More of Our Canada|November 2020
Two expat Canadians navigate their new country’s pandemic regulations
Lynda Allison
My husband, Lowell, and I recently sold our home in quaint Bowmanville, Ont., and purchased one in the small beach community of Coronado, Panama. Marley, our English bulldog, accompanied us and has adapted to our new country. Believing that everyone has a story to tell, we opened an Airbnb that caters to writers and provides a space where I can offer writing workshops to expats.

Each day was another beautiful summer day in paradise and stepping out of my bedroom door onto our back porch, I considered myself fortunate to enjoy outdoor living. Our home soon became busy with guests. In less than 13 months we had visitors from 19 countries. Some nights we barely had a bed to crawl into ourselves.

The internationals who live here are well-traveled with many life experiences, so they have much to write about. A small writing community formed around a monthly breakfast at a trendy local restaurant called Picasso’s, whose artsy name and delicious breakfasts provided space to support, encourage and educate writers. A critique group branched off and provided writing feedback. My next step was to arrange “word tours” to explore and write at Panama’s lovely beaches, waterfalls and mountaintops.

Then overnight, COVID-19 became a reality in Panama. Tourists were sent home and we had no guests—just bills to pay, including our caretaker’s salary. A husband and father of two children, we kept him employed so his family didn’t starve.


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November 2020