This couple ended up on the beautiful island of Isla Colón in the Bocas del Toro province of Panama. Although small, this island has a lot of personality, great weather, and plenty more to offer expats. Are you ready to trade frigid winters for sunny, Caribbean beaches?
That’s exactly what Will and Breanna Kolar decided to do in 2016, and they haven’t looked back since.
“I love being part of a small community,” Breanna says with a smile. “When we ride our bicycles into town, people recognize us and say hello. It’s such a nice feeling.” Being part of the community means you can wander down the streets and see many familiar faces. This community is tight-knit and colorful, full of diverse cultures and languages.
When choosing their ideal home, Will and Breanna found the perfect spot. They rent a one-bedroom apartment outside of town. This location is just a 10-minute bicycle ride from all the modern conveniences of the town, including fully stocked grocery stores with typical American foods, as well as plenty of restaurants and nightlife to enjoy.
The apartment is also a two-minute walk from the nearest beach. “We love taking our bicycles around the island and spending an afternoon on the beach,” Breanna tells me. “We also recently took up scuba diving, which is a sport I never could’ve tried in Michigan. I really enjoy it.”
So, what makes it possible for Will and Breanna to maintain their island lifestyle? “We’re both certified ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers, and we work online teaching English to Chinese students,” she explains. “Although we have to wake up early to meet the schedule of our students in China, we’re normally done by 9 a.m., which allows us to really take advantage of the day.”
Breanna smiles as she talks about her work. Teaching is something she truly enjoys, and she has grown very attached to many of her students. “I get up in the morning, I drink a cup of coffee, I sit at my computer, and I make money.”
Another reason Will and Breanna have fallen in love with expat living is the freedom it gives them. While living in the States, both worked separate jobs and had less time to spend together. “Here, we get to spend all of our time together, and we really appreciate the freedom we get from living abroad and working online.”
So, what have Will and Breanna found while living abroad? In short, freedom, tranquility, and the warm feeling that comes from being enveloped by a small community. Living in Panama has allowed this couple to escape the dark, cold winters of Michigan and has replaced that with a summer that lasts all year round. All of this has been made possible by their online work, which gives them what they need to live contently in this tropical paradise.
Is it time for you to leave the cold winter behind and start anew on a Caribbean island? If so, Will and Breanna can tell you from experience that Bocas del Toro, Panama is the place to be.
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