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Celebrating two years of full time travel! (Part II)

One year into our adventures and far from being ready to return and go back to the grind, we settled into our longest, housesit to date in popular Boquete Panama (a well-known retirement destination).  Being in one spot for so long was a welcome break and a much needed one–carting heavy dive gear around had taken its toll—apart from visiting the local chiropractor we enjoyed tai chi, yoga and Feldenkrais classes, theatre productions and the local market.  This welcome break also made us realize that slow travel is the only way to really understand a new place especially if you are contemplating living there.

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Volcán Barú the active stratovolcano and  tallest mountain in Panama as seen from our Housesit in Boquete

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Volcán Barú in a Moody Moment

It was also here that I decided to take a step down a path, that my English teacher had foreseen years ago, I purchased an online travel writers course. Within days of starting the course, I had negotiated my first discount or ‘comp trip’ and I was ecstatic. The exclusive, luxurious Isla Palenque was everything we had imagined it would be and so much more. It appeared that we could easily develop a champagne lifestyle, even on a beer budget.

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Experiencing Panama in Style in Isla Palenque

From Panama it was back to Belize to complete more housesits, one in our favorite beachside place, Placencia. We then spent a few weeks in the depths of the Belize jungle, with howler monkeys, giant iguanas and giant cockroaches and scorpions for company. Loved it!

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Belize River Howlers at our Housesit near Belmopan Belize

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Lobsterfest in Placencia Belize

We finished our Central America adventure with another ‘comp’ trip to St. Georges Caye a perfect place to sample true Belizean hospitality and try our hand at hunting the invasive Lion Fish! From there we headed off to Ambergris Caye and then took an inventive route back home for our second pit stop. Travelling by sea and overland to Cancun, Mexico then flying back to Vancouver, we saved enough for our next flights.

After 18 months on the road, we had no intentions of stopping; instead, we were plotting ways to make our travels sustainable. Which is why we decided to cull our ‘stuff’ once more, including our vehicle that had suffered from sitting unused, the squirrel nest under the hood was the least of the problems.

A wet and cold November in BC was incentive enough to get us packing once again, this time without dive gear. The plan was to head to South America and a relocation cruise to Panama was the perfect opportunity. From there we would make our way south, destiny had other ideas!

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Back in Panama –  This time in Portobelo

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In a dugout canoe with the Embera Tribe in Panama

I have long had a love affair with the Caribbean and an opportunity to spend months housesitting in the Grenadines was too good to miss. Rather than trying to travel over the crazy months of December and January, we did some more exploring in Panama and settled in the coastal resort of Playa Blanca. A experience that proved condo living is not for us.

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Sunset in Playa Blanca Panama

Two years of travel and a budget has made us very inventive with travel options, which is why we caught yet another cruise. This traveled from Panama to Cartagena, Columbia, Boniare, Aruba & Curacao. We jumped ship in Curacao and flew to Grenada, for a couple of idyllic weeks and then onto St. Lucia (where had arranged another housesit) three weeks in a villa overlooking Marigot Bay was tough to handle! From there it was a short flight and a longer ferry ride to our current home in Bequia in the Grenadines.

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Our first stop ever in South America – Cartagena Columbia

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Bonaire – A Divers Paradise

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The most photographed tree in Aruba

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The Queen Emma pontoon bridge in Willemstad Harbor Curacao

In our two years of travel, we have spent 40 weeks housesitting ( rent-free accommodation) visited 34 countries, learnt new skills (travel writing, photography and Spanish) and earned extra income through them.

Where the next two years will take us, we do not know. We do know we are going to enjoy it to the full and hope you will join us on our travels.

As always we look forward to hearing from you too.

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 The view from our St Lucia Housesit

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Sunset in Marigot Bay, St Lucia

About the author: Born in the UK, with what must be more than a dash of Romany blood in her veins, Yvonne loved to travel even before she met Michael. Yvonne has a varied career history, which includes several laborious years as a laboratory manager, followed by a fun few years as a scuba instructor and crew in the British Virgin Islands, and then many boring years in financial services. Her discontent along with the passing of a dear friend was the prod that led to the realisation that there was a lot more do in life. It has taken almost 40 years to come full circle to realize what Yvonne’s English teacher saw all those years ago……… Yvonne’s true passion (apart from travel) is writing and now finds herself fortunate to have the time to follow her bliss and combine the two as a blogger and travel writer. Yvonne writes most of the content and talk to lots of strangers (the best way to get the real scoop on the place). Yvonne is a “rainmaker” and males things happen!

2 comments… add one
  • Oh! Your photos are gorgeous and your story compelling. It’s what we are aiming for next year!!! You are an inspiration and I want to do our slow travel just like you. We know where we want to go, but don’t know where to start, so we’re looking for our first house sit. As a long time reading of International Living I read your article. I so hope we get to meet up some day – there’s so much I’d like to ask you!!!

    • Yvonne Bauche

      Hi Merrill
      We are so glad to hear that, it is always nice to know that someone is enjoying our stories and photos. Where are you planning on visiting? Wherever it is you may very well be able to find a house sit. We are just putting the finishing touches to a House Sitting report developed in conjunction with International Living which will answer everything you could ever want to know about house sitting. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get updates on this and our travels. Regards Yvonne & Michael

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