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Kristine Simelda, Dominica

Who are you?

Kristine Simelda, author

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I followed my heart and moved from Dayton, Ohio (of all places) to the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica (not the Dominican Republic) in 1994.What challenges did you face during the move?

Once I made up my mind, I sold or gave away almost everything I owned —my business, my Jaguar sedan, my horse, my dog, and just leapt! The point was to free myself up from the material world I was living in before it was too late.

Are there many other expats in your area?

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There are a few. Most of them come and go. But I’ve been here for 22 years now, and I feel more spiritually at home on the island than I do in the States.

What do you like about life where you are?

I have a deep and abiding love for Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean. It’s one of the last unspoiled places on earth.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Even after twenty-two years, I’m still viewed as an outsider.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

I’ve always been pretty self-reliant; I figure out how to do my own thing wherever I am. Presently I live in the mountains on the edge of the rainforest. It’s the perfect place to write, but sometimes I miss celebrating art and music and food and dance with friends as the opportunity on the island is limited.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

According to the epigraph in my debut novel, A Face in the River: ‘Consider, my friends, the high price of enchantment.’

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to stay healthy and keep on writing about things that I consider worth caring about: Love, family, and the environment.

You can keep up to date with Kristine's adventures on her blog.

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