About 1.5 years ago a friend of mine came with the idea to live on a tropical island in the Caribbean and enjoy live more fully.
Sounds like a nice dream! So after throwing ideas around at each other for a while, both knowing that all we'll need to do is work hard, she took the plunge and took off.
In the mean time I was following DR1 a bit, reading the forums. Reading the horror stories, reading the discouragements of ex-pats and had to read deeply between the lines to appreciate their choices, the life they live over in DR and the weird behaviours of the Dominican people. Well, weird for most western eyes, anyway.
I fell in love. With the simplicity of live, the worries of a day-to-day economy and the prospect of walking around in the sun all day.
Hey! If 10 million people can survive on that island, a gringo must somehow be able to live at least at the same standard.
Next step: a holiday. Of course not in one of the AI's (All Inclusives). For me a hotel is a necessary evil that must be avoided, if possible.
To be on the save side I landed myself in an all secure, wireless included, cleaning service included, condo-complex at the beach.
Hey! Taste the good live, while you can!
The holiday was spend reading even more on DR1, and while overcoming my fear for being nailed down as a not-knowing first time holiday goer, I joined and started participating on the forum.
Another step. Exploring the little part that my friend knows of the island, and where it's feasible enough to find work without having to go to the big cities. So I meet ex-pats at the local baristo, speak with Dominicans that went abroad and came back and sit back watching local live pass by.
Learn not to be ripped off by the motoconchos but take the taxi instead. And see a little bit of the local nightlife. But in general, people are very friendly. The exceptions are just friendly. And maybe a few shady characters.
I learned that some gringo's are really rude and treat Dominicans almost as second rank people. Can't understand them. You are a guest here! Others, on the other hand do get a proper understanding of how life is and how it should be lived. I decided to stick with those and learn.
Slowly the talks with my friend and with the locals made me realise that, yes, life will not be easy. Life could be actually going ape-shit in no time.
But in no way I felt afraid, instead I felt welcome, and this was an excellent sign.
And it clicked! Back home time pressure began. I never forget my old boss telling me when I left for Dublin: "5 years and 11 months here with us. Couldn't you just complete the 6 years?" "Hmmm, no!" So again: July 1st. 5 years and 11 months in Dublin. Time to leave.
So back home I started learning Spanish. Reading about the Dominican history, it's politics, it's foreign relations and trying to make somewhat sense of how business is run over there.
My friend is supportive and patient with all my questions, observations and the change in my mind.
Start seriously working on a plan with my friend, change it, add stuff. And trying to prepare everything as much as possible.
In the mean time the 2cv is standing a few years in the garage. Hole in the bottom, brakes not super and taking the bike to work on a daily basis. I need to get rid of almost 12 years of my live with this car. One post on the 2cv email list gave me a buyer. Deal is made and finally I know how I'm going to leave the Emerald Isle!
So today. A few lines in MS Word in the morning, a trip to the printer. A signature and it's final. I'm leaving!
Destination: Dominican Republic
Quality of life: better (according to some statistics)
Follow your dreams. Or regret them forever.