Making an extended winter stay in Panama my primary travel priority was not what I first thought of when I sold our financial planning business in 2004. With that business gone I started a consulting practice. I reconnected with Minga and her family in 2009, after a hiatus of forty years, as a result of a consulting job that sent me to Panama City. That reconnection was so rich and deep I did decide to return to Panama year after year, one time staying for three months.
What I originally thought I’d do is rent a flat for a few months in a city somewhere in the world, like Barcelona, and go live there — shopping, eating, doing what people there did in their daily lives. I’d go to a different place each year.
In addition to finding Minga, my life changed in other important ways: both of my adult kids moved to the same city — in 2010 I moved here too — and I became a grandmother. Being away for months at a time became less of a draw.
I had picked deep connection over variety of travel.
Minga’s death does change things, although I have now also formed strong bonds with her large extended family, and with Gloria’s family.
I’ve just booked a fall trip with Elderhostel to see several Civil Rights sites in the deep South: 16th Street Baptist Church, Edmund Pettis bridge, the new museum which honors lynching victims in Montgomery, Alabama. I’d loved to visit Money, Mississippi, where Emmett Till died — although that’s not on the tour. The general store where he supposedly disrespected a white woman is now derelict and abandoned, and Money is a small forgotten town. I’d like to bear witness anyway.
I want to go to VietNam this year or next. I plan a short trip back to Rochester to see friends, sometime before winter. And a dear friend, formerly from Rochester, is coming here.
I’m not sure yet what all of this means for Panama in winter of 2020. Lily’s visa to travel to the U.S. is still good until 2023, and she would love to come back. I’d like to bring her for an east coast tour this time, perhaps with Miley if we can get her a visa, or again with Gloria. They are all dying to see snow, and our winter is Miley’s long school vacation. Perhaps they might come here.
Lots of pieces to juggle, all good.