Comments

  1. oldsalt1942 Reply

    You wanna know something? No matter how much you think you’ve pared things down you’ll probably find you’ve brought too much. I came down with three duffle bags and a roll-around computer thingy. I could have gotten away with one duffle.

  2. Bravo! Our attitude about life exactly. Looking forward to keeping track of your adventures in Panama.

  3. For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know. The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.

    – Richard Bode, First You Have to Row a Little Boat

    As an avid quote collector, this message spoke to me today. It’s interesting how we never know where the ripples in the pond will travel.

    • Hi Mariah and By,
      Just clicking around in the blog and realized I never replied to this, or to your comment back in November in the “Hey, What’s Your Story” section. Sorry!
      We have always loved that Richard Bode quote – it was our motto when we first set out on our boat in 2001 and it still guides us today.
      Please keep us posted on your moving plans. We look forward to meeting you!
      – Susan

  4. Hola Susan & John, awhile back I reserved “First You Have to Row a Little Boat” from our library. When it arrived sometime later I’d forgotten why I’d put it in my qué. We’re both avid readers so By read it first then set it aside for me knowing I would enjoy the contemplative tone. He was correct, it is a little gem chalk full of wisdom. It was during my reading that I remembered the quote on your blog was what brought this book to us. Thank you!
    “Be with what is so that what is to be may become.” Sören Kierkegaard

  5. Hi, you two. I stumbled across your post about a year ago and became addicted. We just concluded our first trip to Panama in November and are planning our next visit. The prize is a move there in about 18-24 months. We are also wanderlusts and dog lovers (three) and your posts are fresh air to us. With that in mind, we’ll definitely let you know when we are next in the area and would look forward to a get together if you like. We already have friends in Boquete and I would not be surprised if you know them! Keep posting!

  6. Mitch Levine Reply

    Hi John..I am so enjoying your blogs about your adventurers and experiences in PANAMA. I am also a Texan who was born and raised here and now at 59 ready for a lifestyle that HAS LESS CHAOS. I would like to plan a trip down to your Paradise but would love some hand holding. I am a single man that will not have to work and loves the water ,scuba ect.I have read about different places but would like a place to start ..not panama city..If you have time could you drop me a line and let me know if 2 weeks 3 weeks ..ect would be ideal when coming down to explore..Thanks in advance..Mitch from Dallas

  7. Hi Mitch, just saw your note – sorry about our delayed reply. If you’ve never been to Panama, you should give yourself at least three weeks to explore the country. A month would be even better. And you really should plan on spending some time exploring Panama City, especially Casco Viejo (the old town) and the Panama Canal.

    As far as settling here, it all depends on your comfort level. If you like the water but don’t mind heat and humidity, check out the Boca Chica area on the Pacific side. The Coronado area, closer to PC, has great beaches but is more developed. On the Atlantic side, Bocas del Toro is a Caribbean-influenced group of islands that is a blast to visit (check out our blog post about our trip to Bocas).

    If you prefer a cooler, more temperate climate, check out the highland areas like Boquete and El Valle de Anton. Boquete has the advantage of higher elevation and cooler temps, but is only a 45-min drive to some nice beaches.

    I am completely glossing over and leaving out many great areas in Panama that deserve a look. My advice is to read every blog you can find and get a feel for what life is like in other areas.

    Keep us posted on your research!

    Ciao,
    Susan

  8. Hopefully we’ll meet you in Boquete soon! We have already bought our house there and will be heading off (in a camper) with 2 big dogs, a cat and a chicken – in July!

  9. John & Susan, I found your blog because I was searching for posts about Cuba… I’m going there during August 🙂 your posts where really useful thanks 🙂 I will definitely start following you 😉 your blog is lovely

  10. Sara Crocker Reply

    John and Susan,
    My hubby and I are planning on moving to Panama later this year and I’m coming to Panama in late May for a reconnaissance trip with a couple old friends. I plan on being in Boquete area from around May 25 – 31. Would it be possible to get together with you to talk about your experience living in Boquete?
    thanks so much and glad I found your blog!
    Sara

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Hi Sara,

      Thanks for visiting our blog!
      Sure, we’ll be in town then and we’d be happy to get together. You can email us at thepazeras@gmail.com and we’ll make a plan.

      Just curious – how did you find out about us? A big bunch of people subscribed to our blog today and we’re wondering if it got mentioned somewhere else.

      Cheers,
      Susan

  11. Over and over again your blog gets KUDOS from us, always positive “glass more than 1/2 full perspective” and a delight to read, refreshing and welcome!

    MUCHAS GRACIAS AMIGOS keep it up!!!! You are among the elite of “positive thinkers loving life”.

    Cathy & Larry

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thank you, dear friends! I think we’ve learned a lot of that positivity from you two 🙂 See you soon.
      J/S

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