Welcome to the jungle

Slowing down the pace in Panama

It has been a fun and interesting month for us. Since publishing Issue 2 of House Sitting Magazine we have moved on from our house sit in Mexico, and are now settled in a lovely waterfront property in the beautiful tropical Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro, in Panama.

It feels like we have come full circle on a journey that started over three years ago. Vanessa and I met in 2013, and at the time I was living on my own little island property here in Bocas.

Vanessa joined me on the island in July that year for what was supposed to be a two week holiday, and never went back! We haven’t looked back since.

You can read all about this in “Storyteller’s share”, further on in the magazine, a reproduction in part of TrustedHousesitters recent blog article that told our story, and that of four other travelling house sitters!

Ian's island in Bocas del Toro, Panama (2014)

Ian’s island in Bocas del Toro, Panama (2014)

While living in Panama back in 2014, we were also featured on a UK TV documentary about remote off-grid living. The show was called “New Lives in the Wild” – there is a link to our episode at the bottom of the page.

Back in Panama, we are currently looking after two characterful dogs, at the home of one of our former neighbours here in Bocas.

Turbo and Rosie, our two jungle dogs

Turbo and Rosie, our two jungle dogs

The house is completely off-grid. Solar panels charge a bank of batteries for our electricity. There is a backup generator if the sun doesn’t shine. All water comes from rainfall, of which there is usually plenty. Large tanks under the house hold thousands of litres, but we still have to be conservative in our water use, as long dry spells are common.

There is no road to the house. There is just a wall of thick jungle beyond the property boundary. We have to travel everywhere by boat, which has its own particular challenges – there isn’t a petrol station just around the corner, so fuel management is vital.

There are daily routines and regular easy maintenance tasks, but the reward in terms of a wonderfully unique experience are beyond measure.

As I write this welcome note for the September issue of the magazine on a sunny Sunday morning, we are looking forward to dropping the boat into the water, and heading around the bay to a beautifully secluded jungle restaurant tucked away in a remote corner of the archipelago. Steak, chips and beer will be the order of the day.

Ian and Vanessa
(currently house sitting off-grid in Bocas del Toro, Panama)

Ian catches up with old friends at Rana Azul restaurant

Ian catches up with old friends at Rana Azul restaurant

Vanessa helps out behind the bar when things get busy

Vanessa helps out behind the bar when things get busy

See our episode of Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild, filmed in late 2013 on Ian’s island, by clicking the “Play” button below:

Ian’s unique story means that there’s a lot of information about him online. In 2013 and 2014 we were featured in a couple of TV documentaries including the UK’s “Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild”. You can watch the video above if you’d like to get more of a feel of the type of people we are. Remember though, this IS television!

  • September 17, 2016

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