More than a month ago, we started a draft of this post during a time when we were entertaining friends at our home for dinner parties and happy hours as well as hosting guests from Canada, New York and Austria. In between then and now, we have had many lunch, happy hour and dinner outings, enjoyed the Boquete Jazz Festival Garden Party, visited a local orchid finca (twice), played Team Trivia and bridge card games with friends, traveled to Panama City and camped in Wolfie both to and from, celebrated a birthday, taken thrice weekly yoga classes, continued our Spanish language studies and more. While we are beyond the time of the year when Panama celebrates its independence, when the roads are filled with the traffic of visitors who come to see the parades and the Boquete Flower and Coffee festival and more, there are the usual special events as well as the weekly events that make life in Boquete as rich and busy as one cares to makes his or her life.
As we have noted before, life here in Boquete is easy for us. The climate is incredible, the roads are good, the infrastructure works reasonably well and the cost of living is affordable. The scenery is breathtaking, even during the dry season, the flora and fauna is diverse. Food selection is broad and many foods are grown and sold locally. People, locals and expats alike, are friendly and helpful. There have been moments that have challenged us — and there have been tasks that have nearly brought us to our knees. But, our time here in Boquete has definitely allowed us to return to a state of plenty that was not usually possible on the road. What we felt we lacked the most on the road was a sense of community; here in Boquete, the sense of community is strong and vibrant.
We have settled so well and so completely into our expat lives in Panama that we sometimes have a difficult time remembering “those people” who took that epic 20 month, 60,000 mile journey through 10 countries before landing here. It is impossible for us to see if the trip changed us in any sustaining way. But we do believe that with every mile driven and with every waterfall, shoreline or glacier viewed, we found the inner parts of us becoming untethered from the roles of our earlier lives.
For us, the journey in and through different places becomes more than the observation of new vistas since it importantly allows for views inside us as much as outside. Perhaps this is the essence of the feeling of wanderlust. Our yearning for discovery – inside and out – pulls us in the direction of the road again and so we are leaving our easy life in Boquete for a trip to Southeast Asia for the next several months. Now that we have established our residency here in Panama, long-term house rental in hand, and vehicles imported, we have our home base from which we can resume our travels. At moments, it does seem a bit soon to leave the comfort of our home and community here in Boquete, but we vowed when we retired to continue our travels while we had the stamina, patience, health and excitement to do so. And so, we are off again – first to the US to visit with friends and family and then from there to Thailand, where we will launch our SE Asia travels.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said that “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” And so, we return to our nomadic lifestyle again, in search of new stories, new views of the world that humble and inform us, and to allow the experiences to make their marks upon our memories, and our bodies and our hearts.