The Background: We’ve been married since 2004. For the past 16 years, we have been residing in California building our careers and our family. Since we have been together, we’ve had a passion for travel and exploring other cultures. We had often fantasized about the idea of living internationally. Then a couple of years ago, we started thinking about it seriously. Could we really do it? Should we really do it? We had a great life and had built a wonderful community. We had jobs we liked, but not jobs we loved. We both wanted to find something we were passionate about and wanted to have an amazing life experience, even if it meant leaving behind the stability. We decided that if we were ever going to do it, the time was now, when the kids were young. We didn’t want to look back and feel like we missed a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Plan: We’ve purchased a property on the Azuero coast of Panama (about four hours outside of Panama City), close to the town of Pedasi. Our vision is to build up the property and turn it into an full service vacation rental for groups or families. We know how challenging it can be for people to travel with younger kids. It often limits the types of adventures families are willing to take. We want to create a destination where families could experience adventure travel with their kids and “just show up.” Everything would be taken care of for them- lodging, food, excursion planning- all in a kid friendly atmosphere. We plan on residing on the property for a couple of years and then returning to the States to run it remotely.
Why Panama? BC’s mother lives in Panama, and he had spent his happiest childhood years there. He wanted to give our children the same opportunity to learn his culture, immerse in the language, and connect with extended family. We also saw it as a good business opportunity. The economy there is relatively strong and stable, and the tourism business isn’t over saturated.
Meet the Team:
SC: wife, mom, and author of this blog. I’m the risk averse partner that needs to be pepped talked into everything. BC says I was born 70 years old, and that’s pretty accurate. For this venture, I have zero skills or experience in running a business, so I don’t bring much to the table except for Pinterest vision boards.
BC: husband, dad, and mastermind behind this crazy venture. BC is the embodiment of the absent minded professor stereotype. He is big on vision and strategy, but he can also nail down the specifics in a million analytical spreadsheets. Yet, somehow, he still can’t figure out how to put his clothes in the laundry hamper. BC has a wealth of business experience in the hi-tech corporate world, but this will be his first time running his own business.
AJC: 6 years old, going on 16. AJC is clever, loving, kind, moody, observant, curious, a selective listener, and an amazing negotiator. Even though we have two kids, he still receives 90% of our parenting. Our biggest challenge in this transition has been figuring out how to support AJC. The move to a new country, a new language, new schools and all new friends is a lot to expect from a child. We do love when he is able to release his worries and find joy in the wonders around him.
PJC: 3 years old. When he is happy, he can fill a room with his joy. When he’s not happy, he makes it known. He’s scary smart and extremely verbal. He just assumes he’s the same age as his brother and can do everything like him. He receives only 10% of our parenting because he was always more independent and didn’t seem to really need us (although, when he does need something, he demands it). If he threw him into the jungle with a loin cloth and a spear, he would just become Mowgli. We’ve taken a much more “survival of the fittest” parenting approach with him.