As a digital nomad, writer and house-sitter, admittedly, I have had the luxury of traveling to some pretty awesome places. Most recently, I’ve found myself in a lil Caribbean island paradise, Bocas del Toro. I’m here on a housesitting assignment for an expat owner who has put her home up for sale. (Talk about bringing the magic – it sold within one day of my arrival! Whoohoo!)
Now, as a seasoned traveler, I’m a long way from being a diva and have come to expect the unexpected. But in Bocas, the ‘unexpected’ is ‘normale’ and thus, part of its charm. Things are still island-style. They haven’t been fully ‘gringo’d’ yet. This makes it, to me, highly coveted. I want AUTHENTIC. And well, I got it!
In the next couple of weeks, I invite you to follow along with me as I share my indoctrination to what is distinctly, Bocas del Toro living.
However your journey begins in Panama, all roads to lead to Almirante where you will be joined by other weary-eyed travelers on a water taxi, which looks a lot like the boats used at Disney’s Pirate of The Caribbean experience, however there is no cute twenty-something ‘cast member’ at the helm of this boat. Your captain likely won’t speak any English and won’t be wearing any kitschy pirate attire. Newbies are easy to spot as they break out selfie sticks and camera phones to capture this thrill ride that didn’t have any famous mouse involved.
Next up on your adventure…landing at a rickety looking dock, with a cacophony of activity and sounds. Beers by the flat cases, along with giant bottles of water are being loaded onto a water taxi next to you while gringos with their recent grocery wares are helped in. Tiny feet of local toddlers are climbing in, over and around boat to boat to boat, with the ease and assuredness of experienced tight-rope walkers, making this mama’s breath get held for more than a moment or two. However, I can’t get caught up in this sight long as I’m told, (yes, told), that the boat I want is the next one over and it’s leaving NOW!
After a short stone’s throw of a jaunt, my grunter tells me I’m here and graciously helps me with my entire luggage – on the dock anyway. And now I wait, while the previous caretaker arranges all that would have been arranged already; but we aren’t in the west I say to myself – we are in the Caribbean. Time and projects move on Panamanian time. All is ‘tranquilo.’
Thankfully, despite it being low season (translation: a little bit rainy), I have a gorgeous afternoon, and even more spectacular view from my vantage point at one of the local island bars to cool my heels and my thirst. The beer is only $1.50 – hello?!
He finally comes to show me the place, the location being right next to the bar I’d been taking up camp at. Taking in the view, which is right on the ocean…,I’m thrilled! Until. The key turns and I walk in. The place is empty – I mean, there isn’t even a kitchen! No fridge, no stove, no anything! This wasn’t what the owner or I expected…at all.
Enter the first of my Caribbean adventure heroes. Forget Johnny Depp…I had Anne-Michelle, the owner’s real estate agent who came in, her super hero cape apparently hidden somewhere on her turquoise outfit. APBs were sent out on errant appliances and such while I kicked my heels at one of her adorable pastel cabana rentals. Above and beyond any agent I’ve ever known! Stay tuned next week for Day 2 – Getting Things Done, Bocas-style
Written by: International Speaker & Lifestyle Strategist, Kimberly Roberts is the Chief Rebel-rouser, founder of Rebel Livin’. In her 20+ years of corporate management, she saw too many punching in and out of life, so she made it her mission to influence others to live their ‘somedays’ TODAY! Her adventures include holding an elected office at 16, going from fair queen to soldier, driving a CASCAR and IndyLite car, being featured on Vanity Fair – all to have kickass stories when she’s 90! When not helping others with their adventures, this proud mom can be found tweeting @RebelLiveN and writing for HuffingtonPost.com.