Still Plugged into the System? Move to Panama and Start Over!

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"Still Plugged into the System? Move to Panama and Start Over!".

Search our blog about all things Panama! From must dos, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, in our blog you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 15 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


🦠 Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic we're currently only offering ✅ Online Spanish Lessons and ✅ Spanish classes in a TRAVELING CLASSROOM instead of at the school, delivering a teacher directly to you in a COVID safe way wherever you are, be it your hotel, home, park, on tour, at the beach or in any other place where social distancing is comfortably and safely possible. CONTACT US TODAY!

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🚨 On October 7th 2020 we declared a CLIMATE AND ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY because we're facing an 😱 existential threat as Planet Earth is on track for a 🌡4°C increase in average global temperatures by the end of this century, which means 💀 BILLIONS OF HUMANS DYING along the way if we don't CHANGE COURSE NOW!

LEARN WHY HERE...

🤔 So instead of 🛫 flying to learn Spanish 🛬 — it's not really essential travel, specially in the midst of the ongoing 😷 COVID-19 PANDEMIC — pumping even more C02 into the atmosphere that will end up crashing our common home, impacting countries in the tropics first, 🎧 LEARN SPANISH ONLINE 💻 from the comfort, convenience and safety of your office or home!

📍 If you do find yourself in the vicinity of any of our locations — 🌄 Boquete, ⛱ Bocas del Toro and 🌇 Panama City — we'd love to have your as our student. CONTACT US AND MAKE IT HAPPEN...
Travel to us in eco-friendly ways and get automatic access to a 👯 25% DISCOUNT!!!

🔥 Now... do you want to do something about the Climate and Ecological Crisis?
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🙏 And finally one last plea to help us ensure a just transition for our staff and Spanish teachers: please don't fly to learn Spanish because you can do it online without destroying our future as there's no Planet B regardless of what Elon Musk wants you to believe; besides dreaming of Mars, he also wants you to buy electrical cars as if that's the solution to this Planetary Crisis... spoiler alert: it's not!

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Still Plugged into the System? Move to Panama and Start Over!

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Have you noticed that people always ask you what you DO, as if that were what defines you as a person? It defines whether you are worth being friends with, if you are worth networking with (could you serve a purpose?) or if the conversation will just turn into a short small talk about the weather. It’s the same with education - People always ask "where did you go to school?"... when you answer by naming the country or city, the next question usually is "which school?"

Why is that so important? Well, some schools are more prestigious than others (which essentially translates into being just horrendously more expensive), and the name of your school, or your job title supposedly defines your position and value in society, or even worse - your intelligence.

Full list of the top 10 universities, rearranged in order of tuition (overall ranking in parentheses)
Full list of the top 10 universities, rearranged in order of tuition (overall ranking in parentheses)

If you're plugged into the system, after you graduate and as you grow older you have to keep proving to society that you are successful. Most people do so by buying a big house and a flashy car, or by bragging about vacationing in Dubai or St Tropez, by wearing fancy designer clothes, and you name it. Even the clubs or bars you hang out at define you! Sadly, all of these material things become your only satisfaction to fill a void in your daily routine that you are not even aware of. Pathetic, is't it? I've never liked stereotypes, but unfortunately this is the world we live in. The pressure is on, constantly.

So why are some jobs considered better than others, other than the obvious salary factor? In our world, remuneration is one of the major criteria that define a "good job", but where does that leave our personal happiness and quality of life? Of course, I am not saying that a good salary and liking what you do are mutually exclusive, and very well done for those that found this perfect combination. But for the rest of us who work 8 hours per day because it's expected of us, we should ask ourselves: what good does a great salary do for me, if I never have the time to actually enjoy it? Why do we feel that pressure to please and impress, starting with our parents, our teachers, our bosses, our friends and co-workers with what we do in exchange for money? Why do we feel bad about ourselves when we do not fit into that box?

Even though I managed to land the supposedly cool job with BNP Paribas in London, the only time I really enjoyed myself was out of working hours
Even though I managed to land the supposedly cool job with BNP Paribas in London, the only time I really enjoyed myself was out of working hours

For many years I felt the same way, wondering - what will I do with my life after college? After grad school? My friends all have a plan, how come I don't? I thought I needed to get a "good" job, or else I would be labeled as a loser. So I landed that "cool" job and according to our society's criteria, I wasn't a failure at all, actually quite the opposite, but I was miserable without even consciously knowing it. That was, until a very smart person that is my husband today asked me on our first date: "Why do you keep a job that you hate, in a city that you don't like? Why don't you just move to Panama and start over?"

This was my wake-up call, and it reminded me of the song "Emmenez-moi au bout de la terre" by Charles Aznavour. He is absolutely right when he says that being miserable under the sun is so much more enjoyable. But I intended to get the sun without the misery. After all, what is the worst that could happen to me? If I don't find a job in Panama, I can just go back to Europe (London being the last choice of all places!), and start over again. The sky's the limit, right?

So that night I decided to turn my life upside down, and all it took was someone to just open my eyes. It sort of fell like the Matrix. It was time to start living my life at its fullest, have fun, be happy about waking up in the morning, instead of just sucking it up Monday to Friday, until the weekend rescued me from my misery. I had wasted way too much time already, and life is short.

