-Where were you born?
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
-In which country and city are you living now?
-Are you living alone or with your family?
With husband, Roger, and pug dog, Chester
-How long have you been living in Dominica?
-What is your age?
-When did you come up with the idea of living in Dominica?
Several years ago we began to think about retiring to Dominica. We used to vacation here and fell in love with the island. We saw it as a place to live a simple, quiet life in a more sustainable way than we were living in the U.S.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a working permit?
We do not have work permits. They can be hard to get unless you are filling a needed niche or starting a business. Simple residency is easy to get.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
We are self-insured.
-How do you make your living in Dominica? Do you have any type of income generated?
I have been writing since coming to the island. I have written an eBook about moving to Dominica. I have also written several articles for Escape Artist. Otherwise, we live off meager investments.
Most expats here with jobs have started businesses.
-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
Dominica is English speaking but locals speak patois. Having knowledge of Creole would be very helpful.
Dominica is very conservative and homophobic. It is important here to dress nicely and be discrete in behavior. This is not the island to wear your bikini in the streets. Unless it is Carnival, or ‘Mas as it is called here. (Mas is short for Masquerade)
-Do you miss home and family sometimes?
I miss being able to buy things I need when I need them! I also miss having a job sometimes.
We are terrible homebodies. We moved here with 29 boxes of books! I guess that says it all, right? I do occasionally swim or snorkel. Or we will go to the mineral baths or go walking in the rainforest.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
We are building our retirement house on Dominica. If we can out wait the bureaucrats, that is.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home?
We currently rent a very nice 3-bedroom, 2-bath house for US $537.00/mo.
-What is the cost of living in Dominica?
People can live here cheaply. We live a more North American lifestyle (with some imported comfort foods) and we spend about ½ of what we did in the US.
-What do you think about the locals?
I have found it difficult to integrate into the local community. They are nice, but the culture has been difficult for me bridge. Some expats do better with this than others. We do not have an easy entrée into local society as in work or school. I think it would help if we were churchgoers. Dominica is very Christian.
Other than being ripped off because as “strangers” we are assumed to be rich, Dominicans are generally courteous and helpful. The crime rate is low here, but petty theft does occur.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Dominica?
Dominica is the most beautiful place on earth. It is possible to live close to the land and be awakened to birdsong in the morning. We eat the freshest of local produce and breathe fresh air scrubbed clean by the Atlantic and the rain forest. However, it is a third world country without much to do. The government bureaucracy is miserable to deal with, and everything runs on "island time."
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Dominica?
We were told before moving here that Dominica is not an easy place to live, and it is not. We have our share of frustrations with the island, but the quiet, tranquil life we live makes it worthwhile (mostly). My husband would be happy never to set foot off the island again!