Bill Brown wanted a beachfront property. When he decided he needed a change from his teaching job in St. Louis…a home on the beach was his dream. But where could he find beachfront property that would be affordable?
He conducted internet searches on the best countries to live in before he settled on Panama. He was intrigued by the culture.
And when he got there, he was amazed at how everyone seemed to welcome him. Though his Spanish at the time was basic, the Panamanians were inviting.
Bill’s first impressions remained so positive he felt that this would be a great place to live.
In 2011, he sold his home in St. Louis and he and his partner bought their dream house on the beach at La Barqueta on the northern Pacific coast of Panama. It’s a three-bedroom house, just under 3,000 square feet.
With the equity income from his home sale, Bill could afford to remodel his beach house. He has a salt-water pool that doesn’t use chlorine—which is the new trend—and has designed a barbecue pit where the wind from the ocean doesn’t disturb the cooking. Around the house he has planted grass and put in a sprinkler system. Palm trees add a little shade and he has widened the path to the beach.
Inside his house is design with bright-beach colors with furniture he had purchased locally, and the exterior is painted in a sea-foam green with a tiled driveway.
These days, as he looks out on the ocean, sipping white wine by his swimming pool and enjoying his paradise in the sunset’s reddish hue, Bill has no regrets.
During the week, he can walk the black-sand beach for miles without encountering a single person. And at night the clear sky lights up with stars and Bill sometimes sees streaming comets.
With his dream location sorted, Bill now needed to find an income.
At first he acted as a property manager for other expats on the beach. Since many are snowbirds who visit from North America during the winter months, he and his business partner were able to live off their profits from managing vacation rentals for them.
But Bill’s real joy is teaching and he has been a teacher for several years with his specialty in English. Now he is teaching professional English proficiency courses to students at the university in David, the third largest city in Panama with over 100,000 people.
According to Bill, the government agenda in Panama is to make all students proficient in English in 15 years. There is a great effort to become bi-lingual.
“Education is very valued around the world so it’s extremely useful to teach English here in Panama,” says Bill.
In his spare time he enjoys visiting the indigenous tribes that live in the forest outside the city. Working with the cooperation of a non-profit group, he takes educational material and supplies for the small kids. Someday he’ll help build a school there.
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