Although Panama was not one of the destinations that I had set before my trip, I am currently sitting right in the middle of it. I found a place hidden between the small town of Boquete and the second largest city in Panama, David. And here I’m sitting now at 7 am on a Sunday morning to write you this text.
The last 6 days I spent in the coldest place of Panama – Boquete. My hostel, where I stayed those days and nights, consisted of a peculiar group of pensioners from America, India and Russia. They seemed to be looking for a new home.
Hoping to find that home in Boquete, many of them stayed for a few weeks or even months. I stayed for 6 days. And there was a reason why.
Where I feel at home
There are certain places in this world where we feel more comfortable than in other places. You surely know what I mean. Once you come home and closed the door behind you, you can be as you are and do what you want. You’re at home, after all.
On my travels I can only do this in a certain frame. I sleep in dormitories or in tents. In the tent I can pull the zipper behind me and pretend I’m home. In a dorm it doesn’t work like that. I share my room with other people.
But where is my home? Certainly not in a tent or a wildly strange bed – or is it?
When I am asked where my home is, I often say in Germany. At the same time, I have the feeling that I feel at home here in Central America. And then I realize that I feel not only home in Germany but in the entire world.
So, I feel at home in many places: With my family in Germany, with friends in Spain and with foreign people in hostels in Panama or Costa Rica.
“So where is my home?” This is one of the questions I asked myself in the last few weeks. My stay in Boquete showed me that I feel home where I am surrounded by friendly and inspiring people. The feeling of home is not solely dependent on the place, but by the people who surround you.
Community is communication
Boquete is an idyllic place in the mountains where you can relax. But still, the atmosphere in the hostel and the town itself was strange. I do not want to say I did not feel comfortable, but something was just not right.
When I packed my bag after 6 days to move on, I was delighted to be back on the road and get to know a new place. I was ready to leave Boquete. But what was it that gave me the strange feeling?
Perhaps it were the pensioners who settled down in the tourist city, but only stayed with each other. They went to do their shoppings on a daily basis, but the contact with local people was hardly built up. So my feeling did not come from somewhere – it was a lack of communication!
The word “community” is not far from the expression “communication”. In my world these two terms belong together. Without communication, there is no community. This is reflected at all areas of life. If someone can not express wishes, doubts and questions, he remains alone.
Whoever communicates, brings the prerequisites to found a community. The retirees in Boquete still have a long way to go. A first step might be to learn the Spanish language instead of discussing political issues and pursuing the stock markets.
My home is where I feel good
Anyone who knows me personally and who is following my blog knows that I’m one of those uncomplicated people. A friend of mine once said: “I could leave you somewhere and when I come back after an hour, you have found a hundred of new friends”.
I’m looking for places where I can be at home. I do not care whether this is in Germany, Nicaragua or Panama. In my opinion, you can make any unknown place to your new home.
All you need are friendly words with travellers and locals. If this is missing, there is only one thing you can do: Move on! 🙂