digital nomad

Digital Nomad Series: A Peaceful Few Days in Panama

I’m writing this from a hammock on the front porch of a beach house off the Pacific coast of Panama. (Sorry, not sorry for all the prepositional phrases there). The rain has been softly falling for a while now, and that has (thankfully) cooled things off enough to make dusk an enjoyable time to be outside. Ten days ago, I was relaxing on a very different front porch in La Crosse, Wisconsin and had no idea that I’d be here.

The degree of autonomy and flexibility that being a “digital nomad” has afforded me is by far the aspect of my current life situation that I treasure most. Without a desk to report to or meetings to show up for, I’ve been able to say “yes” to the opportunities the universe has thrown my way and really lean into the idea of “going with the flow.” That’s how I find myself here.

Last Saturday (today is Monday, so nine days ago), a friend texted me inviting me on this trip. Nine days ago, y’all. I arrived in Panama on Thursday night, so we’re actually talking about five days’ notice for an international trip. It still somewhat boggles my mind that I both said yes and managed to make it work. That’s just not the kind of person I used to be.

My friend is half Panamanian and had been planning a trip down here for some time, to visit family and relax at their beach house. (Calling it a beach cabin is probably more apt, and I’m thoroughly grateful that the bedrooms have A/C units — especially since I neglected to verify that before agreeing to come). The friend she planned to bring along had to cancel last minute, which is how I ended up with the impromptu invitation. When I got her text, my exact response was: “!! Um. Yes? Maybe? That would be rad. I would definitely be interested in investigating the possibility!!!”

Investigate I did, and with the help of Delta airline miles and a bus from Madison, WI to Chicago O’Hare airport, I made arrangements to get myself down here. The travel involved the usual number of mild fiascos (delayed flight, unexpectedly checked luggage, rush through the airport, etc.), but I made it! And so did my bag.

We’ve spent the last four days relaxing here at the cabin — a very different kind of vacation than my usual. It has actually felt like a vacation more than a whirlwind tour of a new place. We really didn’t do anything touristy until today, when we ventured into the mountains to visit a little town called El Valle. Before that, my Panamanian experience largely consisted of walks to the beach, trips to the grocery store, and doing my best not to melt in the hot and humid afternoons.

I’m not a beach person, but these past few days have been lovely. I’ve enjoyed the simplicity of early mornings and listening to the chorus of birds. I’m also a huge fan of drinking coconut water out of the coconuts from the cabin’d yard! It will be difficult to go back to the bottled stuff once I return stateside. (I almost wrote “home” there, but that wouldn’t be an accurate term to use in my life right now).

So, I guess this post is a somewhat long-winded way to say, “nothing to report.” But it’s been a really pleasant and peaceful nothing. I’ve read books! I’ve taken many bird pictures! (Which I’ll upload when I’m not paying for data by the megabyte). I’ve enjoyed people watching and sitting in the breeze and, of course, swaying in a hammock on a shady porch.

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Categories: digital nomad, Travel

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