One of the biggest concerns I have encountered from friends and family when discussing my imminent exodus from America has to do with the perceived difficulty with keeping in touch. Well all you concerned Americans can rest assured that technology has once again provided a solution. After a little research, I found it less expensive to stay in touch with all of my US contacts from my new Central American home than from my West Los Angeles home! Well that might have been a little misleading… Let me explain. I have just arranged unlimited incoming and outgoing calls to the US and Canada from Panama for less than $10 per month! And on top of that, my new phone number has a (310) area code! For those of you outside of LA this is one of our glorious Westside! area codes.
So I know you are asking how this is possible. Well in a word, Skype. If you haven’t discovered Skype yet, Its time. Skype is a communication platform that allows you to talk via audio, video, text or instant message. All you have to do is go to www.skype.com and download the software for free. After a few minutes of setup you are able to communicate via video chat or any of the other methods I mentioned with anyone in the world who has also downloaded the software for free. Now yes the software does allow you to communicate computer to computer for free but for all of your friends and family that want to call you from their cell phones during their 2 hour commute home during rush hour, you have to spend a couple bucks.
Once you are ready to step your international communication game up to the next level all you have to do is go back to the Skype Website and set up a “Skype-In” number with any area code you desire. I picked an area code that is free for most of my people to call. This will run you less than $5 per month for unlimited incoming calls from landlines or cell phones. Now you are in the game. Everyone back home can all you as much as possible at a number that is local to them, and you can pick the call up on your computer no matter where you are in the world.
Now here comes the slam dunk. To get unlimited outgoing calls to the US or any country you select, just pay an additional monthly fee (again less than $5) and you’re all good. So for less than $10 a month you will have unlimited incoming calls and unlimited outgoing calls to the US!
Now clearly this communication arrangement will require that you have a working computer, but from experience I tell you that choosing the right computer and accessories can make all the difference. If you are like me, your desire to move abroad was born somewhat out of a want to be free. I found the perfect computer to compliment my new free lifestyle.
The Asus Eee PC 1005HA Netbook is an ultra portable mini laptop computer that I can take with me anywhere. This computer has all of the bells and whistles that I need. Its stylish, has a 10inch screen, a built in web camera, great Bluetooth capabilities, 3 USB ports, a 160 GB hard drive, 1GB of Ram, Windows HP, and a battery that lasts up to 10 hours! That’s a lot of video chatting at the outdoor café with free wireless internet.
To add one last dab of icing to this cake, I suggest the headset to end all headsets. The Freetalk® Wireless Stereo Headset. This luxuriously padded headset allows me to walk about 50 feet away from my computer while on a phone conversation or even while just listening to music. Can you see it now… The sun is setting and I’m sitting in the hammock on my porch in Panama sipping on a mojito chatting with someone in Los Angeles about how little I miss the traffic.