img_3461 A Bittersweet Time Moving to Panama This past week has been an emotional roller coaster. Within seven days we have: sold a car, sold a good percentage of our furniture, and (drum roll, please) accepted a CASH offer on our house above our asking price, even before it was officially listed! I am a strong believer in signs and portents. And all of the tea leaves here are reading “This move to Panama is the right decision. Full steam ahead!”

“So, Susan,” you ask. “Why the emotional coaster ride? Aren’t you beyond elated?” Of course we are. But for the first time, we’re actually confronting the reality of leaving our home here in Long Beach. And I gotta tell you, it’s breaking my heart a little. John and I have owned several homes, loving each one more than the last, and there’s something about this house that fits us like a glove. I know the minute we set foot on Panamanian soil and see those two pup faces looking out at us from their crates, all things Long Beach will be forgotten. But for now, I’m letting myself be a bit wistful . . .

The best news about this is the lady that’s buying our house. She is over-the-moon in love with it, which makes us happy. In her offer letter, she speaks of the serenity she feels here and of vacationing forever in our home with her three dogs (two beagles and a bagle). All together now: Awww! A dog lover who “gets” our house and what we love about it! Could it be any better?

Also, we’ve had an interesting health development with John. For several years he’s had a condition called atrial fibrillation, which is fancy jargon for an irregular heartbeat. He’d been controlling it with medication, but in the past couple of weeks it’s gotten worse. We were planning to seek out a cardiologist as soon as we got to Panama, but his worsening condition has changed things. As luck would have it, his cardiologist here convinced California’s best electrophysiologist (fancy jargon for a cardiologist who specializes in the heart’s electrical stimulation mechanism) to squeeze John in before we leave. This rock-star doctor will perform a procedure called catheter ablation, which has a success rate of 80-90 percent for a-fib. This does NOT mean we lack confidence in the Panamanian doctors; it just means we’ll be able to tick off another worrying detail before we move. And we actually get to use that uber-pricey COBRA health insurance we’re paying for. Signs, signs, everywhere a sign . . .

Forty days and counting!


  1. I can relate to the emotional roller coaster. Before we moved from Auburn, California to Pedasí, Panama, we sold our home, cars, and almost everything except what would fit in a 4X4X6 wooden crate and our suitcases. I looked forward to moving to Panama and knew it was the right choice (having received lots of good signs, also), but every time we sold something or gave it away to family or friends, I felt a little tug in my heart. But I also felt a feeling a sense of freedom as each piece of furniture, car, appliance, etc. was sold and gone- amazing how much stuff we had acquired over the years. Many of the things held memories, some things from a long time ago, some things we worked hard to acquire. And now I was giving most of it up. But once we moved, I really didn’t miss any of it. As a matter of fact, we now believe we brought too much. Starting a new life here has been very rewarding and has freed us up from being so dependent on things. Thus the emotional roller coaster disappeared eventually as we settled in. I don’t really miss any of it much. We have been blessed with so much more here and have learned to do without all that stuff.

    • Thank you, Connie. We are so on the same wavelength about “stuff.” Having been through this once before when we moved aboard our boat, we know that any momentary “tugs” we feel now will be long gone once we start our new adventure. Heck, we had our first garage sale two weeks ago, made a stack of money, and don’t even remember what we sold!

      I’m interested in who you used for your mini-shipment. Several of our Panamanian friends have recommended a shipping outfit called Delvi – is that who you used? We will be shipping some very limited items down; certainly no more than you shipped.

      • Aah, the memories of a few garage sales. Yes, we shipped our crate using Delvi. The biggest cost was getting it to Florida, but my husband Mikkel had a friend in the freight forwarding business that gave us a deal. Delvi shipped it to Riba Smith in Panama City where we picked it up with a box truck and took to Pedasi. We had a slight problem with Delvi because the treated wood used to build the crate was not officially stamped, but our lawyer somehow got them to release it. We would still recommend them. If you want more information, let me know.

