For 25 years Larry ran a successful antique shop in Houston, Texas. Like so many of us, there came the day when Larry woke up and realized it was time to slow down, retire, and smell the roses.
For many years I have enjoyed thrilling adventures in South and Central America. As a photographer, I was constantly inspired by and drawn to communities of rainbow-hued casitas and the emerald-toned hills that surrounded them. Over time, I accumulated yards of vibrant, psychedelic patterned fabric from the Emberá and Guna Yala Indians of Panama, and I filled my hotel rooms with the fragrant, color-infused flowers I discovered along my journeys.
From Spanish, tranquilo roughly translates to "be calm," and in the beautiful town of Boquete...it's hard not to be. Boquete is a haven for expats, with magnificent scenery, an affordable cost of living, and a climate that's never too hot or never too cold. When asked by friends in the U.S. to describe it, only one word comes to mind...
There are a lot of reasons why I love Boquete, my Panamanian mountain town. One is the climate. I chose to live in a mountainous area and need neither heat nor air conditioning, saving me approximately $6,000 per year on the cost of these services back in the U.S.
I always loved photography. But it wasn't until I got the secrets of turning photos into cash that I started making real money from my photographs. With this valuable knowledge under my belt, I began to search for press trips that I might be invited to join (at no cost to me). That's how I scored a visit to Borneo—a place I had always desperately wanted to visit.
I am a doer, not an observer, and so the traditional concept of retirement doesn’t work for me. After years of exhausting 50-hour work weeks, I moved to the mountain town of Boquete. Today I’m surrounded by undulating verdant hills, rainbow-hued casitas, and fragrant flowers.
Weather-worn canoes were beached along the shore. Local women dressed in the traditional garb of floral printed blouses scurried back and forth collecting the cargo from the plane. Across a nearby bridge I could see the town of Playon Chico.
I was tired of working 40, sometimes 50 hours a week as a designer for an international furniture manufacturer. Working on commission only, I often worked on my days off to facilitate clients, and meeting my required goals had become increasingly difficult. Continually declining markets, escalating real estate taxes, and the rising cost of electricity and heating oil were other factors that made me decide it was time for a change.