I made the decision to move to Panama some time in the summer of 2015.

I’d been living in Finland for 12 years (since September 2003), and I’d decided (finally) that: enough is enough! “I hate winter, and I simply cannot tolerate it any longer!” (lol)

Go figure! One would think that, after having spent most of my adult life in the northern hemisphere — first the UK, then Russia, and finally Finland — I would be used to the snow and cold. Well, yeah, I became used to it. But, I never liked it.

So, why Panama?

Well, I’d made a list of possible places to move to; it was a short list, mainly because I had quite a few criteria on which I was adamant I would not compromise.

Top of the list was “weather”;

Next was general socio-economic atmosphere (not in the least of which was the issue of xenophobia — something I’d experienced most of my life, and with which I was no longer interested in putting up.

Then came other minor stuff, like: proximity to water, ease of access (being an avid traveler, I wanted a place from which I could get on a plane and fly somewhere else, easily, without having to ride a canoe for 3 days (lol)), etc.

I wasn’t at all concerned about finance; my job allows me to work remotely from anywhere, so that was a win already.

Nor was I concerned about the local language. I’m someone who’s always been able to learn new languages with the ease of reading the alphabet. Before moving to Panama, I spoke 4 languages fluently. Now, after having lived here for 10 months, I now speak Spanish, too.

So, with these criteria in mind, I made a list comprising 4 countries :

  • Australia
  • Thailand
  • Costa Rica
  • Panama

Australia was my favorite. Unfortunately, the “weather” issue dampened my ardor; Oz does get winter, which can sometimes be rather harsh. Oh, they don’t get snow, sure. But, still, temperatures falling down to zero, and below?  Nope, no way, Jose!

Thailand was number two. I’d already visited there 3 times in the past. Unfortunately, the socio-economic climate was less than favorable. For me, anyway (here’s the link to my Thailand experiences: My Thailand Travels )

I’ve never been to Costa Rica. And, before making a decision, I felt I ought to visit first, and see things for myself. But, when I started shopping for flight tickets, I saw that flights to Panama cost much less; and, from what I could glean from researching both countries, it seemed to make more sense to fly to Panama, and simply cross the border into Costa Rica by bus.

Hence, I decided to make a recon mission to Panama first, stay there for a while, and then head on to CR (I’d already decided that one of these two countries would be my new home).

From that moment, I began to plan eagerly. Sold off everything I had — from my car, and furniture, and right down to my kitchen utensils :=)

Then I bought two huge suitcases for whatever remained of my stuff.

And……………that was it.  AWAY WE GO ))))))))))))))))))))))))