How a Canadian family took a leap of faith to live the life of their dreams in Turks and Caicos
It was like my life was on hold: Waiting for the snow to melt, then the slush to dry out, then the rain to stop and finally, for the sun to shine so I could be outside and enjoy life. Our beautiful Quebec summers seemed to take so long to get here and then leave way before we had had time to fully enjoy them. I was always longing for something that just wasn’t there, and that was draining.
You can’t jump if you don’t let go of the rail
In July 2014, my wife Pina, son Max and I took another Caribbean trip, choosing Turks and Caicos. But this time, it was different. I was immediately and completely blown away. It felt like someone kept whispering in my ear ‘You’ve found it!’ With my feet firmly rooted in the warm, white sand of Long Bay Beach, with my kitesurfing gear on my shoulders, I experience this sort of ‘eureka’ moment where everything starts to make sense. It’s perfect. Perfect for me! Except… I have a family and they need to participate in choosing such a big change. Caring about your people, also means exposing your dreams, listening to theirs, calming their fears and deciding to jump, together, if it feels right for all.
I have to admit that convincing them wasn’t too difficult a task. A few months later, we’re bidding on a nice lot, then working on architectural plans, acquiring construction permits, buying materials in Canada, shipping packed containers to the island and beginning construction in 2015. Every penny I have is invested in this dream. With no solid financial forecast, it’s very stressful… but exciting! In May 2016, our first villa is completed and becomes an ‘overnight’ success. In the fall of 2016, a partner joins us and a second villa is completed in July 2017.
Our original tagline was ‘Luxury Indoor / Outdoor Living’ because we truly put an emphasis on being able to live outdoors as much as possible, enjoying the tropical sun. We assumed many North Americans, just like us, felt the same way. In recent times, this tagline has evolved into ‘Much more than a Villa’ because we want our guests to enjoy all the perks of a private villa, but with complete pre-booked travel services and activities that make it feel like an all-inclusive resort.
We left the endless screen time, indoor living and generally sad faces we dealt with 8 months out of the year up in Canada. My son Max and I can finally practice the sports we love, when we want to. He’s just like me, a summer soul, happy on and in the ocean… or on a tennis court. Max is 12 and is already a pretty good kiter. My dream came true and became our dream as my wife and child now fully embrace the wonders of living outside, in gorgeous weather.
Today, I manage 2 vacation villas – soon to be 6 (eventually with the help of Pina and Karim, our partner), greet families that choose us to host their precious holiday time and make sure to have the vacation of a lifetime. I remember very clearly how exciting and important this time was for me, when I needed to get away. Max will go to school here starting this September. We already visited his school – the International school in Leeward – and he’s very excited. After years apart on and off, we have all moved to what my son calls paradise.
If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough
If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough: in my case this was so true! I knew very little about construction, and even less about building in a foreign country. The learning curve was steep: From one day to the next, I went from having my own marketing/communication company, to becoming a gardner, decorator, handyman, tourism ambassador, property manager and much, much more. After lots and lots of hard work, and many sleepless nights, I’m convinced I’ve changed our lives for the best.
I hope our story can inspire others. Uprooting and shooting for something new can be scary. Stepping out of your comfort zone and routine takes a lot of faith, courage and perhaps a little insanity. We miss our people back home, namely my 24-year-old daughter Alexie, but they love our new address. Especially in winter!
I believe that by taking that first step, the elements of success fall into place and the Universe conspires to support you. The road isn’t smooth and perfect but if you stick to it and believe enough to trust yourself, you might be pleasantly surprised. I wake up everyday with the feeling of ‘Wow, this is my life now!’ ready to go out there and make magic happen for the guests that place their trust in my hands.
Simon, Pina and Max
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