One of my earliest influences in moving to Panama over 6 years ago passed away much too soon yesterday morning. Sam Taliaferro, probably the most renown American developer and entrepreneur in Panama has lost his two year battle with cancer.
I only met Sam briefly a couple of times in my early years in Panama, but having observed his community in the mountains of Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama and reading his blogs these past years has helped me immensely in measuring my expectations of living and investing in Panama. We cross linked our blogs and exchanged occasional messages and references. I hope his family will leave his blog up for a long time as a reference point for new people interested in understanding what it means to live "offshore"...and in Panama specifically. Perhaps someone can even pick up where Sam left off...though those would be hard shoes to fill.
Like me, Sam was tremendously influenced by the philosophy of "objectivism" as revealed in the writings of Ayn Rand. He was a productive and "freedom loving" man who lived and breathed as he believed. Strong, resourceful, influential and ever optimistic are just a few of the adjectives I observed in him and his writings...even from a distance.
I can only hope to carry forward the truth along with others of Sam's message and "CAN DO" spirit in life. The "instructions" of Sam's example to me were:
Think positive, but be realistic. While Sam loved Panama and his creation of community in Boquete, he was also realistic about the challenges and "downsides" that living in a Latin third world country affords. He was not afraid to speak out about the problems and inconsistencies encountered here in government and culture.
Prosper but give back. It is impressive all that Sam accomplished in a relatively short life. While I'm sure he enjoyed the financial success, I didn't read him as "all about the money". I think he took more pride in "leadership" and helping others discover and act on profitable and productive living habits.
Sam demonstrated the power of promotion and positive energy. He understood and faced the challenges of living freely and without constraint in this complicated world...and he tirelessly promoted and accomplished his vision of providing an "oasis in the desert" from unbalanced taxation and government interference in man's pursuit of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".
More than anything, Sam demonstrated the "power of one" to make a difference in this life. I don't know if he was a religious man or not, but he definitely believed in himself and his vision...and it appears he fought to the very end for that vision and the kind of world HE wanted to live in.
The final lesson as usual is that no matter how successful or rich we are, ones health is the greatest blessing one can have. None of us know what day or hour we may face life's final curtain. To that end, none of us should waste a day or an hour in pursuing that which we want to accomplish. I have a feeling Sam didn't waste much time nor suffer fools easily.
May we all be inspired by the legacy of Sam Taliaferro.