Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Stice, Kalu Yala is growing to be one of the most intriguing projects currently taking place in Panama. It is based on creating a sustainable environment in the middle of a jungle that lies in the Panamanian river valley. It also provides an opportunity for students to study abroad while getting to know people from all over the world. What brings them together is their desire to build homes brick-by-brick and learn about the concepts of sustainability. Due to the fast-growing nature of the project, many prominent companies like the Studio Sky and Affordable Permanence have become long-term partners of Kalu Yala.
What is your favorite thing about traveling?
It helps me discover all the things that I do not know about other people and myself. Usually, even though I am humble enough to know my limitations, I find it difficult to pinpoint all the areas that I need to learn more about. For example, when I became a part of this project, I had no idea that many students around the world enjoy getting away from the madness of technology. This is because I did not have any exposure to those age groups. By traveling and meeting new people, however, I become aware of those type of issues that previously seemed nonexistent to me.
Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?
I would like to think it is a lifestyle. I started when I was still in my teen years and my passion for traveling has not changed since. Seeing new places and experiencing other cultures is something that has been one of the most motivating factors in my life. Learning about the struggles that individuals different environment deal with makes me look at all my issues from a problem-solving angel.
Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?
As of now, I do not. I am currently working hard to develop a streamlined model that will address any potential Kalu Yala problems. This is something that I felt I needed to because we really have not had that many issues happen to us and I believe getting too relaxed will leave us vulnerable. Still, I do believe that I will be doing some recruiting for our project from countries far away from Panama soon.
What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?
You have to sit down and spend some time planning. If you are traveling for pleasure, it may seem that being spontaneous is what will give the trip its glory. I found this to be false. Yes, not having to obey a clear-cut plan seems like the best way to enjoy oneself, but that will not be the case when you waste hours waiting for transportation or get stuck in the middle of an unknown city without as much as a hotel reservation. If you are looking to capitalize on all of your hours spent in the new environment, you want to make sure you deal with any back-end things before you get on the road. Obviously, the same applies to any business trips.
Where would you like to go?
I have some countries on my bucket list that I look forward to visiting. Some of those include places in Europe like Croatia and Greece while I also have a few cities in the United States that I think are worth exploring. I mean, who does not want to go to Miami and enjoy the weather, ocean, and restaurants?
Where would you like to revisit?
Believe it or not, I would not mind visiting Panama City every other weekend. To me, the truth about Kalu Yala and the best benefit of this project is its proximity to the aforementioned city. Although I do work close but not within the borders of it, going to Panama City is a scapegoat for me.
Do you travel alone? Why?
It depends. With our current project, I tend to travel with some of my associates if there is Kalu Yala criticism, potential changes to the operating model, or new strategies to be addressed. I am also not opposed to taking time for myself and simply taking a road trip alone as it helps me reflect on my life.
If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?
I would have to go with Panama City, London, and any larger city in California. These three are so different from each other that one who gets some exposure to all of them probably has as diverse of a traveling experience as possible with only a few places visited.
Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?
It varies. Clothes-wise, I am pretty relaxed and only take the most necessary items. Thus, my for-pleasure trips are generally done with nothing more than a carry-on bag. When it comes to going somewhere for business, on the other hand, I have to take things like a laptop, a professional suit, and so on. This usually increases the overall weight of my travel slightly.