John and Susan Pazera of Latitude Adjustment are traveling ex-pat residents of Medellin, Colombia for over a year. Prior to that they lived in the highlands of Panama for 3 years. In 2001, they took their last sail out under the Golden Gate Bridge and set off on the trip of their lives: a three-year journey down the Pacific coast and through the Panama Canal. Although “making a living” has interfered in the meantime, the sailing adventure never left them – and it has driven a passion for travel and new experiences that informs almost every major decision they make.
They were kind enough to answer a few of our questions below.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
John and Susan: Five. Our decision to move to Panama was in the works for many years. Now that it has come to fruition, this blog is our way of sharing our experience as world travelers and expats in Panama. Our hope is that you too will be inspired to jump out of your comfort zone and find the thing that floats your boat — and perhaps even plan an escape of your own!
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
John and Susan: Couples travel.
TA: What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
John and Susan: Hawaii.
TA: What’s one place you’ve always wanted to visit?
John and Susan: Too many to name!
TA: What’s one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
John and Susan: iPad.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
John and Susan: Get out and see the world now!
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
John and Susan: Too many to list!
TA: What would be your #1 recommendation for a place to travel in 2019?
John and Susan: Colombia.
TA: What are the top three websites you use for research/inspiration when planning a trip?
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
John and Susan: Book airfare six months in advance, pack light, and take only carry on items.
TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you’ve ever been given?
John and Susan: Pack lightly and form your own opinion on a destination.
TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?
John and Susan: Not seeing it all.
TA: What’s a travel scam travelers should be wary of?
John and Susan: Back pack bird poop toss. 3-4 people will distract you to “help” you then run off with your back pack.
TA: Which country has surprisingly good food?
John and Susan: Peru: seafood, ceviche, alpaca, and lamb.
TA: What was the most romantic place you ever visited with a partner?
John and Susan: San Francisco and Paris. Any beach at sunset.
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you’ve ever visited?
John and Susan: Medellin, Colombia. Visit Laureles, Envigado, Sabaneto, and Poblado neighborhoods.
TA: What’s one way people can get the most out of their cruise experience?
John and Susan: Smaller ships with fewer people.
TA: Have you ever met someone while traveling who changed your life? Who were they?
John and Susan: Local people always have a positive effect.
TA: What are the best places to travel solo and why?
John and Susan: Any National park for the beauty of mother nature.
TA: What’s something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?
John and Susan: Talking loudly, not having good karma, and being rude to service personnel.
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous?
John and Susan: Arequipa, Peru: you have to go there to experience it!
TA: What’s one thing everyone who visits Panama needs to see?
John and Susan: The canal, San Blas, Casco Viejo, Western Panama Highlands, coffee farms, and Bocas del Toro outer islands.
TA: What’s one hidden gem in Panama visitors should know about?
John and Susan: Many waterfalls in the rainforest and the best-rated coffee in the world.
TA: You recommended people visit Colombia in 2019. Could you explain why you think this is an ideal time?
John and Susan: It is barely discovered, a bargain, 25% lower cost of living than Panama, Medellin has perfect weather and is a magnet for digital nomads, great affordable health care, lots of National parks unspoiled by tourists, and the Caribbean coast.
TA: What destination in the Americas do you think will be the “next big thing”?
John and Susan: Colombia by far. We are moving there in two weeks. But, shhhh, don’t tell anyone!