From Canada to Jamaica: Kate and Kayla
We are Kate and Kayla, two Canadian girls who quit their jobs, sold everything and moved to Jamaica in pursuit of sunshine, adventure and happiness!
1. Why did you move abroad?
We travelled to Jamaica by chance, looking to escape the cold Canadian winter ...little did we know what an impact it would have on our lives! We fell in love with the country, culture and climate and it just made us realize we wanted something different from what we were doing with our lives back home in Canada ... so we took a chance and moved to Jamaica!
2. How do you make a living?
At the moment, we actually travel back to Canada to work and earn money, as it is difficult to find work as a foreigner in Jamaica. We do however, have plans in the near future to open our own business in Jamaica to enable us to live and work there permanently.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
We are in regular contact with friends and family back home, thanks to very inexpensive long distance rates if you call from Jamaica, as well as email, facebook and skype.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Jamaica?
That’s a tough questions to answer - there are so many aspects of living in Jamaica that we love! The tropical climate (so very different from those cold Canadian winters!!) and the laid back, easy going lifestyle that Jamaica is famous for are probably our two favourites though, if we have to narrow it down!
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Jamaica?
Probably the thing that we consider the worst about being a foreigner in Jamaica is just that - because Jamaica isn’t a country where a lot of people just up and move to, we are often treated like tourists. In the community we live in, we have worked very hard to meet people and integrate ourselves into the culture, and prove that we’re not just there as tourists but are here to stay!
6. What do you miss most?
Our pets, Oscar, Atticus Finch and Priscilla, sushi, soy chai lattes, ketchup chips, poutine, and of course our amazing families and friends!
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
Luckily for us, Jamaicans are very friendly people! Anywhere and everywhere we go, whether its the shop down the street, the supermarket, the beach, etc, people always approach us .... it is so easy to meet people! Jamaicans are always friendly and helpful towards us, so it has been so much fun getting to know people in our new country and letting them show us around and help learn the ropes!
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Canadian and Jamaican cultures are extremely different. It would be a very long list if we talked about the all! The biggest difference (that we like the best!) is how friendly everyone is in Jamaica. Walking down the street in Ottawa (our Canadian hometown) people rarely make eye contact and avoid strangers at all costs.
In Jamaica, however, everyone says hello to everyone as they walk down the street - from family to friends to total strangers! It gives you a real sense of community to be in a place where on a daily basis total strangers say hello, ask if we’re ok, or just generally want to have a friendly conversation. It makes every day an adventure because you never know who you’re going to meet, where you’ll end up, what you’ll learn or the adventure you’ll have!
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
Before our first visit to Jamaica, we were told over and over (and over) again not to leave the resort and that Jamaica was such a dangerous place. Let us tell you how wrong that advice was! (There are dangers in any country you travel to, you just have to be smart about staying out of bad situations!) One of the main things that we promote in our blog, is that if you travel to Jamaica, we encourage you to experience Jamaica the local way ... Jamaica is a beautiful country full of wonderful people and you will miss so much of what Jamaica has to offer if you don’t venture off the resort or tour bus!
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has
that made a difference in your life?
If you live as a local, the cost of living in Jamaica is definitely less expensive than living in Canada. (If you’re staying on resorts and villas long term, it is waaay more expensive!) The biggest difference it has made in our lives is probably the fact that we now work to live in Jamaica. We are able to go home to Canada, work for a few months and live off of our earnings, without any form of income while we are there. All the while still being able to indulge in some of our favourite things Canada has to offer, those things mainly being the wide variety of food here!
11. What advice would you give other expats?
In terms of living in Jamaica, our advice would probably be: don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask questions! You’ll get the answers and help you need, no problem! In terms of any expats anywhere in the world: just be open to all the new experiences that are out there, even if they might seem a little strange or scary, take a chance on adventure!
12. When and why did you start your blog?
We started our blog in January 2012. Our main goal was to share our travels, adventures, photos and stories with our families and friends back home ... we had no idea how many people our blog would actually reach! We absolutely love writing our blog and meeting all kinds of people from all over the world who share our love for Jamaica!
To find out more about living in Jamaica
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I am from Jamaica and I think I might have something for Kate and Kayla. It would be nice if you could contact me and we can talk from email rather than here.Vanessa 22 Oct 2012, 15:22
I am a born and raised Jamaican. While I find it cool what these girls are doing, I don't think travelling to Jamaica for a year classifies you as locals. You are looked upon as tourists because well you are. I have read your blog and you really only do the tourist things. Maybe try blogging something truly jamaican and you will catch my interest.Sam 23 Oct 2012, 02:30
To the above poster ^^
No matter how many times us foreigners travel to Jamaica we'll never be considered "local" even if we wish we were lol. I've been going for 10 years, and have been blogging for 4 years about some seriously local and gritty stuff but I'm still Canadian.
I guess it depends what the goals of K&K are. Maybe their goal IS to show the touristy side of Jamaica. They get a lot of interviews and people like me who do it the local way get NONE. So.....they're probably the smarter ones LOL.Jamaica My Way 23 Oct 2012, 19:54
To be completely honest, we started our blog as a way for our friends, family, coworkers and clients to be able to keep up with what we were up to. Repeating the same stories over and over is only fun for so long. We ended up getting some followers that we didn't know out of it and that was really quite exciting. It's nice to connect with like minded people and it was awesome to know that we were not alone in our new love/obsession for Jamaica. Really we only blog about maybe 1/4 of the things we actually do while in Jamaica but we'll try to write about more "truly Jamaican" things. We have received a few emails saying that we've inspired people to follow their own dreams and that really makes it worth it. We are definitely not locals and we are made aware of it with every step we take, trust me! But we love Jamaica so we'll continue to write about it even if it's just our Mom's who read it!Kate 24 Oct 2012, 00:18
That's exactly it Kate. :-) Do what you guys do. The interviews are just gravy on top of the joy that is Jamaica.
Those kinds of emails are totally worth it arent' they? Every day I find it hard to believe I "inspire" people with my travel blunders LOL!Jamaica My Way 24 Oct 2012, 00:36
I am more intrigued in knowing what kind of business ideas you have! That gets me excited. When do you two plan on returning to the island? I am a fellow travel addict and love hearing idaes of ways to locate and live abroad. I have a friend that opened a bar in Costa Rica and is living the dream! Please share your ideas or thoughts.TOM 24 Oct 2012, 18:16
Thanks for reading the interview, glad you liked it!
We've got several ideas on the go, and we're looking into many options and opportunities on the island to find out what would suit us best ... I personally would love to open a yoga retreat on the island, but unfortunately that's one of the more costly ventures, so maybe we'll save that one for the future lol. So for now we're just exploring all our options!
But stay tuned to our blog and we'll keep sharing our adventures and progress! :) I'll be back on the island in January ... can't wait!
nice interview, i stumbled on this page by accident and enjoyed the read. It must be so nice to go away for a couple months, come home and work a couple months, then go away again. Ladies, if i may ask how you find jobs that allow this! i am thinking either you are waitresses as they are always flexible with going away?! I must know as i will indeed be trying it lol!traveladdict 28 Oct 2012, 21:07