Every morning, I wake up and head straight for the rooftop. At 32 stories high, my building is the perfect vantage point from which to check the closest surf break.
If there’s no swell coming up, I go downstairs, fire up my computer, and get to work.
If there is, well…it looks like I’m not working that day.
I operate on my own schedule, with little difference between working 9-to-5 or 5-to-9. I could disappear for two days and make up for it with an all-nighter. As long as I’m meeting weekly deadlines, my clients neither notice nor care.
My only concern is that I’ve spoiled myself too early. I started freelancing upon moving to Panama directly after college, so I’ve never had a “job” in the traditional sense. Now that I’m enamored with the freelancer lifestyle, I’m certain I can never live any other way.
If you were to peek at my bank statement, you wouldn’t call me rich…but it sure feels that way. I live in a modern apartment near the beach…I drive a reliable SUV (which I bought in cash)…and I no longer adhere to a strict food budget. If I want it, it’s in the cart.
I travel frequently and, since my computer is my cubicle, I do so without disturbing my work flow.
Most importantly, I have the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want, so long as I’m providing value in the grand scheme of things.
While business was slow getting started, two years later my momentum has picked up. Gone are the days of desperately seeking clients, haggling over prices, or worrying about rent. Now, my clients come to me…and often I turn them down.
I would like to say it’s because I’m that good, but in reality…my being in Panama has a lot to do with it. Creative professionals here are scarce…particularly those who intertwine creativity with digital expertise. Competition is low, and demand is high. Panama’s red-hot economy has created a surge of businesses ready to expand.
And, if I’m going to have time and money to spend, I’d rather spend them in Panama. The landscape is gorgeous, the culture rich, and the people are as friendly as they are diverse. After two years, I still feel as if there’s so much I’ve yet to experience…like there’s this whole other side of the playground I haven’t seen yet.
Friends from home seem to think I’m on an extended vacation. And I am, in a way. Only it’s a vacation that pays for itself, and has no end in sight. Freelancing in Panama…why would I live any other way?
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