Reflections from a Father and His TCK Daughter


I tried to raise two third-culture kids.  I failed, but I think this is a good thing.

When I grew up my family did a lot of traveling.   My father worked for Delta, so flying was normal life.   By seven, I was allowed to travel solo to visit relatives.  By the time I reached double digits I had memorized the security codes for the “Authorized Personal Only” airport doors in Dallas, Denver, Cincinnati, and Atlanta.  I knew where I could get cheap food and a nap while waiting for a flight under the normal airport.  I had been to all 50 states by the time I was a teenager and I had been to Europe numerous times.  My father constantly pushed us out of our comfort zones and I was equally comfortable building a log cabin in the North Georgia mountains with a toothless 70 year-old mountain man as I was choosing the proper fork at a the Cincinnati country club.  Okay, maybe I was a little more comfortable in the mountains.

Despite this upbringing, I found myself married and working as a realtor raising two children in a small town with a white picket fence.  Ughhh!  I saw my kids growing up in complete homogeny and it drove me crazy.

Something had to change.

So I convinced my wife to move the family to Panamá for 9 months to stir things up a little bit.  I needed the kids to get more exposure than a little mountain town had to offer.

After much arranging, we moved to Panamá with nothing more than eight checked bags and a dog.  When we got there, the home we were supposed to live in was not ready.  There was no power and the pool was green.  It took us months just to get basic furniture and essentials into the house.   All the while trying to raise two small children.

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