Island Time!

2012 is going to be an exciting year!! And hopefully somewhat more successful than 2011.

Last year began with the excitement of a new business idea, and associated website launch. Having learned a great deal about self-publishing during the second half of 2010, I launched Dog Eared Publications with the idea of assisting others to publish their own work.

However, with other exciting distractions, I did very little to publicise or promote the fledgling business, and so very little happened with it.

I did however, manage to enjoy two summery months (Jan and Feb) in New Zealand, where I learned to paraglide properly. I spent March in England (less summery!), where I acted as best man at my friend’s wedding. In April Moe and I enjoyed a trip, via Florida and Costa Rica, down to Panama. I bought my own Caribbean island, followed by a few months of summer in Whitehorse again. In August and September I joined my friend Val and his dad for a road trip through Alaska, and then after some time in Colorado, flew back to Panama again.

Somehow I managed to get back to Colorado again towards the end of the year, where I met up with Moe and the kids, as well as my brother Martin and partner Rachel. We enjoyed a bit of early-season skiing and snow-boarding, and then all travelled together down to Costa Rica, and on to Panama.

When I write it out like that, it does strike me that it really is no wonder the business didn’t take off – doesn’t sound like I had too much spare time, just another year of crazy travels…. but wait a minute…. yes, you did read that correctly:-

“bought my own Caribbean island”!!

How on earth did that happen?

Well, here’s the story (the brief version). For some time after completing the “A Life Sold” book, I wondered what I wanted to do next, and where I wanted to live. I was certain that I had no intention of spending my winters in chilly Whitehorse. I much prefer the tropical lifestyle. So I started to do some research on cheap and interesting places to live.

One of the most interesting possibilities I had discovered was on the Caribbean coast of Panama, an picturesque archipelago of islands. The trip Moe and I took in April was meant to be merely a property fact-finding mission, but my impulsive approach to life, coupled with my often-stated belief that it is all supposted to be a big adventure, meant that before I knew it, I had made a ridiculous offer on a small island.

To my surprise, with the smallest deal of haggling, my offer was accepted (a very motivated seller, I believe they call it in the real estate business), and in July payment was made, and I became a Caribbean island owner.

“What do I do now?” I wondered. “Better get on and clear the island, and start building, I guess.”

I arrived in September 2011 to make a start, and spent the first couple of months trying to get to grips with the mountain of new challenges that I faced. I needed somewhere to live, a boat, a team of local workers to clear the island, and plans for a house.

Things came together slowly, and in December I met Moe and the kids in Colorado as they were making their way down to Panama for three months, avoiding the worst months of the Whitehorse winter. The island was almost clear, and a large materials shed was under construction, but we had to rent in town, as there was nowhere to stay on the island.

House construction began in January 2012, and we managed to camp out on the island with the construction crew a few times. However, timing has been unfortunate, and the frame of the house has finally finished just as Moe and the kids are about to depart. We have managed one night in the new house, hanging from the rafters in hammocks.

Now it’s time to catch the water taxi to the mainland, and the bus to David, where they will continue their long journey back to Whitehorse. I come back here to an empty house, with more challenges ahead, and a lot of work to do.

At the moment there is no solar power, no running water, and no refrigiration. There are no doors or windows either – it’s going to be like camping long term on a tropical building site!

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Well, well, well, the places life takes us. I never in my wildest dreams thought that one day I would own a Caribbean island, but here I am, now looking forward to living in Panama on my own little tropical island construction site.

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