Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life Outside of the U.S.

In the almost 51 years since I graduated from C.V.H.S. and moved out into the "big" world I have had a busy life. I now live full-time in the western mountains of Panama. Below I will describe a few of my stops along the way, and then add a description of life outside of the U.S. after 66 years of living in my native country.

I attended two universities, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. I finally received a B.S. in Radio/TV (journalism) from O.S.U. After working the the TV/radio news business for a few years I opened a retail stereo shop and then went on to start an advertising business in Stillwater, OK.

After I sold the ad business I studied professional interpersonal communication techniques and taught seminars for 3 or 4 years for direct sales organizations. I then moved to the San Francisco bay area and ended up working for 10 years in the computer industry in "Silicon Valley". I never got rich like some of the techies, but it did help my retirement savings.

In 2001 I moved to Nashville, TN to be near my daughter, her husband and their triplets who were born in January that year. In 2007 I moved to Panama and never looked back, except for family... I'm coming to that.

During those years I was married, had one child, divorced and had the same girlfriend in California for 15 + years.

Now, about living outside of the U.S. Just like old age, it ain't for sissies! If you like a set routine and expect people to behave in certain ways that you are familiar with, then you should not even consider moving outside of the states. No other culture, anywhere in the world is the same as ours. People are different, business is different and government offices are different.

However, if you like adventure and having new experiences while learning and accepting cultural differences, then living abroad can have many advantages. One of the most important reasons to live in another country to many of us is that your money goes much farther! Another can be the challenge of meeting new friends. And in my case Panama is an excellent place to pursue my two main interests, photography and ham radio.

The variety of beautiful scenes, birds and people always gives me something to take pictures of in the western highlands. And ham radio is fantastic because of the physical location of the country near both the Pacific and Caribbean oceans.

Because of the lack of "age difference" perception in couples here, many Gringos have Panamanian girl/boyfriends or wives/husbands. For me, all I want/need is a few good friends; local, gringo and in the U.S. I have posted more of my thoughts about this area of Panama on my web site,

E-mail is welcome: jay (at) jaymills (dot) org


DFCox said...

Sounds great! I would want to give it a try if my health were better.

Gary White said...

Thanks for checking in, Jay. I'm glad to learn more about your life.

I second your comments on living outside the US. We now live in Girona, Catalonia, SPAIN and are reallly enjoying our life here. I wouldn't say that Spain is less expensive than the US, but the food is much better and the history all around us keeps us interested every day.

I hope your message encourages others to send in accounts of their lives. I've certainly contributed a bunch earlier. How about it other CVHS grads, tell us more.

Jay D. Mills said...

Thanks Don & Gary. I'll try to check in more often now that my house construction is "under control".

Reva Sawyer said...

Well, Gary, that is one way to keep from coming to a class reunion!!!!! When did you move????

Gary White said...

We moved to Spain at the beginning of last year and have lived one year in the province of León in a small town. We just moved to Girona this month and really like it here.

In my comments above, I neglected to mention one benefit of living outside the US: health care is excellent and a fraction of the cost in the US. Prescription drugs often cost less here than my copay with health insurance in the states. Doctors are excellent, readily available, and cheaper than in the US. The locals have "socialized medicine," which is totally free and excellent. As foreigners, we have to pay, but get great care.