I’m often asked “with all the countries you’ve been in and after living in six different countries what made you settle on the DR?”A good question that’s always trailed by another “out of the whole DR what is it that made you pick the town of Cabrera?” Perhaps even a better question and I’ll attempt to reveal a bit of light on both.
During my first few years of intense traveling and when I say intense I mean using up the pages in a passport in about two years’ time I soon learned my first universal lesson about countries. I learned no one place can ever be perfect, at least not in the physical world. We’ll leave the spiritual world the realm of the 99% for future posts.
My first time setting foot in the DR is well over twenty years prior. Actually it’s been almost a decade since I’ve left. Other than when my father took ill and we had to temporary relocate to assist my mother with the responsibilities and a short trip to visit my In-Laws over in Northern Ontario I haven’t left DR. My wife and I never felt the need to.
When living in the DR Island fever is not something that affects many. This is not some small island! Out of the hundred plus countries I’ve been in the DR remains one of the most diverse. Aside from winter sports the DR can satiate the appetite of almost anybody. Other than snowmobiling, skiing and ice hockey the selections are near limitless. Even though I’ve put on well over 200,000 miles in this country there’s still so much more waiting for us experience. That should give you some kind of awareness how diverse the DR actually is.
When I use the term diverse I’m not solely referring to the terrain, the geography. I’m also referring to themes like the climate, the food, and variety of amusement. Did you know in the higher altitudes during winter months it’s actually quite common for puddles to freeze? Wild for a country that’s located a mere 18 degrees off the equator!
Whenever I’m asked to nail it down to the one thing I like best about the country and by the way for me that’s a tough one but if pressed I’d have to say most of all it’s the Dominican people. The people who make up this island are as diverse as its topography.
The DR is a country that ranges from an excess of one hundred and ten feet below sea level to upwards of ten thousand feet above and the people are just as diverse. For us the people play a large part of what makes this place so special. This holds especially true when it comes to the older farm folks we’ve gotten to know over the years. I’ve often joked about the town of Cabrera being like Mayberry with Internet and while it’s changed over the years much of that still holds true today.
Another point worth considering is location. The DR is only a two hour flight to Miami International and if we catch the early flight out of Puerto Plata will even arrive in Timmins Ontario by dinner time! Timmins is eight hours drive north of Toronto, its way up north! This was more of a decision maker for Liane than me but never the less is well worth your consideration if you’re contemplating frequent trips to visit friends and family. Besides it makes for much cheaper flights when doing so. By the way DR has no shortage of international airports so flights are a breeze to get hold of.
One cannot ignore how far your dollars go when compared to Pesos. It’s almost a no brainer if you simply do the math. In fact one of our friends from Medicine Hat Alberta spends his winters here clamming it’s under50% of what it cost to simply pay for his apartment rent utilities gas and food and he’s only in his mid-thirties.
I know this to be true because we figured it out for Liane’s parents as well and the same answer revealed itself after crunching the numbers. It’s a fact when you’re trading dollars for Pesos rarely will you come out on the losing end. So for us the cost of living made for a hefty part in finally deciding on the DR.
Another significant part, at least for me is for the most part you’re pretty much left alone. There’s no one sitting over your shoulder watching your every move. There’s far less Government intrusion and a lot more peaceful living. Tranquilo (peaceful) is the norm. In so many Caribbean countries you’re still treated as an adult and in many cases treated better than you are in your home country. I’ll write a few articles as to why that is on future posts. Quoting Doug Casey “it makes no difference how many laws a country makes. All that matters is can they be enforced.”
So rounding third and heading for home these are just a few of our reasons the DR works for us. It’s why I love touring with the thousands I’ve met over the past six plus years. We’ve seamlessly relocated so many at times it challenging remembering them all. But it’s been a blast and still is. Who knows perhaps one day our paths will cross and we’ll be meeting you too.
As with most topics this too is subjective. No one place is right for everyone and I understand our thoughts might be in left field when compared to yours. We’re all different it’s our gift of free choice, free will. That in itself serves as one of the biggest factors in what makes us different from the animal kingdom.
In closing I have one last significant thought for you to consider. For over three and a half decades I’ve been researching the trends. It’s what’s allowed me to be ahead of the curve rather than miss it. Everyone needs a plan B should things continue on their present course and every plan B should include with it an exit strategy. It’s only common sense. If done correctly it has no negative possibilities, you can’t lose! The same cannot be said for the opposite. Just research your history if you need any confirmations. Until next time Barry in DR.