Friday, August 31, 2007
Frugal vs Cheap
I've always been frugal - but not cheap. In fact my friends describe me as being quite generous. So, why would I be so interested in finding the Cheapest Places to Live?
In Search of Cheap Places to Live
Well post 9/11 my wife and I became very interested in what was going on outside our country. After just a little research it become very apparent that there are many cheap places to live without losing any of the comforts of home. Really? Most people think everywhere outside North America offers a sub-standard quality of life and a lower standard of living. It's simply not true. We are fed the myth that the '3rd World' exists everywhere else but North America.
Behave and Pay Your Taxes
I learned early on that one of the biggest perpetrators of this myth is our own government. What would happen if all of a sudden people woke up and realized they could have twice the lifestyle for half the taxes or in some cases no taxes in other parts of the world? How about quality Health care for a fraction of the price? Housing, groceries, entertainment all for far less!
Discovering our Piece of Paradise
Although our initial research led us far and wide - from the United States to Australia, Europe and even Africa - we kept returning to Latin America. It seemed there were some exciting things happening in this part of the world and the benefit of staying a little closer to family and friends was apparent. One country in particular which kept showing up on our radar was Panama. We really knew very little about this little country. Have you noticed how the media does an amazing job of presenting us with 'shock and awe' and interestingly buries the follow up story in the back pages. In the case of Panama our most recent memory was of a drug crazed Noriega led dictatorship. He was removed in the 70's but what of Panama now?
To Know and Not To Do is Not to Know
Spending weeks and months on the internet or buried in books certainly offers an amount of intellectual understanding but for me the only true way to 'know' something is to experience it. So, in January 2003 my wife and I packed up our suitcases and two young sons and headed off to explore what was purported to be one of the cheapest places to live and what we discovered to be the best place to retire.
The Rest of the Story
In future posts I am going to share our real life experiences and practical research to unveil if Panama truly is one of the cheapest places to live in the world.
If you want the full story about our Panama travels you may want to check out our website and sign up for our free newsletter at LearnAboutPanama.