The climate, culture and beauty attracts a number of expatriates on retirement to the spice island of Grenada every year, but some people simply fail to survive the move and it certainly isn't a case of no going back for the hundreds of disillusioned people who flock 'home' to their mother country year after year...therefore if you're thinking of moving to Grenada you need to understand the main reasons people cite when they return. By understanding these reasons you will avoid the pitfalls and pain and succeed where others may fail thereby fulfilling your dreams of a new life in Grenada.
Our first three months in Grenada were bliss. We were living in between two worlds; England and all the long hours commuting, expenses and past stress was behind us and Grenada with the reality of integrating here and setting up our new life somewhere ‘out there’ in front.
The most common reasons for people returning abroad with their dreams shattered is that they simply run out of money.
If you're decided on Grenada and hoping to find work you need to know that unemployment in the country is way above the western average. If you've sold up and released equity to live on, have you honestly thought about how long you can practically live on this amount? What about affording your retirement years, trips back to your former home country, health care, transportation and the unexpected costs that spring up when we least expect them?
There are ways to afford to live on less and there are ways to make what you have reached further. The bottom line is to survive in Grenada you simply must consider your financial position before you make the final move.
Set some spending limits and do a ‘priority to buy’ list. Arriving with large lump sums of cash after selling up home can leave an inflated sense of wealth, until the bills start rolling in. During the honeymoon period or before, is a good time to start drawing up a preliminary budget. It is of course difficult to get an overall feel of the change of the day to day expenses all at once, prices are different; some items cost more and others a lot less.
What I did notice, when I started work, was the importance to adjust to the new cost of living straight away, my salary was a third of what I earned in England, our shopping bill was more or less the same, we needed to buy a car and looking at the prices, we were shocked. During the time of planning the move, having an idea of everyday living costs can suddenly become essential, with all the talk of Grenada being great for life style, it is still important to consider whether you can afford to enjoy the life style you want and to start to build realistic expectations. Below is a general list of things to get some idea of local costs.
Consider the accessibility of a location for family and friends to visit you and for you to reach a doctor, the supermarket, a school or even a hairdresser. Find your perfect location by visiting the areas you're interested in and considering them carefully from the point of view of how easy and practical your life there will be, but do bear in mind that homesickness and inaccessibility are some of the main reasons people mention when they give up on their new life in Grenada.
The first few years in any new country are by far the hardest...it takes this amount of time to build up enough knowledge of the local areas, customs, people to make your new environment feel like home. It also takes a significant investment and effort on your part to find true acceptance and getting to the stage where you really feel you belong in the community. It will take time, effort and above all perseverance.
Expectation versus Reality
Returning to live in Grenada won't necessarily fix your life, if you do move you won't escape your history. The daily chores may not necessarily improve your quality of life, so make sure you have realistic expectations of your new life before you decide to come and live in Grenada. Yes your new life can offer you so much more, but just make certain that your outlook can match the reality and remember the old saying, life isn't necessarily a beach party just because you live beside one!
Health & Wellbeing
One of the saddest reasons some people give when giving up their dream of a new life in the Spice Island is health and wellbeing, the problem is the price, availability and quality of health care in their new country, you also need to consider the health care facilities; long term and respite care for all your family and just don't bury your head in the sand! If you consider the worst case scenario and plan against it, chances are you will be prepared for everything and will survive.