You might be wondering what we are doing here anyway, why we chose to leave the USA or how we found this tiny island country to begin with. Well since I started right in the middle of things, I guess I should go back and tell you how we got to this moment in time, and what the future holds.
In 2010 I was offered a position at a large production company, they were making offers to buy my company and give me my own division under their brand, and they kept sweetening the pot. The idea of selling my company and working for someone else after working for myself for a few years didn’t sit well with me, but I knew it could be a huge opportunity. I decided that I needed to get away, like really get away. So I went online and hunted for retreats, cabins in the middle of nowhere, anything that seemed like a place I could really get my head straight. That’s when I found the island of Dominica.
I had spent a summer living on a catamaran sailing the leeward islands of the caribbean, thanks to Broadreach and had traveled to many of the other islands with my family over the years, but I had never even heard of Dominica. It’s no surprise though, most people (at least in the US) haven’t heard of the island unless they are from the caribbean, are really into hiking, or stopped by on a cruise. The more research I did, the more I found it to be a totally appealing place, full of wonder and all the things that make me feel most alive like thick jungle and spectacular coral reefs. Turns out Dominica is incredibly safe, with very low (mostly petty) crime, and a great place for female travelers to go alone.
Rich had just undergone knee surgery and was bedridden so I couldn’t really drag him along to an island known for hiking, diving, river/sea bathing and all around active pursuits. So he stayed at home and I took the trip alone from Los Angeles, where we lived at the time, stopping in Miami, then Puerto Rico, and finally arriving in Dominica after what seemed like forever. I stayed at Crescent Moon Cabins, run by a lovely american couple who moved here twenty odd years ago when the wife had an opportunity to teach at a school on the island. They run a mostly self sustainable business, their water comes from the river, their food from their own greenhouses tended by Jean and surrounding bush, and Ron, the husband does all the cooking resulting in delicious plant based meals (or fish if you are into that kind of thing). While I stayed with them I hiked into the bush alone, took day trips to nearby waterfalls, rivers, rum shacks and of course spent a few days diving the thriving waters of the Caribbean Sea. I met such amazing people who seemed to share the high vibe frequency I run on, and I couldn’t wait to share it all with Rich.
It would take us a few years to get back here, but it was worth the wait. We used to have a rule, we didn’t want to travel to anywhere the other had already been, at least not then, we wanted to experience new places together for the first time, feeling that sense of wonderment together is exciting and romantic. So we traveled to a few other countries before coming to the realization that Rich had to see and experience Dominica.
When we arrived together for the first time we decided we had to make as much of the short time on the island as possible and see as much of it as we could. Although the island is small, the roads stretch longer than you’d think because of their hairpin turns, switchbacks, and high climbs and steep descents from sea level to nearly 4,000 ft of elevation in some parts. We spent the first few nights at Crescent Moon, deep in the bush, so that Rich could see what had inspired me, and feel the pulse of the rainforest. Next we rented a cottage in Toucari, overlooking the Caribbean sea and just a short walk to it. This is where we both fell in love. This quiet fishing village is pristine, the water clear and blue, the coral healthy, sponges vibrant, and sealife of all kinds EVERYWHERE. This was also where we met our friend Olan, who was the divemaster assigned to me on our ‘private charter’. Our mutual love of the ocean and diving helped make us fast friends, but his love and patriotism for his island really hammered home what a wonderful place it was, even for its flaws. Finally we traveled to the south of the island for our final nights at Mermaid’s Secret, a tucked away retreat with a few self-catered cabins that sit next to the perfect river fed watering hole too deep to stand, crystal clear and cool.
Rich loved it… and I couldn’t have been happier to hear it! That was just over 1 year ago. When we left Dominica we had a layover night in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We went out to a lovely dinner, walked to a live music festival where we danced a little before returning to the hotel, we did have to be up at 3am after all to make our flight to Miami then Vegas. As I was changing out of my clothing and repacking in the sweetest and most surprising turn of events, Richard asked me to marry him. It was completely unexpected, after nearly 8 years together content as could be, I was in shock, answered yes then made him ask me again because I couldn’t believe it was real. What an end to a perfect vacation, and what a great way to start the rest of our lives.
I was set to return to Dominica with my mother when tropical storm Erika thrashed the island, our flights were cancelled and tickets refunded. People thought our dream was ruined. But we are resilient, and so is this beautiful island. We were able to rebook our trip this time with Richard and my father coming along with us, which couldn’t have worked out better! This time we would rent another cabin in Toucari ( owned by the same couple as the previous cabin we had rented) with the same beautiful view of Toucari Bay. During this trip we would share with my parents some of our favorite places and things to do in Dominica, and they too fell in love. They could see it bringing out the passion in us, and knew that with their blessing we would be making this our new home. We checked out a few properties while they were here in hopes of finding ‘the one’ and we did. Kind of. We found a piece of land in Toucari, just above the cottages we were staying at, with the perfect space and view, then while winding down our viewings, we happened upon a run down building right across from the beach. We asked the person showing us properties if he knew what was going on with the place, and it turns out his brother (who also owns the land we had looked at) owns this property and that it has been vacant for some time, and although it’s not available for sale, that his brother might be interested in leasing it to us. Hell YEA!
Right now there are still some things up in the air but our goal is to purchase that land, rent the run down property and create our dream home and business on the two lots. We’ve got a long way to go which is why you’ve joined us on this adventure, but now you know how we got here… or at least a little more of how we got here, there is still plenty to explore in our motives for moving here that we would love to share with you, but this blog has already gotten pretty long.