Having someone ask me what I was doing with my life felt like the Matrix when Morpheus offered Neo the blue pill or the red pill... I chose freedom!
It felt like the Matrix when Morpheus offered Neo the blue pill or the red pill... I chose freedom!

Ironically, when deciding about what we want to do in life, we always think about what the rest of the world will think about our decision. Will they think I am crazy? Courageous? Or running away from something? My boss tells me that not everybody cares about these things but I know I did.

Most of my ex-colleagues would burst out laughing if I told them my current salary, but guess what! I have more luxury now than ever before! And I am deeply convinced that deep down, many people out there that are still plugged into the system wish they were in my shoes. I mean, who else has one of the best snorkeling spots only one block away from their home, or can go surfing before going to the office, or take a break and work out with friends during their work day? Who can spend every Sunday at a different beach - not just any beach, but some of the most gorgeous beaches in the Caribbean?

Back in the days I worked in front of several screens and I always felt I wanted to run away from it all
Back in the days I worked in front of several screens and I always felt I wanted to run away from it all

It is unfortunate that it affects us when people judge us. It shouldn't be that way. We should all give a S*IT! Today I am a Language Travel Consultant at Habla ya Spanish Schools, and very proud of it. I also have a Master's Degree from one of these super expensive schools mentioned earlier, but guess what! It doesn't matter anymore (well, it does a bit because I still have to pay off the loan!!!). That expensive and overrated piece of paper does not make me any smarter, or a better person. It just gave me access to one of these "jobs to kill for" in the finance industry, which I chose to trade for a simple and joyful life in a small village in the mountains of Boquete, and currently in Bocas del Toro, in Panama's Caribbean. Today I can say that I am happy without lying about it!

Sometimes, my friends tell me how lucky I am, and that frustrates me every time. You make your own luck and you live the life you want to live. Why is it luck? All you need to do is just do it! Easier said than done? Not really! Once you realize that your fear is the only thing in your way, you are free to do whatever you want, wherever you want. True, my job is no rocket science, but I love it. I love being in contact with people from all over the world, share experiences, help them set up their Spanish Program and activities, teach them about the culture of Panama, and help them have a great time. I love my colleagues and friends, and work is not torture for me anymore, but rather something I am passionate about. When I wake up in the morning I know that I will have a great time. Of course I also feel stress sometimes, and work hard, but at least I feel that I am making a difference for the business, my co-workers, my community and I get to help a lot of people have a wonderful vacation.

Nowadays I still spent most of my working day in front of a computer, but it is much more laid back and I really love what I do
Nowadays I still spent most of my working day in front of a computer, but it is much more laid back and I really love what I do

Some of my friends and colleagues here are Oxbridge Graduates who left prestigious consulting firms, former developers of computer games at high tech software companies, investment bankers, recruiters for Ford Models in Paris and NYC, Ex-United Nations staff and the list goes on and on... I am sure that many expats living here are in a similar situation, and will smile while reading this. If you are smiling right now, you probably also left behind a generic and monotonous life (the system!) to finally choose to live and be happy in Panama (or elsewhere!), and do something completely different.

My message to all of you who are reading this blog is to please stop judging others by their jobs or their education. Not fitting into the box doesn't mean you are not smart, talented, hard working or that you are a lazy hippie! Don't just choose your friends by what they do for a living: choose them by who they are as persons! It just means that you do not define yourself by what society expects from you, but rather by what makes YOU happy. And by the way, if you're interested in getting unplugged from the system and escaping YOUR reality, we're always looking for talented people who want to live out of the box... just contact us!

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Search our blog if you're visiting Panama! From must do's, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish while in our country! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


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6 Responses to "Still Plugged into the System? Move to Panama and Start Over!"

  1. Lee Zeltzer says:

    What can I say except, YES.

    Life should not be wage slavery, life is finite and should be enjoyed. You were smarter than me, you made the change at a much younger age. Enjoy and you will grow in ways you never imagined.

  2. Evelyne Meyer de Cabrera says:

    Thank you for your nice words Lee! All we can do is encourage our friends and family to choose happiness over materialism, and to think outside of the box!

  3. Ant Couzens says:

    Passionate! I like it Ev spread the word!

  4. Evelyne Meyer de Cabrera says:

    Thanks Anthony =) will do =)

  5. Mike says:

    “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can go in any direction you choose.”
    – Dr. Seuss

  6. One of my all-time favorite Dr. Seuss quotes!

    I worked in the hospitality industry, thinking that listening to the petty complaints of privileged travelers was my only way to a good pension. One day I woke up and said to myself: “enough!” I moved back to Panama within a couple weeks, determined to live a happier life.

    Now I am earning less than I would be if I had stayed “on track,” but I feel richer.

    Firstly, I decided it would be ok to earn less, and that allowed me start anew. I was in the right frame of mind to take an entry level job with low pay, but in an industry that I love…I soon moved up (a bit) in the ranks and now have a job that I actually enjoy (no more waking up and thinking “I don’t want to go to work”).

    Secondly, I live well on a low salary because the cost of living (and healthcare) is reasonable rather than exorbitant. When I was in college in the States, I couldn’t afford to get a cavity filled! Here, I never have to worry that I won’t be able to get by.

    That’s true wealth and freedom!


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