Moving to Paradise
Once you experience the magic of Dominica, its people, and unspoiled nature, you may find yourself wanting to do the same.
For as large as our Earth is and no matter how well traveled you might be, we will always run into a place we never heard of or knew much about. One of these many places out there for me was Dominica (not the Dominican Republic), a paradisiac island in the East Caribbean between Guadalupe and Martinique. Our Locals Victoria and Neil were eager to help us connect with as many of their friends on the island. A few months later I paid them a visit and instantly fell in love with Dominica, the Nature Island.
During my visit I met many people like Victoria and Neil who had decided to change their lives and leave their country (USA, Canada, UK, Israel, and/or France) to build a home and a new life for themselves in Dominica. For those that are used to city life, the conveniences of a modern western home, an office job, a luxury car, this would be unthinkable. But I assure you, once you experience the magic of this island, its people, and its pristine unspoiled nature, it all makes sense and you may find yourself wanting to do the same.
Experiencing Dominica as a traveler is not comparable to making this your home, after a week or two of living the island life, you realize that it takes enormous emotional strength to make such a change. Once you adjust to a life offering you the full spectrum of emotions and drama, with countless benefits both mental and physical, you become engulfed with happiness and a strong character that has no equals. This is what I noticed and sensed in the time spent with our Locals there such as Victoria, Neil, Tana, Debra, Sybil, and Allen.
To give you a sense of why one decided to move to Dominica, I have asked a couple of questions to Victoria.
What exactly prompted you and Neil to pack everything you had in the USA, buy a property in Dominica and make this your home for the rest of your life?
Neil had come full circle with his job and was ready to end that chapter. To be able to make this happen, we were going to have to leave the US. We both love the water and dreamed of island life. We began searching for a place to live by taking vacations different places that interested us. We had to find a place we would be able to live on a small pension. When we found the tiny Island of Dominica we knew we had to go and check it out, and when we did, we fell in love with her.
What is about the island that sustains you and keeps you here?
Dominica is called the Nature Island of the Caribbean and it truly is just that. It’s just stunning, everywhere you go. And the people of Dominica are wonderful. You do have to have a certain mindset for island life in general, especially on a developing island where resources are limited It’s often challenging but we both think it’s worth it, most of the time (haha). When we made this move we knew it was all or nothing. This is home.
Why does everybody that visits Dominica falls in love with this Island?
Dominica is breathtaking. If you are an adventurer and love nature, you will be in heaven. If you love the water, diving, snorkeling, and whale watching, it is some of the best here. You can hike a different trail everyday for weeks; there is just that much to see here. There are over 350 rivers, an abundance of waterfalls, amazing hot springs and significant climate changes depending where you are on this small island.
To really enjoy your stay in Dominica, it is important to know what kind of traveler you are and the type of experience you would like to have. Plan your trip in advance. You can go very rustic to high end small hotels. Driving here is a challenge, so you may want a driver to take that worry out of your hands. That’s why Voomago is a perfect partner for experiential travel to Dominica.
How has living in Dominica for now 5 years changed your life?
Hahaha, so many, many ways.
First you have to understand where we live. We are basically off the grid and live 1.5 miles down a pretty bad road. We brought in telephone polls so we could have high speed internet and a landline. It’s 45 minutes to town and there is no take out near us. The island is small but it is volcanic so travel time is long. We are trying to become self sustaining by growing a good portion of our food. Our lifestyle is completely different than before.
You mentioned that “Our life style is completely different then before.” Would you mind telling us a little of what a day in your lives is like?
We get up at dawn with the neighbors roosters, walk the dogs, feed the chickens, check the power (we are dependent on solar), maybe start the generator if the power is low, and go on with the day. The day could be hanging out, planting, meeting friends, heading to the beach, etc… It depends on the weather. If we have had a lot of rain, we may not be able to get out to the main road because the river is coming over the bridge. We end the day how we started. There is always a lot of maintenance to be done to keep everything running. We live in work clothes. Makeup and nice clothes are for special occasions. My toes often have dirt under my nails.
Were there any governmental hoops you had to jump through to move to Dominica?
Of course there are always “hoops” you have to jump through but it really wasn’t that hard at the time. We had to jump through more “hoops” just to bring our cats here. Now, it is just becoming more expensive as the VAT here is very high.
What do you miss the most about the US? And what do you miss the least?
Convenience is what I think we miss the most. You take a lot for granted when you live in the US. Shopping, food, hardware, and just access to stuff fast. Traffic, politics, and violence are what we do not miss at all.
What did your family think about your moving to Dominica?
Hahaha, they all thought we were a little crazy, which we are. We moved to a developing country that is pretty far away and not that easy to get to and lived in a tent for 2 plus years.
How would you describe Dominica in three words?
Home, beautiful, sustainable