When we retired in 1991 for a lifestyle of travel, our first stop was a 9-square mile Caribbean island named Nevis. Billy and I had an opportunity to help open the Four Seasons Resort there on that tiny island nation, and part of the deal was that we would have housing.
We found ourselves in a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house that belonged to the Mayor’s brother. Painted white on the outside, the front terrace was a blistering orange. When I walked up the steps and turned around, I had a view of 3 islands.
Our front porch overlooking the Atlantic Ocean
Sounds fabulous, right?
Except we weren’t renting the house romantically by ourselves, we shared it with other employees of the Four Seasons. Although we were only 38, most of the other employees were in their 20’s and seemed like spoiled kids to us.
The importance of housing
Ours was the smallest bedroom in the house but we had the privacy of our own bathroom, which was a plus. There were donkeys tied up right outside our bedroom window and they brayed at sunrise each morning to wake us up. And because the back door of the house opened to the sugar cane fields of Nevis’ jungle, we had cane spiders coming in to say hello from time to time.
These rust-colored, hairy spiders were the size of my fist and they had the unique talent of being able to jump a couple of feet of distance at a time!
This hadn’t been what I expected.
From our shaded back porch, Nevis volcano
But I was learning an important lesson which we would modify to perfection with the more practice we had and that is – Manage your housing costs and you can live just about anywhere in the world.
Buck up and quit complaining
The cost of housing is one of the biggest expenses in any household. While this particular setup might not have been my first choice, our portion of the rent was affordable and we had spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean from the front porch and of Nevis’ volcano from the back. We had color TV, ceiling fans, all kitchen appliances, maid service and hot water in the showers.
A short walk to the end of the street brought us to cheap public transport and we could go anywhere on the island for less than a dollar.
Why was I complaining?
Looking back, we had a spectacular setup. I was simply shell-shocked from the massive changes to my personal life that I had gone through and I had yet to train my eyes to see the advantages of my surroundings.
GOR-jus tropical Nevis blue skies
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation where your “eyes don’t see” the stunning opportunity you have in front of you?
Do you find yourself complaining instead of jumping into the adventure?
What kind of unique housing have you enjoyed?
Write to me about your experiences or make comments to TheGuide@RetireEarlyLifestyle.com