You may recall the review I did of Greg Kitzmiller’s book, 2 Retire in Panama a couple months back. I was blessed to meet Greg and his lovely wife earlier this year when we were on the same Israel tour. As you’ll see through this interview, they are a couple who love the Lord with their whole hearts and are kind and congenial.
Greg spent time answering some questions so we can get to know him better and I’m happy to share his interview with you.
Greg, thank you for being with us today.
How did you go about researching your book?
As far as researching my book goes, I started the research late in 2016. I was blessed to retire young and began looking into the possibility of retiring abroad for a multitude of reasons. The research was mostly internet based, which led to a trip to the location of my book. That trip led to a second trip and ultimately to our move to Panama. The internet based research would never have been enough to give my readers a thorough honest perspective of what to expect upon visiting or moving to a developing country.
The real research was the actual visits to locations within the country. We call the research adventures. In the end every single aspect of our retirement over the last two plus years has been an adventure. Daily life is an adventure here in our Panama retirement. As far as actual researching goes, internet as opposed to physical books. Physical adventure supplemented by the internet to give my reader a real-life experience as they read.
Adventures sound so much more fun than research. Great choice!
Are you writing for a particular ideal reader? Who is it and why?
I started out writing for my friends and acquaintances who were interested in keeping up with our adventures in Panama. My writing started as a blog where we shared the trials and tribulations of emigrating to a foreign country during retirement. My readers have morphed into people living vicariously through us and many wanting to get honest perspective about the process of getting through immigration, buying real estate, and adventuring in the jungles of Central America.
Describe your writing style.
My friends describe my writing style as informative, interesting, and personal. I think I have to agree with them; and would like to think that I also entertain along the way. I hope that my style as a writer is going to mature and become more descriptive and colorful as I embark on future blog posts and writing.
For now, this nonfiction is my only work, but I am anxious to try some fiction. Maybe Indiana Jones type Central American jungle adventure type stuff
Now that sounds like fun! Make sure you let me know if you do end up writing those stories!
Who inspired you to write?
When my wife and I started talking about retiring to Panama, I was inspired to write my blog by friends and family. After moving to Panama, I began participating in writer workshops with Lynda Allison at Tranquility Retreat. She encouraged me on many levels. First, by reading and commenting on my blog, and later by offering encouragement to write. The final event that sealed my deal to write came from the inspiration of Chuck Holton after reading his book Prowess. The best inspiration and encouragement came from God without whom none of my other encouragement would mean a thing.
Which person (living or dead) would you most want to be able to interview? What is one question you would ask them?
If I were able to interview 1 person living or dead, I believe it would be our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I would probably be so consumed by awe that I would forget to breathe. I think that to be in his presence would be the scariest of lifetime experiences. Perhaps that is why people fear death. I do not fear death, nor do I fear what is to come, however I fear that I would be at a total loss coming up with interview questions
That will be an amazing day, won’t it, when we do see Him face to face? Soon, my friend. He’s coming back soon!
What is the accomplishment of which you are most proud?
The accomplishment of which I am most proud is completing my college education. I started attending classes at the local Community College during my senior year of High School in 1979. Throughout my adult life I took college classes here and there. In 2008 I made the decision to finish my Associates degree and 30 years after starting the journey I was able to graduate with honors. I immediately enrolled at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids Michigan to get my Bachelor of Science in Management. The Bachelors took about 18 months of full-time study and I graduated with honors from there as well.
That is pretty amazing! Congratulations. It is an amazing accomplishment.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
My favorite Bible Verse is Matthew 25:23
His master told him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy servant! Since you’ve been trustworthy with a small amount, I’ll put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your master’s joy!’ (NIV).
The Lord has put me in charge of a few things in my life and I have always strived to do as Jesus would do. When our church needed a new building, I contracted the project. The project took nearly 2 years fundraising recruiting volunteers and working through government red tape to get our new worship center ready to occupy. Later my wife and I learned that achieving a debt free lifestyle would allow us to live and give like nobody else. After that it was on my heart to lead others to financial freedom, so we began teaching Financial Peace University at our church.
I am at a point in my life that I do not go out in search of a “large amount”. It is enough for me to live large in Christ and do everything in retirement to glorify Him. It is my hope that my writing glorifies Christ and my mission in Panama will be worthy of His grace.
How beautiful and humbling that is. It reminds me of why I was so drawn to you and Jen when we were together in Israel. I love your love for the Lord!
What skill or talent do you wish you had but cannot seem to master no matter how hard you try? And I imagine there is a story behind this that you can tell us…
The skill or talent that I wish I had but cannot seem to master is public speaking. In my book I talk about how the fear of public speaking was so terrifying that it kept me from continuing my education for years. I knew that to get a degree I would have to do presentations. I got over it by forcing myself to do things that were uncomfortable and ultimately putting it all in Gods hands. Most recently I have been singing in public. As long as I have the words or music in front of me and there is no fear of getting tongue tied, I am fine.
Thank you again, Greg, for taking the time to share with us. I’m glad to know you and hope others will get to know you through your book and your blog as well.
2 Retire In Panama?
Publication Date July 18, 2020
Setting: Panama Main Character Ages: Contemporary
Written for: Adults
As I began researching retirement, I found tons of information on the internet for would be expatriates. I will however warn you right up front that many of the websites, blogs, and companies promoting living outside a person’s home country are not all on the up and up. Many only want to attract the attention of investors, home buyers, and others with money to spend. A savvy researcher must glean information from those sites that will support one’s own agenda. Perhaps you have considered retiring, moving overseas, and even reinventing your life as an expatriate. Are you are feeling the pain of overwhelming research about moving to a foreign or developing country?
This book is my best attempt to answer questions surrounding any move to a developing country. It tells of my wife and my experience retiring, and becoming expats in Panama. It takes a mix of our adventures and experiences, providing a bit of entertainment along the way.
I have not whitewashed the experience, like the glossy blogs and websites that only want you to see the best that their country of choice has to offer. I have provided an honest, straight forward approach so that you can be prepared for what you will encounter as you enter a new chapter of your life.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.