  2. Patrick Lyon Reply

    I think you both are going to have a fantastic adventure! My wife and I are still about 9 years away from starting our travel adventures and are so excited for you both! Keep calm and sell on!

  3. I remember that time just before moving, and it is a crazy time indeed! Just remember that this too shall pass. Fast forward, and you will be in a new place you love. Good luck to John! I’ve had hardly an patients who had that done because people bounce right back and don’t need anything afterwards. I hope it is so for him too. Congrats on the house! That’s fantastic.

  4. Janis Peace Reply

    Glad to hear the plan is progressing successfully!! Good news about John going to doctor sooner than later. Let me know how that goes.
    Glad to hear about the house and furniture. I know that is a relief.
    Most of the rafting companies have decided not to open this year up on the Kern. Only 12% of normal snow up in the Sierras.
    I am still in SB. Weather and family and kids doing well. Hope to see you before you leave again! XO Janis

  5. Congratulations on selling your house to the perfect person. I believe in serendipity. Nothing happens just by coincidence. It is in the stars leading you home to Panama. Hope John will be feeling better than ever soon. Buenos suerte.

  6. Delvi is good shipping company. We, too, sold all of our things and are in Chame. Our house also sold to a wonderful family, and they have done beautiful things with it since they moved in. It’s all good, and part of the plan you have put out for yourself. Keep moving forward, and cheers!

  7. Lauren Donder Reply

    I’m so glad John is having this health issue addressed sooner rather than later.

  8. Congrats on being so close your moving date! My wife and I are scheduled to arrive on September 1st — still a few months away, but the task of selling almost everything we own between now and then feels like more than a full-time job! We’ll be renting a casita in the El Santuario area and look forward to meeting you!

    T & Linda Napier

    • Hi there – I was just reading through your blog (I think you must have comments disabled?) and you have some treasures, indeed! That kitchen backsplash is to die for. Of course you have to keep that. As you get more and more into the process it will be easier to figure out what you can’t live without and what you can. Best of luck and we look forward to meeting you down there!

  9. Susan Leverton Reply

    John , good luck with the surgery.the house news is marvelous. Let us know when you need that blow up mattress


    One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing something. Henry Miller

  10. The signs are definitely pointing to the positive! So excited for you and your new adventure. John, I know you will be in much better health once this process is done and over with. As you know, my best to you both. This is going to be such a great opportunity and I am so envious.

  11. Hi, thanks for the blog. We enjoy it from Bocas del Toro.

    Just FYI, my wife had the ablation about 8 yrs ago and it completely fixed the problem. I was nothing short of a miracle – so effective yet it was relatively easy and painless. Best wishes! – Mark

  12. How did your Afib RFA turn out John? I was RN in the Cardiology IPR (Invasive Prep & Recovery) at the Ross Heart Hospital of The Ohio State University. We cared for all of the EP, Cardiac Cath, & outpatient Vascular patients. My career was cut short due to a work related back injury.

  13. Hola,
    I’m sure you have seen your share of case’s.

    I am a ok!!! 🙂 Thanks for asking!

    Seven months later and totally off my meds. It is a relief!
    Hope your back is better.
    When are you guys coming down here?
    Anything we can do to assist let us know?


  14. Susan and John, James and I can certainly relate to your experience – and bittersweet is the perfect word. Our tale is very similar – my Dad always described it as a “dog that chased the car and caught it” moment. We were moving from the States to Khartoum, Sudan. And WOW! what an experience that launched our lifelong love of travel and exploring new places. It’s great to see that it turned out so well for you. All the very best, Terri

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thank you, Terri! We’re kindred spirits, for sure 🙂

  15. Susan and John, interesting to learn about how you felt back then. But now we all now how it has all turned out to be so fantastic and you are having an amazing time. I can relate to some extent, since Brian and I sold our big family home back in 2018. We downsized to a little townhouse and we have also since then retired, life could not be better. We love it.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thank you, Gilda – yes, we’ve been very blessed and we would not have changed a thing. Looks like you have followed a similar path with fantastic results! Have a lovely day.

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