House Sitting Panama Photography travel Wildlife

Pondering our Time in Panama

So, here we are closing in on the end of our 4.5 month stint in Panama. I have to say it has been quite an adventure. Through a friend, we were put in touch with the owners of this island paradise who required someone to act as caretakers while the resort was closed for the rainy season. Please understand, we came in with our eyes wide open. We have spent a significant amount of time in quasi remote locations and dealt with language differences in many locations. However our full emersion here with Spanish speaking staff, remote, as in 40 minute boat ride to nearest town, and the jungle environment has allowed us to grow like few other places have given us the chance to.

Reptiles Compilation
One of the things we still jump occasionally about is the sudden movement out of the corner of your eye. There is a lot of that here. There is nothing that truly wants to harm you, however that that does not stop one from jumping when you suddenly encounter a creature.

Our self confidence and willingness to go someplace new has increased dramatically over the last 6 years of travelling. But the shear volume of new situations and skills that this latest stay has provided us has been outstanding. From pool maintenance on a large scale to living with electricity for only half of the day as there really is no need to run the big generators full time for just the two of us. Also being careful not to dally underneath coconut trees as we have seen first hand those big buggers drop at regular intervals and you wouldn’t want to be hit by one.

Bird Compilation
One of the things I have enjoyed is having the time to sit and watch the bird life. That time spent watching has allowed me to get some wonderful photographs of the beautiful birds here.
Insect Compilation
I do have to be honest though and say that I will not miss the insect life. Some of it has been incredible and beautiful, but I have walked face first into a few too many spider webs. And I am always a little apprehensive when I reach for my glass of water on the bedside table, wondering if I am going to disturb a scorpion.

As is the case everywhere we have been, the people are the most memorable. The small number of staff who have been working at the resort are incredibly patient with these two bumbling gringos. Most know enough to talk slowly to us and use simple words and phrases. One of the things I truly appreciate is that a few of them will actually correct us when we say something incorrectly. That is not something that occurs regularly when you are viewed as a jefe (boss).

Jungle Grass Cutting
The work here is not easy. Something as simple as grass cutting is a full-time job that requires some problem solving to get it done.

We have even managed to fit in a little experience with the health care system here and I have to say that North American physicians could learn a ton in communication skills and customer service from the doctors we have encountered here.

When I noticed my odd bumps on my arm I wasn’t concerned. When skin started dying I became concerned. However, it just took a WhatsApp call to make an appointment, the next day. Tissue tests, medications, daily contact with the doctor with photos on WhatsApp as well as a referral to an Infectious Disease specialist who reviewed all the info and confirmed diagnosis left me feeling very impressed. And it all cost less than $250 US. Turned out to be a sandfly bite leaving behind a parasite called leishmania. Nasty little bugger, but it all turned out well. I am sure my steady diet of alcohol had something to do with my successful recovery.

Pool Compilation
Before you get all, “Ewww that is gross, I couldn’t go there” remember, I was able to console myself and recover in an awesome personal pool. On a clear night the pool was the place to be to truly appreciate the stars as well.
Turtle Time
Also, not everything we came across made us jump. Somethings left you with a grin from ear to ear.
Coconut Pecker
Having to shoo the woodpeckers away from the coconuts so you could get coconut water for making rice was another challenge we quite enjoyed.

Have we enjoyed ourselves here, yes. Would we do it again, absolutely. Sometimes life isn’t about having everything, sometimes it is about experiences and being put outside your comfort zone so you can grow.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

8 comments on “Pondering our Time in Panama

  1. Mark Beaven

    Thank you for continuing to share your adventures. I always look forward to reading about and seeing the latest updates from the brave journey the two of you are on.
    Wishing you the best for the future.
    Continued safe travels.

  2. WOW loved reading about your remote experiences. Yes, it is a great feeling when someone takes the time to help with our struggle in trying to communicate in another language. Recently it happened in the south of france. I am sure the cafe owners just couldn’t take our clumsy daily greeting.

    The image of hacking a coconut for it’s juice to make the rice actually as me salivating. I bet the rice was really good!

    Where next???

  3. Rob Geerds

    Always a great read Pete. You have inspired me to seek something different in our retirement. Although I could never do what you are doing I am planning to sell everything and live out of an RV and see North America. 6 to 9 years to go, starting the planning and prep now.

  4. Kevin Pattison

    Buddy I am very happy that you share your stories. I get a kick out of hearing and seeing how people afar seem to get along with what North Americans would feel unreasonable. Good on you and Karen for being present to experience life afar and embrace the local people and of course the pool lol.


  5. Lesley Wallace

    Keep em coming. Enjoyable to read and see your photos.

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