by Gary Stamper, CPC, MSIP, DSPS
|Bluff Beach, Bocas Del Toro|
Last week I wrote a Facebook post about my being on a mission to visit all of the beaches in Bocas Del Toro - an archipelago of islands just off of Panama's Northeast Caribbean coast - not because I'm a tourist (I am), but because this is also now my new home.
|Star Fish Beach|
The best part may be that Bocas Del Toro is one of a handful of remaining paradises like it in the world that is still relatively affordable whether you've come to recreate for a short while or if you've decided - like me - to make it your permanent home. It's still possible.
Because of this awe-inspiring beauty, it's easy to get caught up in the promise of paradise, where living in "paradise" can be a seemingly perpetual high, a constant reminder of just how beautiful and amazingly we can live our lives. That can sometimes create a "state" (or "temporary") non-ordinary experience, like when you're first falling in love and high levels of dopamine are released, a chemical that “gets the reward system going.” Dopamine activates that reward circuit, helping to make love a pleasurable experience similar to the euphoria associated with the use of cocaine or alcohol. But like Cocaine or alcohol, the effects of the romantic stage of love are only temporary.
|I'll have another hit of that, please...|
When you add in the stresses of what a move from your home country to a place with an entirely different culture, language and the legal matters from both places concerned really mean, and how they can play with your dreams: that's where the mundane finds you.
2. If medical is important (isn't it always?), your health concerns will play a major role in choosing where you want to retire to. Bocas Del Toro works great for me, but it may not for you. In Panama, you can find the best of care at a fraction of what you’ll pay back in the U.S. Your doctors will often speak English, and they are far easier to access than back home, too.
What is mundane for me, is how long and difficult it is to opt-out of Medicare Part B. Part A Medicare is free, but Part B can be very expensive, and since you can't use either in a foreign country, why have it? There are reasons, but I won't get into that here.
|John Hopkins affiliated Hospitals in Panama|
|Couldn't be easier, huh?|
I recently needed to contact them about the $200 taken out of my SS check each month for Medicare Part B, while I sent them a letter, I still had to request a letter from them yo get my secret code (that I didn't even know I had!) and then call them back with that code to verify I am who I claim I am... If they already had it, why did I have to call them ( I actually get it, but really? that's your hi-tech system?)?
The message is clear: get all this stuff out of the way before you get wherever you're going because it's gonna be a lot harder if you don't. In my defense, no one told me all of this (except the learn the language part).