I’ve always loved the women here.
There I said it. I’m only human.
To be honest, this is one of the great things about living free overseas, and I don’t just mean romance; when I’m outside of the United States, I have access to a completely different caliber of people– both expats and locals.
The expats that I come across on my travels have all been exceptional individuals who share a common vision of freedom and prosperity; they have made a decision to live free and are in the process of exploring their options. They have realized that, in 2009, there are fewer and fewer reasons to be committed to geography– technology and modern air travel make it possible to earn a living anywhere in the world.
Similarly, the locals that I have met and become friends with are successful and well-connected– prominent lawyers, brokers, bank presidents, military officers, etc. Years ago when I made the decision to leave the US, I was surprised at how easily one can become acquainted with influential locals in foreign countries.
Influence is much more difficult to attain in the United States. I am neither a billionaire, nor union leader, nor CEO of a bankrupt company, which means I have no political influence whatsoever… and am powerless against judges, police, the IRS, and dozens of other government institutions that can restrict my freedoms on a whim.
You can be sure, though, that if something happens to me in the countries that I frequently travel to, everything is resolved in a phone call. When I travel to a new place, getting networked is a major priority. I’ll provide more of a ‘how-to’ guide in future mailings, but as a quick tip– I always start with lawyers and real estate brokers.
The right lawyers and brokers can be worth their weight in gold; they know the wealthy and well-connected, and they’ll usually open up their contacts if you establish a solid rapport. It helps to leave a small retainer on the table to show that you’re serious– but this small investment generates a huge return in terms of access and influence.
I’ve relied on this strategy in several countries to build a network and develop personal relationships, some of which have become quite close. I am best networked in Latin America since I choose to spend so much time there, mostly because of the freedoms that I enjoy in places like Panama.
As I mentioned yesterday, I am bullish on Panama’s future under its new President; there are few signs of economic slowdown by comparison to the rest of the world. While the country has experienced a decline in the construction sector, this is being offset by the Canal expansion and growth of other industries like call centers.
However, Panama does have an economic Achilles Heel; I’ll be discussing it tomorrow on my last day here, and then will shove off to Europe on Friday. If you can guess what it is, I’d love to hear from you.