Have I Told You About My Friend Holly Carter?
While I have discussed a little about our decision to expatriate to Panama, I have been remiss in only giving a small mention to the significant influence that Holly Carter and her blog, Let The Adventure Begin!, had upon our early research and decision-making. Today, I read Holy’s blog post, celebrating their 3rd anniversary of their move to Panama, and I reflected, AGAIN, on the friends we have and the friends will WILL have.
Yesterday, Roque and I hosted a party ringing in the unofficial beginning of summer here in the Mid-Atlantic region. As we begin counting down our last 6 months (+/-) in DC before we head out on our road trip, we have decided to make sure to see and spend as much time as possible with friends and family here before we depart. It was a great time, filled with lots of conversation about our itinerary, gathering hints from those gathered about places to see and full of discussions about how many will travel vicariously as we crisscross the US and parts of Western Canada before heading south.
Back to Holly. When Roque and I started to consider moving to Panama, about 3 years ago, and started doing research, I said to Roque: “Someone HAS to have chronicled their decision-making on what is involved in expatriating to Panama.” Roque agreed and a short time later, I found Holly’s blog online which did pretty much exactly what I needed – a lengthy and detailed series of posts that insightfully provided needed information on how she and Scott came to the decision to move to Panama. Their thought process provided just the information we were seeking and we were hooked. So much so that I reached out to Holly through her blog, wrote her about our plans to visit, and she offered to us, as she has with countless others, an invitation to visit with her when we got to Boquete. I have no doubt that Holly has served as an ambassador to many of us from el Estados Unidos and I am eternally grateful for her generosity and friendship to us; for her willingness to provide information to us as we began our exploration and for her constant friendship. She not only inspired us to continue our plans to visit and expatriate to Panama but inspired me to start this blog. Just as importantly, she and Scott have become friends and we are in frequent touch and I know that wherever and whenever we land in Panama, we will have family there from the start.
Have I Told You About Our Friends Here?
Many of our local friends gathered at the party yesterday and as I looked out at those gathered, I realized that all have contributed, directly or indirectly, on our decision to move to Panama AND our decision to take the planned road trip. To those with whom Roque traveled north of the Arctic Circle to canoe on the Snake River — Pat and Peggy – we owe thanks for our plan to travel through the Canadian Rockies toward Alaska and onto Prudhoe Bay to dip our toes in the Arctic Ocean. To those who have lived oversees and continue to have significant outside-the-US connections – Cynthia, Vince, Andrea, George, Leigh among others – we owe gratitude in allowing open-mindedness about the beauties of seeing my homeland from a different vantage point. To those who have a love of the outdoors – Janice, Harry , Pat, Peggy, and others – we owe thanks for encouraging us to follow our hearts to travel as we plan to do and to explore so many of the national parks on our list. To those whose courage is exhibited in their commitment to making their non-mainstream partnerships and lifestyles work in a world not yet completely ready to embrace them as individuals and partners – Robert, John, Vince, Karen, Tom and others – we owe a huge debt of gratitude to inspiring us to search for ways that we can be ourselves, freely express ourselves and locate communities, whether small or large, where we will be comfortable, accepted and challenged as individuals.
To all of you – thanks for the encouragement, the friendship that has buoyed us and maintained us and will continue to maintain us, no matter what the distance. I have been amazed at how nearly ALL of our colleagues, relatives and friends have enthusiastically embraced and encouraged us to move forward with our planned travels and relocation efforts. This, significantly, demonstrates the depth, health, and specialness of the community of people we are proud to call family and chosen-family.
Travel With Us – Virtually or In Person
I have located many blogs and social media connections that have inspired and assisted us on so many levels and in one of them, one Overland traveler wrote about connecting with friends along the road and about being joined by those who wanted to caravan on portions of her travels. Connecting with people along the road is a no-brainer but I have been remiss in failing to formally invite you to join us for any part of our road trip that may interest you.
I recently posted our general route plan through the US and Canadian portions of our trip but neglected to share our plans for the timing of the trip so you can plan to join us along the way.
Roque and I plan to retire on October 31, 2016, after which we will begin the preparation necessary to set out on the trip – disposing of furniture and household belongings, outfitting the Frontier for the trip, gathering important paperwork, etc. How long this will take us is uncertain but we are committed to remaining in the DC area through Thanksgiving and likely some if not all of December. With our estimated departure date in January, and with our plan to reach the Montana-Canadian border by mid- or late-June at the latest (to travel in Canada and Alaska during the summer weather), a very rough travel timeline emerges:
- January 2017 – June 2017 DC to US-Canadian Border
- June 2017 – Labor Day Canada to Alaska to Vancouver, B.C.
- Labor Day – ? Vancouver, B.C. to Tijuana
The travel plan through California, the Western National Parks, Arizona and back to California to cross into Mexico will allow us to follow the seasons, approaching warmer climates as the fall and winter of 2017 unfolds, permitting us to stay as long as want to explore Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, Arches and Joshua Tree National Parks, among others. Once we cross into Baja California, we will have a better idea of what lies ahead for our journey through Mexico and Central America, a timeline which we will post at a later time.
Itching to visit Denali? Have you wanted to spend a week or so in Banff and Calgary? Join us there. Meet us in Vancouver? We would love to have you along. Camp in Bryce or Zion? Pack your bags and come hike with us. Want to see Tucson or Sedona but don’t want to camp? Let’s find an AirBnB or VBRO where we can hang together for some time together.
You have always been there for us; we will continue to be here or there for and with you, however you wish to travel.