I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s dreamed about quitting my job and booking a one way ticket to paradise, leaving all of the materialism and the hustle and bustle of the United States behind.
The thing is, while I dreamed about it just like anyone else, I never thought I’d actually do it. Moving abroad is for exciting, spontaneous people, not ultra serious Type-A introverts, right?
Well it turns out, there’s a place in paradise for nerds too.
It started when my husband researched medical schools to attend. He came across one in Grenada, West Indies whose students had incredibly high board scores and even better residency match rates. It looked promising, and the photos of the school looked like a post card. We thought, “Why not?” and submitted the application, not dreaming that we’d hear back only three weeks later.
A whirlwind of an interview and tons of phone calls back and forth with admissions later, and we made a huge life-altering decision. We were going!
Within a few months, we both quit our jobs, sold all our junk, and arrived on the rugged Caribbean island we’ve called home for almost three years now.
It’s crazy to think that just a short time ago, we were sitting in 45 minutes of traffic trying to get to work, spending more money than we should have, and thinking of what toy to buy next (a new car or bigger TV?)
Living in a developing country has changed us.
The desire for “stuff” has pretty much left my system. It’s amazing what happens when you’re not surrounded by commercials, huge malls, and billboards at every exit. There’s definitely something to be said for simplicity, and I wish everyone could enjoy what it’s like to live in a place where no one cares if you’re carrying a Coach bag or a Kate Spade wallet. It’s not that I don’t like those things anymore (because I definitely do.) It’s just that the pressure to have them or the desire to put them on my Christmas list has completely left me. It’s a very strange and yet comforting feeling to know that we can be broken of materialism if only we’re willing to make the change.
We’re not always going to live in Grenada. In fact, our journey here ends in less than 100 days. It’s been an incredible three years, one that I would never trade for anything. I can’t believe we’ve been lucky enough to call this island home and experience something that most people only dream of.
The best part is that even though we’re leaving soon, we get to take all of these lessons with us. It doesn’t matter if I’m in New York City or some other bustling place. My years on the island taught me what’s important, but of course, I’ll have to visit the rock from time to time just to keep those lessons fresh.
Catherine Alford aka “Cat” is a personal finance freelance writer who currently lives in the Caribbean with her husband and spoiled pup, Julep. To learn more about her writing services or read her frugal adventures, please visit her at www.BudgetBlonde.com.