Retiring and moving to Panama was supposed to be my time to relax and write. And it was.
My plan was to spend a year checking out the country and writing. In my first few months here, I wrote my first two novels.
Panama was everything I wanted from a new home. The climate was good, though it could get hot along the coast. I considered moving to the mountains for a cooler climate, but then I discovered something even better. A mere 30-minute drive inland, I found the slight increase in altitude made for a climate that suited me perfectly.
The rolling hills of Penonomé in central Panama reminded me of my home back in Georgia. Finding a house on a cliff overlooking the Rio Zarati, I settled in November 2014. Georgia winters are not too harsh, but I loved the mid-80s days during Panama’s winter.
In the dry season the temperatures fluctuate between the upper-80s F and, the highest temperature I have seen here, 93 F. Winter in most of the northern hemisphere is summer in Panama, and the hot, humid summer days in Georgia are cool days here.
Now I spend my life in shorts, working on the computer. It is hard for me to call writing work, but I have made writing my job. It was while living here that I discovered copywriting—a great way to make an income from writing. After taking my first course, I immediately had a new business.
For me, working is not a necessity. I paid for my house and car from the sale of my Atlanta home, and monthly bills in Penonomé are less than $1,500. I work because I enjoy it.
Copywriting is perfect for me. This is a business with great potential, and it lets me make money on my own terms. I can do it part-time and fit it around my new lifestyle. I pick my own clients and choose my own assignment.
I work as much or as little as I want. When my mom had her heart attack, I took a month off. The flexibility of my business even lets me travel without a problem. On a trip to a month-long writer’s retreat at the Santa Fe Arts Institute I continued to work. My laptop is my office. The only thing I had scheduled was for a regular client, so one morning of research and writing fulfilled my responsibility. The rest of the month was dedicated to my creative work as a novelist.
Creating this wonderful life took some planning, some luck, and the willingness to be adventurous. Life is not totally stress free. But sitting on my back porch I write my own reality, watch the river, and live my dream. That sure makes life feel a lot more stress free.
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