If I had a dollar for the number of times I have been asked how I came to live on a 35 sq. mile island, I would be rich.
However it is always a pleasure even after ten years to answers these visitors who envy my life because I am not only living their dream, I am living my own.
I worked corporate in Toronto for many years and loved every minute. After taking an early retirement at age 49 due to a company take over, I found myself spinning in many directions, none of which made me happy. In the beginning I believed I was too young to stop work and tried my hand at various consulting jobs, volunteer work and even sold cosmetics. What I soon came to realize was I longed for something out of this world…..in short – a new world and a new life.
I didn’t regret the life I had been living but I did not want to live the rest of my life the same way. I wanted a complete change.
A dream I had had for many years now came to me in my waking hours. Of course I had traveled to many islands many times but as a tourist who lavished in pampering resorts. One island was no different from another after a while and what do you really discover about the island you are vacationing on anyway. To really know the joy and beauty of any island you have to become part of it, learn the culture and become an ‘islander’.
A few more years passed before my dream became an obsession. Through the internet, while snow pounded at my windows, I explored all there was to offer in the Caribbean. The more I learned the deeper the passion in me became. I wanted to live the rest of my life in the sun. I was tired of city living, traffic, line ups, rude people and hustle day in and day out even in the throws of retirement.
I hungered for a freedom not measurable by familiar standards. Even though I had everything anyone could want or need, it wasn’t fulfilling.
Several small islands had appeal but it wasn’t until I found Nevis that I knew I was on the right path.
There was no turning back once I put my feet on the ground. It was everything from the get go that I longed for – very few people, even less automobiles, no stop lights and after 10 years only two stop signs that I am aware of. It is quiet here and calm. I fell in love with the culture because I embraced it and in so doing, I became one with them. The once hated reggae music now is pleasant. I finally got the hang of the lingo and can chat with ease to everyone. This is a very friendly island! And to think I lived so close to so many neighbors all these years and never exchanged a word with them.
When you come as a tourist to any island, you spend big bucks. When you live here you don’t.
I made the investment not long after coming to Nevis, in a 2,500 sq. foot villa complete with pool, facing west to absorb magnificant sunsets, with lush mountains at my back, monkeys swinging from my trees and neighbors far enough away to politely ignore. The villa was a mistake. I would have been just as happy and comfortable in a much smaller home had I realized that most of my waking hours are spent on my verandas.