Travel Hippi: The Story Behind The Story

Panama City pin on mapWhen we decided to pack it all up, people would ask “why”, and we would offer a long, reasoned explanation. However, as the idea of living abroad became clear in our minds, our answer evolved into “why not?”

Our story is about acting on our courage. About following our inner desires to go looking for our own paradise.

We will share our experience and trust the information will be useful, interesting and inspiring.

The name

Yes, everybody asks about it! And fortunately, people love it!

The name Travel Hippi is a fusion of our love for travel and our rebuff of the establishment. We simply decided to live our values and to act on our courage to retire abroad.

So nothing sinister, just a cool name.

Early days

What started as a nickname and a loose reference to us and our travel crave, became official when we registered the domain We realised we had a story to tell and the initial plan was to share our journey by way of a travel blog.

However, as soon as we arrived in Panama and started our application for permanent residency, we realised we had an even more compelling story to share – how to retire in Spanish America.

From that moment on, Travel Hippi became a resource site, with a blog that adds detail to its core content.

Web HostingUnbiased information

I have spent many hours searching the internet for information, from travel insurance to residency and immigration. Indeed, I appreciate the value of a site where accurate information is available.

When searching for information, the worst experience is to realise that the author has a hidden agenda which only becomes clear much deeper into his website or blog. An example is where an author would unduly play up the features and benefits of a location, only to find out that he has a vested interest in real estate in the area.

We understand that biased information will destroy credibility. It is for that reason that Travel Hippi will offer unbiased information, based on facts, available at the time of publication.

We also have a system in place that triggers regular reviews. Where applicable, we will show the date of the latest update.

Bias versus Opinion

Bias, should not be confused with opinion. In the blogging world, bias is unfair prejudice. And opinion is a judgement call based on an experience.

As much as the resource section will be unbiased, the blog will likely be opinionated. In my mind, that is a good thing, because a blog should have more than regurgitated facts. It should also contain the author’s opinion – positive or negative.

But enough about the content. Let’s briefly tell you how it came about.

The decision to pack it all up

There was a time that we were so committed to various causes that travelling was impossible. Caring for an elderly parent and getting the last sprout through school were priorities. Then there was the business we ran from home and there was the home itself.

My dad was 88 when he passed away and although his body was becoming frail, he was otherwise healthy. Absolutely nothing can prepare you for the sudden death of a loved one, and Gramp’s passing was no exception.

It reminded us how fragile and precious life is. We were jolted into the realisation that we were keeping ourselves very busy, but that we were not pursuing our dreams.

It was that realisation, which led to the decision to sell it all and find our own paradise.

Over a period of 20 months, the universe conspired in the most beautiful way and enabled us to sell everything, make the basic arrangements and set sail.

Why Hispanic America

We considered many options for a new home.

We travelled extensively through Africa. We have siblings in Australia. We love Europe and read tons of literature on South East Asia.

Slowly but surely, Hispanic America started to rise to the top of the list. With hindsight, I can divide our decision into three broad categories:

  • Residency
    The cost of and level of difficulty to obtain permanent residency were important factors.
  • Day-to-day life
    Although there are a myriad of things to consider, we focussed on four major aspects namely safety, healthcare, ownership and cost of living.
  • Culture
    We were ready for change, ready to immerse ourselves in a new culture.

And the winner is ….. Panama!

Getting our Panama permanent residency and cédula, through the Friendly Nations Visa, was straightforward and a lot quicker than we thought it would be.

We have established our base on the Caribbean side of Panama. Right now, that base is on our yacht ‘Es Tiempo’, anchored in the Bocas del Toro archipelago. We have already explored five countries to the north of Panama, and look forward to travel to the 25 odd countries that are within a three and a half hour flight from Panama City.

Panama City

Travel Hippi – the go-to resource for retiring in Spanish America

Travel Hippi’s mission is to offer information about retirement in selected countries in a credible and professional manner.

This page will give you a quick overview of the blog.

This page will explain what is inside the residency guides.

On the Resources page, you will find a host of tools, references and other resources that will make your life easier.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, just send us an email. We will try our level best to assist.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary” – Steve Jobs

I would love to have your thoughts. Comments and suggestions are most welcome.

Sold everything, became minimalist. Retired early, in Hispanic America. Helping others do the same. This free guide will help you plan your relocation. Do you have a question?


  1. My partner and I did the very same thing recently … sold up and bought a boat. Best thing we ever did.
    Safe sailing, Chris (and your partner naturally).

    • Thank you Wendy & Partner,
      We are anchored at “home”, Bocas del Toro for the time being. I hope your life aboard brings happiness in abundance!

  2. Hi Chris,

    Simply loved your blog on the story behind the story! Keep travelling and keep sharing the stories, I draw inspiration from every one of them.



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