Plenty of people dream about packing up their life and moving to the island or vacation location they love the most only to find that that life just isn’t for them, maybe it’s because they realize life isn’t always a beach when living in ‘paradise’. They don’t realize the work involved in starting fresh somewhere new, and not having all the things to fall back on that they are used to, whether it be friends or family nearby, maybe a favorite food, or perhaps that ‘island time’ pace just isn’t for them. But the reality is plenty more people think ‘what if’ or ‘maybe someday’ about doing exactly what we’ve done so far and are planning to do.
“I wish I could just pack up and move to an island!” We’ve heard it a thousand times since we started planning the move seriously, when people realized we weren’t just day dreaming, or speaking hypothetically. The fact of the matter is, Rich and I are, as I’ve said before, uniquely skilled, risk takers, with no children (just the kitties), young, ready to learn and work hard, all that AND we planned the last 4 years of our life to make this happen.
You know those stories you see on facebook about a person or a couple retiring in their early thirties or forties and traveling the world or whatever. Well those people you hear about didn’t just take their trustfund and do that, they worked their asses off and planned for it. They made adjustments, sacrifices, and put in the hours to make that dream a reality. That’s what makes those stories inspiring, but also what makes them seem like attainable goals. It’s amazing what can happen when you simultaneously work hard, save hard, and adjust your lifestyle to meet the needs of your ‘next life’.
None of this happened overnight, although to some of our friends and family it may have seemed like it. There are still some of our more peripheral friends who are just realizing that we’ve moved – for good and not just celebrating a delayed honeymoon. So the first piece of advice I’d give anyone even thinking (seriously) about moving to your ‘dream location’, is set a goal, make a plan, and have patience in everything, but most of all, you need to know when to say JUMP!
So here was our game plan and timeline.
We knew from the first year we met (2008) that we wanted to move out of the US, that we wanted a life closer to nature and more reliant on earth rather than politics and money… we spoke about places we might like to make this happen. We planned to travel as much as possible.
2012- I fell in love with Dominica while on a solo retreat, when I stayed at Crescent Moon Cabin
2013 our 3 year plan started here. We moved to Las Vegas from LA, we ditched the high state taxes of Califonia so my business could thrive without needless expense. In the process we ditched the high rent for little space. Rich worked as a cook and a plumber, and we both worked our asses off. We start saving like crazy. This was around the time we started more seriously looking at houses, businesses, and land for sale in Dominica. Rich hadn’t even been there, but he trusted my instinct (HOW LUCKY AM I!)
– May – I return to Dominica this time with Rich, we travel the entire island from north to the interior, to south and back again making a loop. Rich falls in love with Dominica, specifically, Toucari. Our way home Rich asks me to marry him. We juggle planning our wedding and planning our move, this was truly difficult. We knew we wanted to move about a year from this trip.
– August – my mother and I were set to visit Dominica to check out some more properties, we were scheduled to arrive on the 30th of August, however our flight was cancelled due to Tropical Storm Erika reaking havok on the island and destroying the main airport in Marigot.
– December – My parents, Richard and I returned to Dominica all together to show them what the island of our dreams was all about and look at more property and land.
-February – Wedding
-March – Pack up the Shipping Container, put stuff in ‘storage’ in Las Vegas, and ship boxes of ‘storage’ to my parents in NY. Live out of suitcases after that.
-April – Downsize the house / cars / liquidate property – move into a tiny apartment by the Las Vegas Strip (from a 3 bedroom house in Summerlin) sold 2 cars and sent one to live with Rich’s family in Colorado.
-June – Move to Dominica with the kitties!
We are still working on buying our land but at some point just around the end of 2015, beginning of 2016 we realized we had to make a decision, wait for it to happen while hanging out in limbo in the US, where dreams go to die, or make a date and go for it regardless of the status of our land, business or home purchase. We obviously opted for the latter option, a decision hinging entirely on how much risk a person is willing to take. For most relocating internationally is expensive, then add on the likelihood that your job isn’t ‘remote’ and you will probably be without work for the foreseeable future and it seems like a daunting idea, but not all those things were true for us. Yes the move was still more expensive than moving to another house, another city, or another state, but my current job is remote and both of our ‘careers’ are mobile.
Part of our ‘unique skill set” is that I own an internet based business that I can run remotely. I’ve got a great team and a phenomenal assistant (also my best friend) who are able to take care of ‘local’ business in the US, as well as manage and maintain what I might not have access to due to our much different quality internet over here. It doesn’t hurt that my PADI professional credentials are good all over the world, I can teach SCUBA almost anywhere, which is how after only 1.5 weeks on the island I was offered a job, and now less than a month after arriving on island I’ve already certified 3 new divers and I’ve got another 5 weeks of countless divers ahead and I can’t wait.
Thanks to this, Rich and I have been able to focus on our mission here, going through the motions of slow government, while settling into the lifestyle we’ve strived for, and immersing ourselves in local life. While I’m at work teaching new divers, Rich is able to work on his part of our future business, picking up the car we purchased last week, taking stock of what we have & what we need. Basically a lot of the prep work that is just impossible to do from off island.